Most Traverse City voters have yet to decide their favored mayoral and commission candidates – though some early leaders appear to be emerging -- according to a new poll conducted by The Ticker.
178 Traverse City residents were surveyed last week.
In the race for mayor, incumbent Michael Estes appears to have a comfortable lead, with 26 percent supporting him and only 6 percent saying they plan to vote for Rick Buckhalter. A whopping 63 percent say they remain undecided.
For commission, local activist Gary Howe appears to have a lead over his six fellow candidates among voters, perhaps aided by his early yard sign presence. The numbers were as follows:
Gary Howe 40 percent
Tim Werner 24 percent
Ross Richardson 21 percent
Jan Warren 15 percent
Jody Bergman 12 percent
Patrick McGuire 8 percent
John Reid 3 percent
Undecided 48 percent
Howe says of the results, “Certainly yard signs are part of it, but the message and willingness to engage people is more important. Voters are ready to vote for someone willing to shares ideas and who is genuinely interested in seeing how those ideas work with other perspectives.”
The high undecided numbers are consistent with polling prior to other elections; many voters only “tune in” in the days prior to the actual election. Electon day is November 5.
The majority of respondents (65 percent) believe Traverse City is going in the right direction, six times as many as think Traverse City is going in the wrong direction (11 percent).
When asked to rank their top issues in the upcoming election, poll participants rated “repairing streets and sidewalks” (56 percent) and “fostering economic development” (45 percent) as their top two. Also ranking high were “limiting growth of festivals and events” (21 percent) and “enhancing public safety” (19 percent).
Mayor Estes says those results are consistent with his priorities since his election.
“During my stay as mayor I've worked with the commission to improve funding for roads, sidewalks and bike paths from $100,000 when I first took office to about $1.5 million today. Likewise from the time I took office to today, economic development is so robust that city staff can hardly keep up with road and development projects.”
The survey was conducted with the help of Avenue ISR, a local market research firm. The “convenience sample” of 178 adult TC residents represents roughly 1.5 percent of the total adult population of 12,197. Respondents were 70% female and represented a wide range of ages and income groups.