Based on one public poll, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher’s decision to drop his Republican affiliation and run for San Diego mayor as an independent has, if nothing else, addressed his name recognition problem.
A poll of likely primary voters released Thursday by SurveyUSA and 10News shows Fletcher running in second place to San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio with 26 percent of the vote, doubling his support from an identical poll 10 weeks ago that found him in last place.
DeMaio remained in first place in the San Diego mayoral race with 28 percent voter support, up 3 points from the early-February poll.
The race’s lone Democrat, Congressman Bob Filner, was favored by 20 percent of respondents, 4 percent less than the previous poll. Republican District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ support was virtually unchanged at 13 percent.
Four percent of likely voters said they were voting for someone else, and 10 percent said they remained undecided.
The June mayoral primary will advance the top two vote-getters to a November run-off, unless one receives more than 50 percent of the vote.
The non-partisan contest does not allow party affiliation to be printed on the ballot, and SurveyUSA did not include it in its questions.
Fletcher’s boost in popularity came from both moderates and liberals. His support jumped 13 points among both groups, to 24 percent among moderates and 23 percent with liberals.
Even after dropping his Republican affiliation, Fletcher gained 8 points among conservatives, to 28 percent.
Moderates represented a six percent larger share of respondents than in the February poll.
From April 9 to April 12, a recorded voice asked likely voters, “If the primary election for San Diego mayor were today, who would you vote for? Carl DeMaio? Bonnie Dumanis? Bob Filner? Nathan Fletcher? Or some other candidate?” The candidates’ names were rotated.
Of the 532 likely voters, 11 percent were reached on mobile devices and responded to questions displayed on their screens.
The poll also asked respondents of their position on Proposition B, the pension reform initiative that would transfer most new city hires to 401(k)-style retirement plans and attempt to freeze employees’ pensionable pay for five years.
Fifty-five percent of likely voters said they’ll approve the measure while 15 percent oppose it and 30 percent remain undecided.
Self-identified conservatives flocked to DeMaio in the April poll. He now pulls 48 percent of that group, up from 32 percent before. DeMaio led Prop B’s signature-gathering effort.
On March 11, the central committee of the San Diego Republican Party voted to formally endorse DeMaio in the primary race.
Three weeks later, on March 28, Fletcher announced he was leaving the party. He delivered a heartfelt plea for the committee’s endorsement prior to their vote.
SurveyUSA is the same pollster that found an 8 percent bump for Fletcher on the day he announced he was leaving the Republican Party to run as a “decline-to-state” candidate.
Filner lost 8 percent among moderates, but continues to hold 41 percent liberal support.
Dumanis lost 3 percent from both conservatives and liberals, but maintained a 16 percent share of moderates.