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Wilmington mayoral poll shows no clear favorites

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Twenty-one percent on new poll not sure who they will support in Sept. 13 Democratic primary for Wilmington mayor

The following article, written by Xerxes Wilson, was published in The News Journal on July 11, 2016.  It reports the results of a landline telephone poll commissioned by The News Journal and the University of Delaware Center for Political Communication.

Former City Councilman Kevin Kelley has pulled out front in the crowded Democratic primary for Wilmington mayor, according to a poll released Monday that shows 21 percent surveyed still unsure of which candidate they will vote for on Sept. 13. Four of the eight candidates polled in the single digits.

The automated landline telephone poll, commissioned by The News Journal and University of Delaware Center for Political Communication, was conducted from July 6 to 10 and surveyed 284 Wilmington residents who identified themselves as likely Democratic primary voters. The poll has a 5.8 percent margin of error.

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Eighteen percent of respondents said they would vote for Kelley if the election were held today, followed by 14 percent for former Riverfront Development Corp. Executive Director Mike Purzycki, 13 percent for incumbent Mayor Dennis P. Williams, 11 percent for City Council President Theo Gregory, 9 percent for Delaware Center for Justice Advocacy Director Eugene Young, 8 percent for former City Council President Norman Griffiths and 2 percent each for Councilwoman Maria Cabrera and state Sen. Bob Marshall.

Center for Political Communication Director Paul Brewer said that while the poll does not indicate a clear favorite in advance of the Sept. 13 primary, it does show Marshall and Cabrera will need something drastic to happen to have any chance of winning. Kelley, Purzycki and Williams are pulling ahead while Gregory, Griffiths and Young are within striking distance of the front-runners, Brewer said.

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"You have a cluster of candidates at the top. Then a few that are high-single digits and then a couple that seem to be non-factors," Brewer said. "It is not a snapshot of who is going to win, but it does tell us about the state of the race right now."

Six candidates are within the poll's margin of error. The nine-question poll was conducted by Raleigh, North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling.

About the study

The automated landline telephone survey of 284 likely Democratic primary voters was sponsored by The News Journal and the University of Delaware Center for Political Communication. It was conducted by Public Policy Polling from July 6-10, 2016. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of data is ± 5.8%. percentage points. Readers should be aware that in addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

The University of Delaware Center for Political Communication’s sponsorship of the poll was funded in part by the William P. Frank Foundation.

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Wilmington mayoral poll shows no clear favorites