CLEVELAND — According to a poll of likely Cleveland mayoral primary voters, Dennis Kucinich is the front-runner for the Sept. 14 election with 20% of the vote, followed by a tight pack of contenders for the second spot in the November General Election.
Kevin Kelley garnered 13% of the vote in the poll, Zack Reed and Justin Bibb each got 12%, followed by Basheer Jones with 11%, Sandra Williams with 8% and Ross DiBello with 1%. Twenty-one percent of those polled responded that they were not sure for whom they would vote.
The poll was commissioned by North Shore AFL-CIO and conducted by public opinion poll company Change Research among 451 likely mayoral primary voters.
The poll found that Kucinich had broad support among men and women, Democrats and independents, those with and without a college degree, and most age groups, with the exception of 35 to 49-year-olds, who favored Jones.
Kucinich, who was already mayor from 1977 to 1979, and at 31 was dubbed the "boy mayor" of Cleveland, also had the highest name recognition – 96% of respondents knew who he is, and he had a net positive favorability rating among the voters polled: 42% viewed him favorably, 38% did not.
Bibb was the only other candidate with a net-positive favorability rating.
Among Black voters, Jones and Reed were the top candidates, with a statistically-tied 20% and 19% of the vote, respectively. Jones and Kucinich were the top second choice in that demographic.
The poll also found that 86% of respondents believe the Cleveland city government “is not working well and needs a major overhaul to make it more transparent and responsive to the needs of the city,” as opposed to “Working fine and needs only some small adjustments.”
The top issue for voters was overwhelmingly, “Reducing crime and keeping our communities safe,” with 62% of those polled choosing it as one of their top three issues. Other top issues included: “Managing the city and its budget effectively,” “Law enforcement issues such as profiling and excessive use of force,” “Recovery of Cleveland’s economy and bringing back jobs that we lost due to the coronavirus,” and “Improving public schools.”
Polling found that Cleveland voters are highly engaged in this election, with 81% of respondents indicating they will definitely vote in the Sept. 14 primary, and 85% saying they follow Cleveland politics at least somewhat closely.