A poll of Santa Barbara voters conducted just two weeks before the mayoral election puts Frank Hotchkiss at the front of the pack, with Cathy Murillo, Hal Conklin, Angel Martinez, and Bendy White trailing, in that order. But far and away the largest portion of surveyed voters ― 40 percent ― remains undecided, leaving the November 7 contest very much in the air.
The poll was conducted by Newsmakers, the TV Santa Barbara public affairs show produced by Independent columnist Jerry Roberts and local journalism veteran Hap Freund. It was designed and funded by the California politics website Calbuzz and conducted by Validity Research. A random sampling of 400 registered voters were polled who said they already have or will cast ballots in the all-mail election.
The final tally breaks down like this:
Frank Hotchkiss ― 19 percent
Cathy Murillo ― 16
Hal Conklin ― 10
Angel Martinez ― 9
Bendy White ― 6
Undecided ― 40
Hotchkiss’s campaign camp reacted to the Newsmakers story with satisfaction and surprise, describing it in a mass email as “very good news — from a left-leaning journalist, no less!” The message solicited donations as Election Day draws nigh. “Every little bit helps,” it reads. “For example, today I received a $1 contribution from a young man in Beverly Hills. So it’s all good.”
On the subject of Measure C, 54 percent of surveyed voters said they planned to vote for the one-cent sales tax increase, with 32 percent against it and 14 percent undecided. When asked whether they feel the City of Santa Barbara is on the right or wrong track, 49 percent said they think the city is heading in the right direction while 35 percent feel otherwise.
As of last Friday, according to Newsmakers, 4,272 ballots had already been returned ― 2,102 from registered Democratic voters, 1,249 from Republicans, and the rest from decline-to-state independents or those registered with third parties.
Ballots were mailed October 9 and must be postmarked for return by Election Day, November 7. They can also be dropped off at the City Clerk’s Office during regular business hours prior to Election Day, or at four locations — City Hall, the Franklin Neighborhood Center, Harding Elementary School, and First Presbyterian Church — on November 7.