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Spectrum News / Siena College Buffalo Mayoral Primary Poll

Spectrum News / Siena College Buffalo Mayoral Primary Poll

Monday, August 14, 2017

Spectrum News / Siena College Buffalo Mayoral Primary Poll:

Three-term Incumbent Brown (51%) Has Two-to-One Lead Over Schroeder (24%), with Grant at 13% in Dem. Primary

Strong Favorability Ratings for 3 Pols; Brown Best; Cuomo Very Strong Too

67% of Dems Say NYS Headed on Right Track; 78% – Yes, 78% – Say Buffalo Is

Loudonville, NY.  Less than one month until Primary Day and three-term incumbent Mayor Byron Brown – with the support of slightly more than half of likely Democratic voters – leads Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder (24 percent) and Erie County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant (13 percent), according to a new Spectrum News/Siena College Poll of likely Buffalo Democratic primary voters released today.

Democrats give Brown a 74-22 percent favorability rating and a positive 67-31 percent job performance rating. Schroeder has a 52-10 percent favorability, while Grant is 52-17 percent.  By 67-19 percent, voters say New York State is headed on the right track, and by 78-15 percent, they say Buffalo is on the right track.

“As he seeks a fourth term as mayor of the Queen City, Byron Brown is in a very strong position,” said Dr. Don Levy, Siena College Research Institute Director. “Brown’s lead is consistent across virtually every demographic group. He is supported by 49 percent of women and 54 percent of men. Fifty percent of white voters and 52 percent of black voters support him. At least 45 percent of Democrats, regardless of age, religion, income level, or education are supporting Brown.

“While 55 percent of Brown supporters say there is no chance they will change their minds, only 38 percent of Schroeder supporters and 22 percent of Grant supporters say that,” Levy said.

“Given their current and previous public service and runs for various offices, both Schroeder and Grant are fairly well known – particularly for challengers – and both enjoy strong favorability ratings,” Levy said.

“However, both Grant and Schroeder fall short of Brown’s favorability which, after 12 years as mayor, stands at 74-22 percent, even higher than his 70-27 percent favorability rating in September 2013,” Levy said.

“Buffalo Democrats love Governor Cuomo, giving him a 73-19 percent favorability rating, and they have no love for President Trump, who they give a negative 11-84 percent favorability rating,” Levy said.

“Bullish is the word to describe how Buffalo Democrats feel about their city and their state. Two-thirds think the state is headed on the right track, including two-thirds of Schroeder and Grant supporters and 74 percent of Brown supporters,” Levy said. “But there’s even stronger good feelings for how Democrats feel about their city. Only 15 percent of voters think Buffalo is headed in the wrong direction, while 78 percent – including 60 percent of Grant supporters and 72 percent of Schroeder supporters – think Buffalo is headed on the right track.”

Voters were asked whether Buffalo was headed on the right track or wrong direction over the last four years on five issues. A majority of Democrats say Buffalo is on the right track on three: improving infrastructure, ensuring opportunities for young people to be successful, and providing training to police in handling citizen/police interactions. Voters say Buffalo is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to treating all neighborhoods fairly and crime.

“By nearly two-to-one – including strong majorities of supporters of each of the mayoral candidates – Buffalo Democrats think a new train station should be located at the Central Terminal, rather than downtown,” Levy said. “Two-thirds of voters think the state’s commitment to the Buffalo Billion has resulted in positive changes in the city. While 75 percent of Brown supporters think it’s been positive, a smaller but still strong 62 percent of Grant supporters and 56 percent of Schroeder supporters agree.

“The 12-year incumbent is extremely well-liked. Two-thirds think he’s doing an excellent or good job as mayor. More than three-quarters say the city is on the right track. That’s a tough environment for challengers,” Levy said. “Schroeder and Grant – both well-liked but not as well-known as Brown – are in the difficult position of having to convince voters who like the job Brown is doing, to instead support them. While voters don’t think everything in Buffalo is wonderful – they give thumbs down to the quality of public schools, infrastructure condition and city government responsiveness – there aren’t a lot of big issues for the challengers to use trying to unseat Brown.”


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This Spectrum News/Siena College Buffalo Mayoral Democratic Primary survey was conducted August 6-9, 2017 by landline and cell telephone calls conducted in English to 651 likely Democratic primary voters.  Calls were made to a stratified weighted sample of voters from the L-2 Voter list via both land and cell phones, supplemented with additional cell phone sample from Survey Sampling International. A likely-to-vote probability was computed for each respondent based on both their stated likelihood to vote as well as by virtue of the imputation of a turnout probability score based on past voting behavior applied to their specific voting history.  This probability to vote was applied as a weight along with a weight that considered age and gender.  This poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting.  The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS.  SRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, please call Don Levy at 518-783-2901.  Survey cross-tabulations and frequencies can be found at: www.Siena.edu/SCRI/SNY.