New poll shows Bry and Gloria close in race for San Diego mayor; almost 30% undecided

Mayoral candidates Barbara Bry and Todd Gloria

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


San Diego City Councilwoman Barbara Bry and state Assemblyman Todd Gloria are running close together among likely voters in their race to become San Diego’s next mayor, according to a San Diego Union-Tribune/10News SurveyUSA poll released Sept. 1.

Bry, who finished 66,000 votes behind fellow Democrat Gloria in the March primary, leads Gloria 37 percent to 34 percent. But her lead is within the poll’s margin of error of 5.3 percentage points, and 29 percent in the poll are undecided.

Bry represents council District 1, which includes communities such as La Jolla, University City and Carmel Valley. Gloria’s 78th Assembly District ranges from Solana Beach to Imperial Beach and includes Ocean Beach and Point Loma.

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April 3, 2020

The poll surveyed 534 registered voters Aug. 28-31 over landlines, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices. The poll deemed 517 respondents as likely to vote.

With nine weeks left before the Nov. 3 election — and five weeks until mail voting begins Oct. 5 — 19 percent of those polled said they have no opinion of Bry and 14 percent said they have no opinion of Gloria.

Bry’s support is strongest among conservatives, older residents and voters who disapprove of the performance of incumbent Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who cannot run for re-election because of term limits.

Gloria leads among people planning to vote by mail, and he is even with Bry among White voters, Asian voters and voters younger than 50. But Bry, who is White, has more support from Latino voters than Gloria, who is Latino, Filipino and Native American.

Beyond the mayor’s race, the poll shows an uphill climb for a November ballot measure that would increase property taxes in the city to pay for $900 million in housing units for formerly homeless or low-income families.

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While Measure A leads in the poll 36 percent to 32 percent, it is far below the two-thirds approval needed for passage.

Prospects look much better for Measure B, which would strengthen the city’s police misconduct oversight panel. That measure, which needs a simple majority to pass, leads 55 percent to 19 percent among likely voters.

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Voters are split on Measure E, which would lift the city’s 30-foot coastal height limit in a targeted area surrounding the sports arena in the Midway District. The measure, which needs a simple majority to pass, leads 31 percent to 29 percent, with 39 percent undecided.

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The poll shows support for Measure C, which would change San Diego Unified School District board elections from at-large to by geographical district. The measure, which needs approval from a simple majority, has support from 39 percent in the poll, with 12 percent opposed.

In the city attorney race, the poll shows incumbent Mara Elliott with a solid lead over challenger Cory Briggs, 30 percent to 20 percent, with 50 percent undecided. Elliott beat Briggs by more than 130,000 votes in the three-candidate March primary.

Mayoral race

Bry’s support among conservative voters may be the result of her taking more moderate positions than Gloria during the campaign on issues such as eviction protections and allowing dense housing in suburban neighborhoods.

Among those who support the re-election of Republican President Donald Trump, Bry leads Gloria 37 percent to 27 percent. Among those who support Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Bry leads 38 percent to 37 percent.

Of the likely voters polled, Biden leads Trump 60 percent to 36 percent.

(Note: Sample size does not capture all demographic subgroups)

Bry’s support from voters critical of Faulconer may be due to her criticism of the mayor’s management, particularly a deal to buy an asbestos-contaminated downtown high-rise that has cost the city millions of dollars.

Gloria approved the 2016 deal when he was on the City Council, but he has said that many subsequent city decisions related to the building have occurred since the end of 2016, when Bry joined the City Council and Gloria left for the Assembly.

Among voters who disapprove of Faulconer’s performance, Bry leads 42 percent to 25 percent. But only a quarter of those surveyed disapprove of Faulconer’s performance.

Among the 57 percent of those surveyed who approve of Faulconer’s performance, Gloria barely leads Bry 38 percent to 37 percent.

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While the two candidates are even among White and Asian voters in the poll, Bry has a large lead of 46 percent to 27 percent among voters who describe themselves as Hispanic, who made up 18 percent of those polled.

Bry leads Gloria 42 percent to 35 percent among likely voters 50 and older. The candidates are tied at 32 percent each among voters younger than 50.

Among voters who plan to vote by mail, Gloria leads Bry 38 percent to 36 percent. Among those who plan to vote in person, either on Election Day or before that, Bry leads by 17 points.

Gloria easily finished first in the March primary, while Bry secured the second slot in the runoff only after late-arriving absentee ballots pushed her ahead of Republican Scott Sherman nearly two weeks after the primary.

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Because Bry has positioned herself to the right of Gloria on many issues, she may be doing better with Sherman voters than Gloria.

The poll comes as both campaigns are gearing up to send out thousands of mailers and to roll out advertising efforts. Bry has raised significantly more money than Gloria since the primary, but he has more support from well-funded independent committees.


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