Poll: Kaplan Building on Lead in Oakland Mayor’s Race, Brown ‘Bump’ for Schaaf

With less than three weeks until Election Day, a third consecutive polls predicts a comfortable lead for Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. PHOTO/Steven Tavares

OAKLAND | MAYOR | Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan is maintaining a lead over Mayor Jean Quan and Councilmember Libby Schaaf, according to a new poll released Wednesday. The poll also finds Kaplan would beat Schaaf by more than 17 points, 58-41 percent, when ranked-choice votes are tabulated. The final result in this latest survey, however, may reveal a surge by Schaaf with less than three weeks before Election day. Previous polls, showed Kaplan defeating Quan in the final round.

Libby Schaaf appears to have been the
beneficiary of a Jerry Brown “bump” in
the polls. PHOTO/Steven Tavares

Last week, Schaaf received the high-profile endorsement of Gov. Jerry Brown and Tuesday night she received the backing of the East Bay Express, city’s progressive newspaper of record. The latter, which occurred during the middle of polling from Oct. 5-Oct. 9, noted a significant bump to Schaaf’s numbers, as much as 8 percent in first-place votes, according the survey, commissioned by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

The poll found Kaplan leads in the first round with 21 percent, followed by Quan, 17 percent; Schaaf 14 percent; Dan Siegel 9 percent; Joe Tuman, 8 percent; along with Courtney Ruby and Bryan Parker at 4 percent.

The second tier of candidates in the 15-person field is lead by Charles Williams and Eric Wilson with 3 percent; Jason Anderson, Saied Karamooz and Peter Liu with 2 percent; Patrick McCullough and Ken Houston at 1 percent and Nancy Sidebotham registering support below 1 percent.

While Kaplan remains atop the polls—two other surveys found similar results—the poll notes her high name-recognition among voters following two at-large council race in the last four years, may have plateaued. Schaaf’s name I.D., meanwhile, is rising, according to the poll, as more Oakland voters become engaged in the fall election. Just 21 percent of the 500 likely voters interviewed said they are undecided, according to the survey. The figure is down from the 39 percent of undecided voters identified in a poll from September.

The state of Quan’s fight for re-election is muddled, according to the poll. For the first time since 2005, the city’s right direction-wrong track numbers are positive. Forty-five percent of respondents said Oakland is moving in the right direction, while 37 percent said it is not. The findings are significant and especially positive for an incumbent like Quan. However, the poll also found her negatives as mayor still stubbornly low.

If Quan is shut out of the final top two, presumably to the benefit of Kaplan and Schaaf, Quan’s supporters could determine the next mayor. The survey shows more of Quan’s voters supported Kaplan over Schaaf. Such a results would be a role-reversal to four years ago when Kaplan vaulted Quan over Don Perata and into the mayor’s office.

However, the poll also suggests another kingmaker on Nov. 4 could be Joe Tuman. The university professor and former television analyst is somewhat a ideological twin to Schaaf for many of his supporters. Tuman, according to the poll finishes fifth in first round with eight percent. But, Tuman’s share of second place votes ranks third behind Kaplan and Schaaf. Furthermore, his third place votes are tied with Kaplan for first.