- The Washington Times - Monday, October 20, 2014

A new poll suggests Democrat Muriel Bowser is gaining momentum in the D.C. mayor’s race as an increasing number of voters settle on a candidate ahead of the Nov. 4 election.

Ms. Bowser leads independent David A. Catania by 12 points in the survey, released Monday by Economic Growth D.C. on the same day as early voting began in the city.

The poll shows Ms. Bowser with 45 percent support, Mr. Catania with 33 percent support, and independent Carol Schwartz with 12 percent. It found 7 percent of voters are undecided.

An Oct. 1 poll from the pro-business advocacy group found Ms. Bowser leading Mr. Catania by just 8 percentage points with 27 percent of voters undecided.

“It seems that Democrats who may have been on the fence have come home to Council member Bowser,” said Dave Oberting, director of Economic Growth D.C. “Any momentum that Catania might have had seems to have been blunted.”

Ms. Bowser, a D.C. Council member who represents Ward 4, and Mr. Catania, an at-large council member, received similar favorability ratings from respondents, with 48 percent and 46 percent favorable ratings respectively. By comparison, those polled gave a 32 percent favorable rating to current Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who lost the Democratic nomination to Ms. Bowser.

SEE ALSO: D.C. mayoral hopefuls Muriel Bowser and David Catania spar on education, homelessness

The poll of 800 likely voters was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. Pollsters contacted voters on landlines and cellphones between Thursday and Sunday.

“Though Bowser holds a solid lead, there is an element of fluidity left in the race,” writes the District-based firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, in a memo accompanying the poll. “One-in-five voters in this electorate are weak Bowser supporters, and another 7 percent are undecided.”

Respondents’ support of Ms. Bowser, who is black, and Mr. Catania, who is white, skewed along racial lines though not on gender.

Ms. Bowser drew 57 percent support among black voters, Mr. Catania drew 19 percent and Ms. Schwartz drew 14 percent.

The majority of white voters favored Mr. Catania, with 51 percent saying that they would support him if the election were held today. Ms. Bowser drew 32 percent support among white voters and Ms. Schwartz earned 9 percent support.

“Bowser’s advantage is built upon the strength of her support among African American voters, who comprise a slight plurality of the electorate,” a polling memo written by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research states.

Of the 800 voters surveyed, 43 percent were white, 48 percent were black, 3 percent Hispanic and 1 percent Asian. The majority of the respondents, 57 percent, were female.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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