Chapel Hill polling shows the challengers taking over | News
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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chapel Hill polling shows the challengers taking over

Posted by on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 11:47 AM

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Chapelboro is reporting a major shift in the polling for this year's hotly-contested races in Chapel Hill. Read the Indy's endorsements for these races here. 

Courtesy of Public Policy Polling, a new survey shows challenger Pam Hemminger has taken the lead over incumbent Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, with Hemminger leading 43 to 37 percent. Second challenger Gary Kahn has pulled in 2 percent. 

In the Town Council contest, while the race remains nail-bitingly close, three of the four front-runners at this point are challengers, Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town-endorsed candidates who have been critical of the direction of the town. 

With four seats open this fall, the poll shows local blogger Nancy Oates in the lead at 30 percent, followed by Jessica Anderson at 29 percent, Jim Ward at 28 percent and David Schwartz at 25 percent.  Incumbent Donna Bell trails in fifth at 22 percent, Michael Parker at 20 percent and Lee Storrow at 19 percent. Paul Neebe and Adam Jones round out the candidates at 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively. 

While this is, no doubt, a major change, it should be noted that there remains a great deal of undecided voters in this election for the Town Council. According to PPP, 39 percent of voters don't have a first choice for the council, 50 percent don't have a second choice, 56 percent don't have a third choice and a staggering 69 percent don't have a fourth choice. This is a wide open race, it would appear, if such voters show up at the polls. 

The surge for newcomers, however, is backed up by other polling data. According to PPP, 47 percent of residents say they believe the town is "on the wrong track" and that they disapprove of the job being done by the Town Council. 

Another very interesting point in this election: The poll data show that, while Chapel Hill is typically a liberal and Democrat-dominated town, Hemminger is getting a lot of support from Republicans and independents. The poll shows that 56 percent of Republicans surveyed backed Hemminger, and 48 percent of independents or other affiliations supported the former county commissioner too. 

Kleinschmidt is relying on a strong base of Democrats. Forty-three percent of Democrats support the incumbent, 28 percent of Republicans and 23 percent of independents. 

In the Town Council race, it gets more confusing when it comes to party affiliation in the technically non-partisan race. Lee Storrow has the greatest amount of first-choice support among Republicans at 15 percent, followed by Nancy Oates at 10 percent. 

The margin of error in the poll is plus or minus 4.5 percent. 

Early voting remains open until Saturday. 

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