- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 14, 2006

D.C. Council member Adrian M. Fenty holds a six-point lead over council Chairman Linda W. Cropp in the race for mayor, in a citywide poll of Democrats released yesterday, but a large swath of potential voters — 28 percent — remain undecided.

In a telephone poll by the Mellman Group of 400 registered Democrats, Mr. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat, was preferred by 34 percent of those contacted, while Mrs. Cropp received 28 percent. Of the other candidates for mayor — council member Vincent B. Orange Sr., Ward 5, and Michael A. Brown, a lobbyist, both held 4 percent; while Marie Johns, former Verizon executive, attracted 2 percent.

“This is right where we thought we’d be with Fenty and Cropp,” said Jonetta Rose-Barras, a political analyst for WAMU. “The number of undecided means that the race is still just beginning, that people aren’t paying attention yet. I think we still have a long summer ahead of us and a very tight and tense race.”

The poll, commissioned by the Foggy Bottom Association, was conducted from May 23 through 25. It contained a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

Among blacks polled, Mr. Fenty holds a slim lead over Mrs. Cropp 33 percent to 30 percent, with 28 percent undecided. Among white voters, Mr. Fenty holds a larger lead — 37 percent to Mrs. Cropp’s 25 percent — with 25 percent undecided.

Mr. Fenty’s largest margin was recorded among voters younger than 50 with 42 percent support to Mrs. Cropp’s 16 percent, and 31 percent undecided.

The only subcategory in which Mrs. Cropp leads Mr. Fenty was a slim one with voters older than 50, with Mrs. Cropp attracting the support of 34 percent, with 31 percent favoring Mr. Fenty and 25 percent undecided.

Miss Rose-Barras said she is not surprised by the age category gap.

“I think that people have consistently raised questions about Mrs. Cropp’s viability among that generation, her ability to sustain a certain energy within this race and her ability to sustain that energy as mayor,” Miss Rose-Barras said.

Ron Eckstein, a spokesman for Mrs. Cropp’s campaign, said the poll doesn’t worry them.

“Polls are a fluid thing. We don’t focus on the polls so much we focus on the policies that are going to affect the lives of the people in the District,” he said. “If you look at 10 different polls you are going to get 10 different numbers.”

The poll also revealed deep concern about overdevelopment in the District, with 66 percent of respondents saying developers have too much influence in the city.

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