ELECTION ’12//ASSEMBLY 20 | A new poll released last week shows optometrist Dr. Jennifer Ong gained a significant lead over former Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk in the 20th Assembly District race. Quirk, however, refutes the data. 

The poll, compiled by Global Strategy Group, states that after hearing positive statements about both Ong and her opponent, the voters chose her by a significant percentage, 52-37.

The survey of over 500 voters in the district, further states that after hearing criticisms of both candidates, the poll moved more “decisively” in Ong’s direction, favoring her over her opponent by a 31-point margin, 54 percent to 23 percent. Ong’s campaign states that this poll shows a “clear path to victory.” Ong was also clear the poll had no direct or indirect contribution from her campaign.

The polling, however, runs considerably counter to Quirk’s internal poll, released last month and conducted by Godbe Research. That poll showed Quirk with a double digit lead over Ong with 43 percent to 30 percent and evaluated 602 likely voters, along with both candidate’s ballot designation and excerpts from the candidates statements.

Quirk had also funded another poll prior to the primaries, also conducted by Godbe Research, showing Quirk with a significant lead among his four other opponents. That poll proved to be not far off the mark as Quirk took first in June primaries with 30.3 percent of the vote, a 4.6 lead on Ong who finished second with 25.7 percent.

Quirk points to his primary poll and first place finish in the primaries as a legitimate indicator of his potential victory, “Jennifer also had a poll showing she would win the Primary. My poll showed I would win, and it was right,” said Quirk. “The same firm, which I used for the primary, used the same procedures to take my poll for the general. Look at the results. I stand by them.”

Ong also received the support of one of her primary rivals. Union City Mayor Mark Green endorsed Ong for Assembly last week. Last month Ong told The Citizen that although he supported Ong he would not likely come out with an official endorsement while he was running for the Alameda County District 2 supervisorial seat left vacant earlier this year when Nadia Lockyer resigned amid a drug and sex scandal. Green also sought the appointment to Lockyer’s seat, but was passed over for Richard Valle.

Even though Green’s support was originally thought to have been quid pro quo he decided to come out officially in his support for Ong. The mayor ran for the Assembly this year, but lost in the primaries, finishing third with 20.3 percent. The gregarious, long-time mayor, who typically eschews loafers for sensible shoes, ran as an independent, as he is this fall.

Shane Bond is a regular contributor to the East Bay Citizen.