Councilwoman Mary Norwood has carved out a commanding lead in the race for Atlanta mayor, but the No. 2 spot in what’s likely to be a runoff for the city's top job is up for grabs, according to an 11Alive poll released Wednesday.
The poll conducted by SurveyUSA has Norwood, the runner-up in the 2009 mayor’s race, with about 27 percent of the vote - more than double her closest competitor in the crowded field.
She’s followed by a jumble of candidates all within the margin of error: City Council President Ceasar Mitchell is at 10 percent, Councilmembers Keisha Lance Bottoms and Kwanza Hall are both at 9 percent, state Sen. Vincent Fort is at 8 percent and former Atlanta chief operating officer Peter Aman and ex-City Council President Cathy Woolard each notched 6 percent.
Trailing behind is Fulton County Commission chair John Eaves, a late entrant into the race, at 4 percent. The rest of the candidates logged less than 1 percent. A whopping 20 percent remain undecided.
The poll is the latest to show Norwood in pole position for one of the two runoff spots. A WSB poll released in March showed her with roughly the same level of support. And many of the other candidates are already game-planning a potential runoff against her.
A deeper dive into the crosstabs shows why: She led the field among both white and black voters. She tallied nearly 40 percent support of voters 65 and older – the most likely bloc to vote. And she held a slim majority of Republican voters, along with nearly a quarter of Democrats and independents.
She even leads the pack among voters who say they’re either “very liberal” or “very conservative.”
Norwood’s top critics – Aman has been one of the more aggressive – hope to take the wind out of her sails ahead of the November vote. His campaign sent out a memo arguing that he is “just starting to emerge” thanks to a new marketing push and strong fundraising. He reported the most cash-on-hand of any candidates.
Other contenders are planning elbows-out campaigns for that No. 2 spot by plunking each other. Mitchell and Bottoms are neck-and-neck for second place among black voters and those older than 50. Hall is tied with Norwood in the younger set – voters 18-34 – and Fort and Woolard are in striking distance.
A final note: Of the one-fifth of voters who are undecided, a majority defines themselves as middle-of-the-road – ranging from somewhat conservative to somewhat liberal - on the political spectrum.