The odds of Democrats keeping control of the Indianapolis City-County Council are improving according to a new poll released this week by Indy Politics and Mason Strategies, but most voters are still unfamiliar with who serves on the body.
The poll of 350 likely voters shows that in a generic ballot contest, 56% of voters say they would choose the Democrat candidate, while only 27% said they would vote for the Republican. Eleven percent were undecided. That’s a modest improvement for Democrats from August, when only 49% favored the Democratic candidate. Republican support dropped from 31% to 27%, but within the margin of error.
Republican support is highest among men (35%), older voters (31%), in the southern townships (45%), and among voters who say the city is headed in the wrong direction (54%). Democratic support is highest among women (62%), African-Americans (82%), college graduates (59%), and voters who feel the city is safer than a year ago (68%). Independents support Democrats by a 51% to 24% margin.
However, the ins and outs – or even the identities – of voters’ city-council members are still unknown to most voters, as only 38% of voters say they are very or somewhat familiar with their district member. This is a small increase from the 32% in August.
“As the election grows nearer, we’d expect more voters to be tuning in to local politics, but that has only barely been the case,” said Stephen Spiker, owner of Mason Strategies. “However, the small increase in familiarity is paired with a small increase in support for Democratic candidates, indicating that more Democrats are tuning in than Republicans.”
Familiarity is lower among Republicans (29%) and voters in the southern Townships (30%), and higher among men (41%) and African-American voters (44%). The lack of familiarity impacts their 2019, as only 38% say their own Councilor should be re-election and even fewer (25%) say they should be replaced. A full 37% are undecided or not sure.
In contrast to the re-election question, a majority of Indy voters say they approve of what the council is doing, with a 55% job approval – though only 13% “strongly” approve. Only 23% disapprove. This number mirrors feeling about the city, where 57% say Indianapolis is headed in the right direction and 28% say the city is off on the wrong track.
The current poll of 350 likely voters was conducted October 14-17 by Mason Strategies and has a margin of error of +/-5.2 percent.