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Feuer, Zine continue leads in L.A. races, poll shows

But the new polling finds a large number of likely voters still undecided in those races, for city attorney and city controller. Earlier poll shows a dead heat for mayor.

May 14, 2013|By Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times

Former lawmaker Mike Feuer and City Councilman Dennis Zine continue to hold leads in their races for citywide Los Angeles offices, new polling released Monday showed.

In polling conducted April 29 through May 7 by the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State L.A., Feuer, a former member of the state Assembly and L.A. City Council, led City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, who is seeking reelection in next week's balloting, 35 to 24%, with 41% of voters still undecided.

In the city controller race, attorney and government efficiency commissioner Ron Galperin trailed Zine by 15 points — 33 to 18%, with 49% of voters yet to make up their minds, the poll showed.

The telephone survey of 674 likely voters has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Susan Pinkus, the Pat Brown Institute's polling consultant, oversaw the survey.

Poll results released earlier showed the mayor's race in a dead heat.

Regarding the city attorney and city controller contests, the poll roughly mirrors a mid-April survey conducted by the USC Price School of Public Policy and the Los Angeles Times. That poll found Feuer leading Trutanich by more than 11 percentage points, with nearly 38% of voters undecided. Zine led Galperin by 12 percentage points, but almost 44% of voters said they hadn't yet made up their minds.

In the March 5 primary, Trutanich finished second to Feuer, 44 to 30%. But Galperin was the top vote-getter among a field of six, edging past second-place Zine by a little more than 4,000 votes.

Raphael Sonenshein, director of the Pat Brown Institute Poll, noted that both the city attorney and controller races showed significantly higher percentages of voters still on the fence compared with the mayor's race, in which just 9% of voters said they were undecided. That is probably because those contests have received far less attention than the mayor's race and it means that "name identification will likely play a major role in the outcome," Sonenshein said.

The large proportion of undecided voters offers some hope for Trutanich, who has trailed in every independent poll since the primary, although an automated phone poll released last week by Survey USA showed him just six percentage points behind, the smallest gap of any survey so far.

"He's still a long-shot," Sonenshein said in an interview Monday. But Trutanich's comparatively high name identification and the advantages that usually attach to incumbency mean he can't be counted out, Sonenshein added.

The poll found that Feuer leads among whites, 39 to 23%, and Latinos, 31 to 23%, the two largest demographic groups in the electorate. Trutanich appears to lead among African Americans but the number of voters in that sample is too small to analyze, the pollsters said.

Feuer outpolled Trutanich in the San Fernando Valley, 38 to 20%, and by a smaller margin in the other parts of the city, 32 to 28%. Feuer, a Democrat, was preferred by voters of his party 32 to 21%, in this strongly Democratic city. Republicans preferred Trutanich, a former Republican who re-registered as an independent several years ago, 36 to 33%.

Galperin "has a very steep hill to climb," Sonenshein said, despite the fact that nearly half of voters still are up for grabs.

"Zine is much better known than Galperin," Sonenshein said. And Zine's lead is broad across the main demographic and geographic voter groups in the city.

Zine was the choice of white voters, 30 to 21%, and Latinos, 29 to 18%; San Fernando Valley voters preferred Zine over Galperin by 32 to 19% and those in the rest of the city favored Zine 31 to 17%. Galperin's Democratic Party affiliation apparently hasn't helped him much: Voters in that party also preferred Zine, a former Republican now an independent, 30 to 47%. He also led with Republicans, 36%to 22%.

jean.merl@latimes.com

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