New poll shows Bry and Gloria in near dead heat as race for San Diego mayor enters final stretch

Candidates for San Diego mayor Barbara Bry and Todd Gloria in August 2019.
Candidates for San Diego mayor Barbara Bry and Todd Gloria stand onstage during a candidates forum presented by the San Diego Democratic Party in August 2019.

Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Councilwoman Barbara Bry are in a virtual dead heat among likely voters in the race for San Diego mayor, according to a San Diego Union-Tribune/10News SurveyUSA poll released Oct. 6.

Gloria leads Bry 39 percent to 38 percent, which is within the poll’s 5.3-percentage-point margin of error. That leaves nearly a quarter of likely voters still undecided, with mail voting already underway and Election Day on Nov. 3.

Barbara Bry and Todd Gloria, who are facing off in the race to become the new mayor of San Diego, have their eyes on a big task as they seek to replace current Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who is termed out and cannot run for re-election.

Sept. 29, 2020

Gloria, who trailed fellow Democrat Bry 37 percent to 34 percent in a similar poll four weeks ago, has gained ground since then with young people, Latinos, Democrats and suburban voters.

Police reform measure looks strong; housing bond in trouble; height limit measure could be tight vote.

Sept. 2, 2020

While Bry has lost her small lead, she has gained ground since the last poll with women, Republicans, independents and voters ages 35 to 49.

The candidates are nearly even within every age group.

Gloria leads 34 percent to 33 percent among voters 18 to 34, Bry leads 36 percent to 35 percent among voters 35 to 49, the candidates are tied at 38 percent among voters 50 to 64, and Gloria leads 44 percent to 41 percent among voters 65 and older.

Poll: Mayor's race

Beyond the mayor’s race, the poll shows challenger Cory Briggs shrinking the lead of incumbent Mara Elliott in the city attorney’s race by gaining greater support from Republican voters in the race featuring two Democrats.

Elliott leads Briggs 28 percent to 22 percent, a slightly larger edge than the poll’s margin of error. A month ago, Elliott led 30 percent to 20 percent. In both polls, half of likely voters said they were undecided.

The new poll also shows a surge in support for Measure E, which would lift the city’s 30-foot coastal building height limit in a targeted area surrounding the sports arena.

The measure, which needs a simple majority to pass, leads 37 percent to 25 percent. The 12-point gap is much larger than the measure’s 2-point lead in last month’s poll, but 38 percent remain undecided.

The two candidates battling to become San Diego’s first new mayor since 2014 have different views on revamping the Midway District’s sports arena neighborhood.

Oct. 7, 2020

The poll brings discouraging news for supporters of Measure A, which would increase property taxes in the city to pay for $900 million in housing units for formerly homeless or low-income families.

While Measure A leads 38 percent to 33 percent, it’s far below the two-thirds approval needed for passage. Democrats support the measure by a wide enough margin for it to pass, but Republicans oppose it 52 percent to 36 percent, the survey said.

Prospects look much better for Measure B, which would strengthen the city’s police misconduct oversight panel. The measure, which needs a simple majority to pass, leads 53 percent to 21 percent.

The poll also shows strong support for Measure C, which would change San Diego Unified School District board elections from at-large to district-by-district. The measure, which needs approval from a simple majority, leads 39 percent to 14 percent.

The poll surveyed 640 registered voters Oct. 1-5 over landlines, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices. The poll deemed 547 of the respondents likely to vote.

SurveyUSA received criticism that its September poll had too large a percentage of likely voters and not enough independents, raising questions about the poll’s methodology and accuracy.

Critics say Republicans were overrepresented in the SurveyUSA poll released Sept. 1 and that independent voters were underrepresented. Questions also were raised about the ratio of likely voters in the poll, which critics called too high.

Sept. 3, 2020

In the new poll, likely voters dipped from 97 percent of registered voters to 85 percent. And the percentage of independents rose from 18 percent to 23 percent, closer to the roughly 30 percent of local voters who are typically independents.

Ken Alper, SurveyUSA president, said the percentage of likely voters went down because the company strengthened its screening of registered voters. He said no changes were made to boost the number of independents polled.

In the mayor’s race, Bry leads Gloria among Republican voters 46 percent to 24 percent and among independents 46 percent to 27 percent. Gloria, who was endorsed by the county Democratic Party, leads among Democrats 53 percent to 29 percent.

Bry leads among men 45 percent to 34 percent, while Gloria leads among women 43 percent to 31 percent.

Gloria, who trailed Bry among Hispanic voters in last month’s poll, now leads 45 percent to 32 percent in that group.

Bry leads 39 percent to 38 percent among White voters and 37 percent to 31 percent among Asian voters.

The poll doesn’t include a breakdown for Black voters because only 15 of the 547 likely voters surveyed were Black, which Alpert characterized as too small a number to be statistically reliable.

Of the likely voters surveyed, 60 percent said they plan to vote by mail, 21 percent said they plan to vote in person on Election Day and 15 percent said they plan to vote in person before Election Day. ◆