November 1, 2011

Poll: Brennan leading in Portland mayoral race

By Jason Singer
Assistant City Editor / Online

(Continued from page 1)

MPRC says it’s a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and doesn’t take political stances. But it does share employees with the Maine People’s Alliance, which candidates described as a left-leaning organization.

None of MPRC’s board members have contributed to Brennan or Strimling’s campaigns, according to campaign finance reports.

Tipping said MPRC was not paid for the poll, but Down East magazine sponsored it. He said MPRC is funded by individual donations and grants.

The MPRC said it didn’t include certain candidates because of their low fundraising numbers, lack of endorsements and media coverage and a lack of political experience.

Nonetheless, about 11 percent of the respondents selected “other/none” as their first-place choice. Those respondents still had their second- and third-place choices factored into the final tally.

In response to Loughran’s criticism, Tipping also said research is inconclusive about the order in which candidates are listed in IVR polling and the effect that has on the polling results. He said the candidates will be placed in alphabetical order on the ballot, so MPRC wanted to best simulate the voters’ experience on Election Day.

Tipping also said if the six unnamed candidates had more support, it would have shown up in the “other” category.

Strimling, whose team has commissioned Public Policy Polling, one of the largest national polling companies, to conduct polling of the race, said PPP has found “very different numbers.”

“(Today’s poll) is inconsistent with what we’re seeing,” Strimling said, noting PPP has made thousands of calls, a much larger sampling size. “We see this as a three-way race and certainly don’t see anyone winning by 20 points.

“We’ve had a great week. We’re certainly excited about from momentum from last week’s finance report to (former state representative) John Eder’s endorsement Monday. Even within this poll, we’re clearly within striking distance of winning this race and we feel very good about our chances.”

MPRC noted in a poll memo that the polling took place before Eder, one of the 15 mayoral candidates, endorsed Strimling.

Murphy and numerous candidates also expressed shock that Mavodones had such few first-place votes, which they said hurt the credibility of the poll, given Mavodones’ track record of success in city elections.

IVR polling, however, is often used by SurveyUSA, PPP and Rasmussen Reports, three of the country’s largest public-polling companies. PPP has received particular praise in recent years for its accuracy.

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