Former Assembly member, who hasn’t announced whether he’s running, would lead Sup. Scott Wiener by 42-21. Without Ammiano, Wiener is in a close race with Sup. Jane Kim
By Tim Redmond
MARCH 2, 2015 – Just as Randy Shaw has declared the 2016 state Senate race as a two-person contest between Sups. Scott Wiener and Jane Kim, a new poll shows former Assemblymember Tom Ammiano as the overwhelming favorite in the district.
The poll, by David Binder Associates, shows Ammiano beating Wiener by 42-21 percent citywide. Ammiano leads 53-22 among LGBT-identified voters and leads in every ethnic and political group except for Republicans.
Even in Weiner’s own district, the race is a statistical tie, with Wiener ahead just 42-40.
The poll has a sample size of 600 and a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
Binder is one of the state’s most prominent and respected pollsters and has done work for the Obama campaign, among others.
The state Senate district includes all of San Francisco and a small part of San Mateo County, which was not included in the poll.
Ammiano hasn’t announced a campaign, and told me that he hasn’t decided if he wants to run. But the polls show that if he did enter the race, he would be the instant front-runner.
If Ammiano stays out, the poll shows Wiener and Kim in a statistical tie, with Wiener ahead 29-23.
In a three-way race — which is highly unlikely, since I don’t think Kim would run against Ammiano — Ammiano has 32 percent, Wiener 17 and Kim 9.
And they might not be the only candidates. Sup. Eric Mar has told friends that he might consider the race if Ammiano doesn’t run. Mar’s support wasn’t tested in the poll.
The poll looked at the universe of voters likely to go to the polls in November, 2016. That’s a good universe for a progressive candidate, since it coincides with a presidential election, meaning turnout will be comparatively high.
And it suggests that the voters still lean strongly progressive when turnout is at its highest.
Given the face that Wiener has been openly saying he’s planning to run for the Senate for months now, and Kim has made no such statements, the poll shows surprising weakness for the District 8 supervisor.
Against Ammiano, he would start “in a deep hole,” consultant Jim Stearns, who has analyzed the poll, told me. “Entering a race 20 points down is not a good place to be.”
If Ammiano doesn’t run, and instead were to endorse Kim, she would pick up a lot of his support and probably move into the lead.
Ammiano hasn’t run on the west side of town in a long time; he’s represented District 9 and then the east-side Assembly District for the 15 years. And that’s the more conservative part of town.
But Ammiano still leads Wiener in the 19th Assembly District, 38-14. In the 17th AD, it’s 45-26.
The race will be expensive: Wiener is a proven fundraiser, as is Kim. Ammiano still has strong connections in Sacramento, and could raise money statewide.
Again: Ammiano might decide not to run. But the poll numbers will no doubt boost the ranks of people who call on him to enter the race. And if he stays out, with Wiener, Kim, and possibly Mar, there will be no clear favorite.