March 05, 2001

Based on a recent survey conducted by the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) citywide of 800 likely voters, Antonio Villaraigosa leads Jim Hahn by 23 percent to 20 percent in the race for mayor.

Is Los Angeles ready for a Latino mayor? Eighty-three percent say "Yes." In addition, Los Angeles likely voters would choose Villaraigosa over Hahn in the runoff election 40 percent to 35 percent. When asked, those registered voters said that they want a candidate who demonstrates effectiveness, is hard working and can solve problems.

The top priorities for those polled include improving public education, fighting crime, reforming the LAPD and improving economic development.

Latino registered voters in the city of Los Angeles now make up approximately 315,000 or 22 percent of the total voters.

"We expect a record turnout of Latino registered voters for this mayoral election because for the first time, not one but two viable Latino candidates are working hard to turn out the Latino vote," said Antonio Gonzalez, president of WCVI. "This is a fascinating time in local politics, and Latinos are more than real players in the race for mayor. The Latino vote will be decisive for both the primary and the general elections."

Of those Latinos registered to vote, approximately 40 percent are expected to cast their vote on Election Day, April 10. Based on the number of registered Latinos and the closeness of this race, it is anticipated that this will be the first time in history that Latinos will cast a larger number of votes than their proportion of the electorate.

The survey was conducted in conjunction with the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI), La Opinion and Telemundo/KVEA-TV. There were 21 questions asked, and the survey was conducted in both Spanish and English. WCVI is a nonpartisan Latino public policy and research institute that examines Latino electoral and opinion trends. Since its founding in 1985, WCVI has been at the forefront of Latino research in the areas of civic and economic empowerment.

The results, findings and analysis contained in this executive summary are based on a survey of 803 likely voters for the April 10 primary election for mayor of the city of Los Angeles. The interviews were conducted between March 26 and April 1. Five hundred three of the interviews were conducted among a random sample of Los Angeles likely voters. The other 300 interviews were conducted among an "over-sample" of Latino likely voters.

The margin of error for the citywide random sample is 4 percentage points. The margin of error for the Latino "over-sample" is 5 percentage points. The public opinion project was designed and conducted by Bendixen & Associates of Miami.

Major Findings

1. Antonio Villaraigosa and James K. Hahn are strong favorites to

capture the top two spots in the April 10 Los Angeles Mayor's Race.

The poll indicates that the two front-runners have a clear lead over the other four major contenders in the race. Ex-State Legislator Villaraigosa receives 23 percent of the votes in the survey. He leads among Latinos and among non-Hispanic White voters. City Attorney James K. Hahn receives 20 percent and wins the majority of the African American vote.

Businessman Steve Soboroff is third with 12 percent. He leads among Republican voters and is a strong second among non-Hispanic Whites. Congressman Xavier Becerra gets 10 percent in the survey with his strongest support coming from Latino immigrant voters. State Comptroller Kathleen Connell and City Councilman Joel Wachs trail with 8 percent of the vote each. Nineteen percent of the likely city voters interviewed were undecided.

2. Villaraigosa and Becerra split the fast-growing Latino vote in Los Angeles.

Antonio Villaraigosa, with 36 percent, and Xavier Becerra, with 32 percent, are the strong favorites of Los Angeles' Hispanic electorate. The survey reveals that Villaraigosa has a comfortable lead among Latinos interviewed in English (32 percent of the sample) while Becerra has a slight lead among Latinos interviewed in Spanish (68 percent of the sample).

None of the other four major contenders for mayor receive more than four percent of the Latino vote. The survey indicates that Hispanics should comprise 24 percent of the Los Angeles electorate on April 10.

3. A runoff between Villaraigosa and Hahn would be a close contest.

The poll indicates that Villaraigosa has a small lead over Hahn, 40 percent to 35 percent, when likely voters are asked to choose between them. Villaraigosa swamps Hahn among Latinos by a 7-to-1 margin while the City Attorney defeats the ex-Assembly Speaker by a 3-to-1 margin among African Americans.

Non-Hispanic Whites split between the two front-runners and, according to the survey, would be the deciding factor in a runoff between them. Villaraigosa also leads among Democratic voters and younger voters between 18 and 34 years of age. Hahn wins in the runoff among Republican voters and older voters over 65 years of age.

4. A large majority of Los Angeles city voters give positive marks to the police department but negative marks to the public school system.

Sixty-four percent of those interviewed rated the effectiveness of the LAPD in their neighborhood as excellent or good. Only 32 percent gave the police a negative rating. A majority of voters from the three major race and ethnic groups in the city are supportive of the LAPD and, according to the study, 77 percent of likely voters said that they "felt safe in their neighborhood at night."

In contrast, 63 percent of those interviewed rated the quality of Los Angeles' public schools as either mediocre or poor.

5. Other Findings

-- Eighty-three perent of voters think that Los Angeles is "ready" for a Hispanic mayor.

-- Voters prefer an "effective and hard-working administrator" to a "strong and charismatic leader" for the next mayor of Los Angeles.

-- Improving public education should be the top priority of the new mayor, according to the poll.

-- Only 22 percent of Los Angeles voters say that their economic situation has gotten worse over the last year.

Leave a reply

Enter the characters shown in the image.