Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel face off… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
A month before the May 21 Los Angeles mayoral runoff election, likely voters favor Eric Garcetti over Wendy Greuel by 50% to 40%, according to a new USC Price/Los Angeles Times poll.
The survey also found no sign of success for Greuel's effort to gain an edge among women by highlighting her potential to make history as the city's first female mayor. Female poll respondents said they preferred Garcetti by a margin of 50% to 41%.
Latinos and younger respondents backed Garcetti by still wider margins. The city councilman from Silver Lake appears to have strengthened his standing in the central city and Eastside neighborhoods that he won decisively in the March primary. He has also appears to have built a solid lead on the Westside -- a key target of Greuel's.
Perhaps most worrisome for Greuel, the city controller, is her apparent failure so far to establish a base in the Valley, where the two are effectively tied in the poll.
Greuel, who lives in Studio City, had hoped that audits by her office that found wasteful spending of taxpayer money would appeal to the Valley's Republicans, often a pivotal vote in L.A. elections.
Instead, Garcetti has emerged with a lopsided poll lead among conservatives citywide, picking up support from many of those who voted in the primary for Republican radio personality Kevin James, now a Garcetti backer.
Greuel's apparent tepid support in the Valley, which she represented on the City Council from 2002 to 2009, poses a major challenge for her in the closing weeks of the race. Though Democrats dominate the Valley, many of the city's Republicans live on its western and northern ends.
The telephone survey of 500 likely voters, taken Monday through Wednesday, had a margin of sampling error of 4.4 percentage points in either direction, with wider margins for subgroups.
For Garcetti, the poll offered an abundance of good signs. Likely voters gave him higher marks than Greuel on how he would handle traffic, mass transit, jobs, crime and public safety, always areas of concern for city voters.
The results also suggested minimal returns so far for one of Greuel's thrusts: She has vowed to hire about 2,000 new police officers and 700 new firefighters and paramedics, and also attacked Garcetti for Fire Department budget cuts.
A plurality of likely voters also chose Garcetti when asked which candidate could make the tough decisions necessary to move the city in the right direction, which would represent every neighborhood and race in L.A., and which had a strong and clear vision for the city's future.
Read Michael Finnegan's full story here.
Ranger sues, demands $1-million Dorner reward
Security tight across L.A. after violence in Boston
OC Marathon organizers see a post-Boston increase in registration