Mayor's Poll Shows Swearengin Pulling Ahead

October 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Ashley Swearengin appears to be increasing her lead over Henry T. Perea in the Fresno Mayor's race. An exclusive Action News poll conducted by SurveyUSA shows Swearengin with a five-point lead over Perea with less than three weeks until election day.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If the election for Fresno mayor were today, and you were standing in the voting booth right now, who would you vote for? (names rotated) Henry T. Perea? Or Ashley Swearengin?
43% Henry T. Perea
48% Ashley Swearengin
9% Undecided
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The election is just under three weeks away and Ashley Swearengin appears to be widening her lead for Fresno Mayor. The latest exclusive Action News Poll conducted by SurveyUSA shows 48 percent would vote for Swearengin, 43 percent would vote for Perea and 9-percent are still undecided.

The poll questioned 674 likely Fresno voters.

The poll results have not changed too dramatically since our last poll three weeks ago and one political expert said the presidential election has a lot to do with that.

For Ashley Swearengin, a five-percent lead in the latest Action News Poll, means voters are getting her message. "Our campaign continues to gain momentum-- and we're reaching out to voters... And shows people are really looking for an outsider. They want somebody who's got professional experience outside of politics and I think that is starting to show in the polls."

Though he's fallen behind, Henry T. Perea is not discouraged by the numbers. Perea wasn't available to comment on camera, but issued a statement saying, "The polls show the race is still close and we will continue to work hard until the very end."

Political expert Tony Capozzi said the relatively small change in numbers since the last poll three weeks ago is an indication Valley voters are thinking more about the economy and the presidential election. "That is what people are focusing on-- in the economy, in the problems they are having day to day-- not the mayor's race, because the mayor's race doesn't affect their pocketbook."

That could all change soon, in the weeks right before the election when candidates normally hit the airwaves increase their negative campaigning.

"Although people say they don't like those, they really do have a negative effect on every election," said Capozzi.

"My intention is not to take down my opponent, it's to show that I am the best candidate for the job," said Swearengin.

But Capozzi said actually getting voters to the polls may be the bigger challenge. If the Presidential race is decided early on Election Day, Valley voters may simply stay home. "California is a foregone conclusion. Obama is going to win California, he is ahead by 20 points or more in the state polls, so I don't know if people are going to get out and vote on Election Day."

Both Swearengin and Perea plan to launch their television campaigns early next week. Tony Capozzi said you can expect a majority of those to be attack ads.

Action News wants to give you a chance to ask Swearengin and Perea about the issues and challenges facing the city. Go to ABC30.com and fill out the online form on the front page. We may use your question in a special program with the mayoral candidates airing Sunday, October 26th on ABC30.



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