The Drago Poll

By Josh Feit May 13, 2009

PubliCola got its hands on the results of a poll that Seattle City Council Member Jan Drago did to test her chances of running against Greg Nickels. 

The poll—a robo poll—done between May 3 and 5th (with a 3.3 percent margin of error)—found:

•70 percent of voters have a negative impression of Greg Nickels

•Nickels approval rating is in Bush-Land: 23 percent

•If the election were held today only 15 percent of voters would vote to re-elect Nickels, 43 percent would "definitely" vote to replace Nickels, and 36 percent would consider someone else

•36 percent of Nickels' own supporters are interested in considering someone else

And the finally, Drago vs. Nickels? She's up 45 to 24. drago


Nickels' campaign spokesman Sandeep Kaushik responded to Jan's good numbers and Nickels bad numbers by pointing out that Drago's head-to-head advantage over Nickels only came after voters were given a series of positive soundbites about Drago: She has a  background as a small business owner—she owned a Haagen Dazs shop; she'd be the first female mayor in 80 years;  she led the campaign for off-leash areas; she has a strong record on downtown revitalization.

"And she doesn't even get to 50 percent [of the vote]," Kaushik says. 

Kaushik also wonders why the poll memo doesn't show how Drago would do against any of the other contenders. The fact that the pollster didn't include those numbers in the memo suggests that Drago didn't do so well, Kaushik says. 

All valid points. But what does Team Nickels make of the mayor's abysmal numbers in their own right, Drago aside? The lowly 23 percent approval rating, for example.

"There's been a run of negative press about the mayor," Kaushik says, presumably referring to the snowpocalypse and the volatile issues about racial discrimination in the transportation department.

Kaushik says Nickels numbers will improve as the campaign continues and voters are reminded of Nickels "record of accomplishment" on public safety, transportation, and infrastructure improvements. Kaushik cites things like bringing on 150 new cops, filling 400,000 potholes, and finally reaching a solution on the Viaduct.

Could be. But I also talked to Jan Drago this afternoon who said the poll shows, "there's an intense dislike for this mayor." She says Nickels' 15 percent re-elect number may be insurmountable.

"Paul Schell was at 17 percent in May, 2001," Drago says, remembering that she polled Mayor Schell's election chances that year. Her pollsters reaction at the time: "He's a dead man walking."

Schell lost in the 2001 primary to then-City Attorney Mark Sidran and King County Council Member Greg Nickels. 

[Full disclosure: Sandeep Kaushik is a co-founder of PubliCola.]
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