Mayoral Poll results: Brown leads, but race is too close to call

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Results of a poll completed by the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics have been released.

News release:

Brown Leads, but Race Is Too Close To Call

Among 470 likely Fort Wayne Republican primary voters, Liz Brown has a 6-point lead over Paula Hughes (41% to 35%) in a poll with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 points, making it the narrowest of leads for Brown. Eric Doden has 15% and Fred Osheskie has 2%. Terrance Walker has less than 1%. Just over 7% were undecided (7.5%).

Note: Some of the columns or rows in the tables in this release may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

How Strong Is the Support?

Among the respondents who supported a candidate, 28% said that their support was not strong and 17% said they were not sure how strong their support was, which suggests there could be significant movement before Election Day. Hughes has the highest percentage of supporters who say they support the candidate strongly (61%) followed closely by Brown (57%) and Doden (52%). Just over 25% of Brown’s supporters are not sure how strongly they support her, which feeds the interpretation that there could be quite a bit of movement in the closing days of the campaign.


Brown has a commanding lead among males (Brown 44%; Hughes 31%; Doden 15%), but that lead all but evaporates among females (Brown 39%; Hughes 38%; Doden 14%).


In the last three Fort Wayne Republican mayoral primaries, approximately 25% to 35% of the voters were 65 or older. In the last two primaries, less than one-third of the voters were 18-49 years old. Brown enjoys comfortable leads among respondents who are 18-34 (20-point lead) and 35-49 years old (22-point lead). Hughes gains ground with respondents who are 50-64, closing the gap to 9 points. Hughes enjoys a 10-point lead among respondents who are 65 and older.

Attending Church Services

Just over 50% of the respondents who said they supported a candidate said that they attended church services every week. Brown has a small lead among these voters (Brown 43%; Doden 11%; Hughes 38%).

Tea Party Movement

This poll used two questions to gauge support for the Tea Party Movement. The first asked if the respondent’s opinion of the Tea Party Movement was favorable, unfavorable, neutral, or if they had no opinion of the movement. The second asked if they identified with the Tea Party Movement. The second question demonstrates a larger commitment to the Tea Party Movement. Although the Mike Downs Center has not asked these questions exclusively in Fort Wayne before, they were asked of likely Republican primary voters in the third congressional district in April 2010. At that time 69% of the respondents had a favorable opinion of the Tea Party Movement and 49% identified with the Tea Party Movement. In April of 2011 in Fort Wayne, 56% of the respondents had a favorable opinion of the Tea Party Movement and 41% identified with the Tea Party Movement.

Brown and Hughes are in a dead heat among respondents who have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party Movement (Brown 37%; Doden 17%; Hughes 38%). Eighteen percent of the respondents had a neutral opinion of the Tea Party Movement. Brown has a sizable lead among these respondents (Brown 47%; Doden 12%; Hughes 29%).

Brown has a lead among the respondents who said they identified with the Tea Party Movement (Brown 43%; Doden 17%; Hughes 32%). That lead all but disappears among respondents who said they did not identify with the Tea Party Movement (Brown 39%; Doden 13%; Hughes 37%).

Where Are We Going?

Respondents were asked if they thought Fort Wayne was heading in the right direction or if it had gotten off on the wrong track. Forty-one percent of the respondents thought that things were headed in the right direction and 41% thought that things had gotten off on the wrong track. Brown leads among respondents who think things are headed in the right direction (Brown 42%; Doden 16%; Hughes 30%). Hughes leads among respondents who think things have gotten off on the wrong track (Brown 40%; Doden 14%; Hughes 42%).


Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics

The Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics is a non-partisan organization that helps the people of Indiana understand the role of politics and government in their daily lives. By doing this The Mike Downs Center hopes to encourage participation in political and public processes the same way its namesake, Dr. Michael C. Downs, did for more than 34 years. The Mike Downs Center is located on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).

Statement of Methodology

The Center for Social Research at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) interviewed a random sample of 621 registered voters in the Fort Wayne area on April 18th, 2011 through April 23rd, 2011.  The names of the registered voters were obtained from a sampling frame that was purchased from Haines and Company, Inc.  Among the 621 registered voters who were contacted, 482 were determined to be likely to vote in the upcoming primary election on May 3rd, 2011.

The margin of error associated with the 482 completed interviews of likely voters is 4.55 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.  This means that with a sample of 482 valid surveys of likely voters, it can be said that if the survey was repeated 100 times, in 95 out of the 100 times, the research findings would, at most, vary by plus or minus 4.55 percent.

Where necessary, responses were weighted according to the voter registration database provided by the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics.

It should be noted that there are several possible sources of error that may influence the results of this survey beyond the aforementioned sampling error. These include self-selection out of the survey (i.e., refusing to be interviewed, refusing to answer a call from an unknown phone number), question phrasing, question ordering, the tone conveyed by a questioner, alteration of the data via weighting procedures, and the manner in which respondents were filtered out (for example, determining who is a likely voter).  Error that may result from these factors should be kept in mind when reviewing the results of this survey.

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  1. […] people would denigrate Paula’s chances in this race, particularly in the later stages and especially after a very flawed poll about the race was released. I’d always ask these detractors for something tangible they could hang their hat on, but it […]


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