Stories indexed with the term ‘polls’

Primary Election Day: Aug. 5, 2014

As we have for the past few years, The Chronicle will be touring Ann Arbor polling stations on Election Day and providing updates throughout the day. Polls are open today from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

At 6:30 a.m. the  lawn outside the Slauson Middle School polls was bristling with campaign yard signs just outside the 100-foot limit.

At 6:30 a.m. the lawn outside the Slauson Middle School polls was bristling with campaign yard signs just outside the 100-foot limit.

City of Ann Arbor voters will have a choice of four candidates for mayor in the Democratic primary, all of whom are current members of the city council: Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Sally Petersen (Ward 2), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3).

The Democratic primary also offers voters actively contested races in three of five wards.  The Ward 1 race features one-term incumbent Sumi Kailasapathy and Don Adams. The Ward 2 city council race features Kirk Westphal and Nancy Kaplan. This year’s Ward 3 contest features Julie GrandBob Dascola and Samuel McMullen, who are all competing for the seat that Christopher Taylor is leaving in order to run for mayor.

There are no contested Republican primaries for any of city offices. The winner of the Democratic mayoral primary will face independent Bryan Kelly  in the fall.

For for the countywide judicial races, which are non-partisan, voters have a choice of three candidates for circuit court judge: Pat ConlinVeronique Liem and Michael Woodyard. For probate judge, voters have a choice of five candidates: Jane BassettTamara GarwoodConstance JonesTracy Van den Bergh and recently appointed judge Julia Owdziej. In each of those races the top two vote getters will advance to the November general election.

Not sure where to vote? To find your polling place and view a sample ballot for your precinct, visit the Secretary of State’s website.

Below is a timestamped log of The Chronicle’s observations from the field as we tour the polls. A dynamic map is also provided so that readers can track our progress geographically.

A comment thread is open, so that readers can log their own observations made during their visit to the polls.  [Full Story]

Poll: Clear Favorite for Ann Arbor Mayor

From July 28-29, several Ann Arbor residents reported being polled by telephone about their preferences in the upcoming Democratic mayoral primary election. The Chronicle has obtained the results of that poll of 435 likely voters by Public Policy Polling (PPP), a North Carolina polling firm.

July 28-29, 2014 Survey of 435 likely Democratic primary voters by Public Policy Polling. <strong>Top Chart among all voters:</strong> Christopher Taylor (39%); Sabra Briere (19%); Stephen Kunselman (15%); Sally Petersen (13%); Undecided (15%).  <strong>Bottom Chart (if the election were conducted among those who disapproved of current mayor John Hieftje's performance)</strong>: Christopher Taylor (19%); Sabra Briere (19%); Stephen Kunselman (32%); Sally Petersen (20%); Undecided (9%).

July 28-29, 2014 survey of 435 likely Democratic primary voters by Public Policy Polling. Top Chart among all voters: Christopher Taylor (39%); Sabra Briere (19%); Stephen Kunselman (15%); Sally Petersen (13%); Undecided (15%). Bottom Chart (if the election were conducted among those who disapproved of current mayor John Hieftje’s performance): Christopher Taylor (19%); Sabra Briere (19%); Stephen Kunselman (32%); Sally Petersen (20%); Undecided (9%).

They show Ward 3 councilmember Christopher Taylor to be a clear favorite, with about a week to go before the Aug. 5, 2014 primary. Taylor polled at 39% compared to 19% for Ward 1 councilmember Sabra Briere.

Ward 3 councilmember Stephen Kunselman and Ward 2 councilmember Sally Petersen polled a few points behind Briere at 15% and 13% respectively.

The poll indicates that 15% of voters still haven’t made up their minds. Margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 4.7%.

The relatively large four-candidate field is attributable to the fact that no incumbent is in the race.

Kunselman was the first of the four candidates to declare his candidacy – before mayor John Hieftje announced last year he would not be seeking reelection to an eighth two-year term.

The PPP poll also asked respondents if they approved of the job that Hieftje was doing as mayor.

One of the patterns revealed in the analysis of the poll responses is that Kunselman would be a 12-point favorite if the election were held just among those voters who disapproved of Hieftje’s performance. But the poll indicated that only 27% of Ann Arbor voters disapproved of Hieftje’s performance.

A polling question that asked about favorable or unfavorable opinions of candidates – independently of an inclination to vote for them – showed Kunselman polling with the highest unfavorable opinion numbers, at 36%. But the “not sure” category for that question polled fairly high across all candidates, ranging from 29% to 43%.

The poll also included two questions about future growth – one about downtown development, and the other about the need for an improved train station. The poll indicated 46% support for the downtown projects that have been approved and built in recent years and 39% opposition. The need for a new train station polled at 52%, while the alternate view – that the current station is adequate – polled at 35%.

The content of the poll – which evinces some knowledge by its creator of the Ann Arbor political landscape – was not commissioned by The Chronicle or by any of the four mayoral campaigns. Tom Jensen grew up in Ann Arbor and is now director at Public Policy Polling, a firm based in Raleigh, North Carolina. But Jensen still follows Ann Arbor politics. It was Jensen who put the poll together – out of his own interest. And it was Jensen’s voice that was used in the interactive voice response (IVR) technology deployment of the Ann Arbor mayoral poll.

The poll drew as a sample all those who’d participated in any primary election (Democratic or Republican) since 2006. Poll respondents included 32% Republican or other non-Democratic affiliation.

In a telephone interview, Jensen stressed that any poll result should be viewed with a lot of caution, especially with local elections. “I would definitely, as a pollster, encourage people to take caution in over-interpreting one poll of a low-turnout race in the middle of the summer. You’re definitely prone to more error.”

But based on the results of this poll, he said he was 99% confident that Taylor was going to be the next mayor of Ann Arbor.

Additional charts and some additional background on the polling methodology are presented below. [Full Story]

Column: Paying Attention at the Polls

The way we see the world depends a lot on what we’re watching – either intentionally or what’s jammed in front of our faces. I spent the early part of my journalism career as a business reporter and editor, watching intentionally the issues specific to the business community. I didn’t pay much attention to local government issues, unless their intersection with business put them right under my nose.

Sign at Scarlett Middle School polling station

A sign at Scarlett Middle School polling station for the Aug. 2, 2011 Ann Arbor city council primary election. (Photos by the writer.)

Over the years, my worldview changed. We founded The Chronicle in part because we felt that our local government deserves more media coverage on an intentional, routine basis, not just when a perceived “scandal” surfaces.

So Chronicle coverage routinely includes details of how local government bureaucracy works, what decisions are being made, who’s making them and why, and how taxpayer money is being spent.

Unlike decisions made at the national level, it’s conceivable in a community the size of Ann Arbor – or even the whole of Washtenaw County – for individuals to understand and influence what happens here, especially if they’re armed with information.

In November 2008, after its launch a couple of months earlier, The Chronicle covered its first election. The presidential race between Obama and McCain sparked passion and drew crowds to the polls in Ann Arbor, most of them voting for Barack Obama.

I was reminded of that exhilarating night this last Tuesday, when I spent much of the day dropping in on polling sites in Ann Arbor’s primary elections for city council in Wards 2, 3 and 5.

Last Tuesday, I didn’t see much passion and there were no crowds. No lines at the polls, no dancing in the streets. It didn’t feel like many people were paying attention. [Full Story]