Both Rep. Karen Bass and City Councilmember Kevin de León have the most support among candidates seeking to be the next mayor of Los Angeles, but a greater number of voters say they don’t yet know who they’ll vote for in the June 7 primary, according to a new survey conducted by the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.
Results of the survey were released on March 2.
Among registered voters, 16.1 percent said they would cast their ballots for Bass, with 12.1 percent reporting they supported de León. Councilmember Joe Buscaino, City Attorney Mike Feuer, businessman Rick Caruso, and real estate agent Mel Wilson were all in single digits.
However, 41.5 percent of registered voters told pollsters that they would either choose someone else or that they didn’t know who they would vote for to succeed Mayor Eric Garcetti, whose term will end this year.
“It’s good news for Karen Bass and Kevin de León that they are in the lead at this point, but the numbers show it’s still anybody’s game,” said Fernando Guerra, director of the center and professor of political science and Chicana/o and Latina/o studies. “With more than three months to go before the election, and such a large swath of voters who haven’t yet decided which candidate to support, there is a lot of opportunity the other candidates to change the outcome.”
Indeed, the race has already seen several shake-ups. Jessica Lall, president and CEO of the Central City Association, polled at 3.2 percent but ended her campaign while researchers were still conducting the survey. And though widely expected to jump in, Caruso had not yet formally announced his campaign until the day after the survey closed.
The survey was conducted by phone, online, and in person, in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Korean, from Jan. 4 to Feb. 10. Results for the mayoral race are based on responses from 815 city residents who self-identified as registered voters.
Demographics played a role in voters’ preferences. Black, white, and Asian voters supported Bass over the other candidates, while Latina/o voters gave de León the edge, with 16.5 percent compared to Feuer at 7.2 percent, and Bass and Caruso at 6.7 percent each.
Younger voters were more likely to support de León, who led in both the 18-29 and 30-44 age groups. Among voters 45 and up, Bass had the lead. Self-identified conservative voters backed Caruso, at 14.7 percent to de León’s 8.1 percent.
“Right now, Bass and de León are the two to beat,” said Brianne Gilbert, managing director of the center and senior lecturer in urban and environmental studies and political science. “That said, the next few months will be critical as the candidates attempt both to make themselves known as well as differentiate themselves to the voters.”
The full data brief on the mayoral survey can be found here: https://lmu.app.box.com/s/beby4h0hi7eeep84h2m6kbkl3t889bbt