A new KING5/SurveyUSA poll shows Mayor Mike McGinn could be in trouble.
In a hypothetical nine-way race between McGinn and his current seven opponents, plus former King County executive Ron Sims, McGinn tied with Sims at 15 percent after "undecided," which polled at 34 percent.
McGinn and Sims, who hasn't declared but is rumored to be thinking about it, were followed by city council member Tim Burgess (10 percent), state Sen. Ed Murray (9 percent) former council member Peter Steinbrueck (7 percent), city council member Bruce Harrell (5 percent), Greenwood activist Kate Martin (3 percent), and real-estate investor Charlie Staadecker (1 percent). David Ishii ranked last at 0 percent.
KING 5 also asked 96 voters who said they would vote for Sims who they'd vote for if Sims didn't get into the race. In that lineup, McGinn came in on top at 26 percent, followed by "undecided" (24 percent), Steinbrueck (18 percent), Burgess (9 percent), Harrell (8 percent), Murray (8 percent), Martin (6 percent), Ishii (1 percent) and Staadecker (0 percent).
Moreover, most voters have an opinion of McGinn already—in a 2012 poll, a majority of respondents said they disapproved of his job performance, and just 18 percent were undecided.
The caveat to that, of course, is that there are more serious candidates (and big names) this year than 2009, when Nickels' biggest-name challengers were the fairly obscure McGinn and Joe Mallahan, plus former city council member Jan Drago. McGinn could conceivably split the field of big challengers, make it through to the general, and run a nimble campaign against his challenger, whether that challenger ended up being Sims, Steinbrueck, Burgess, or Murray.
Those numbers also suggest a number of other things.
First, if Sims gets into the mayor's race, he'll be formidable, with as much support, after four years out of office, as the sitting mayor.
Second, if Sims doesn't get into the mayor's race, that primarily benefits Steinbrueck, whose margin jumps from 7 to 18 percent among Sims voters if Sims doesn't get in the race.
Third, these are bad numbers for Ed Murray. Seven to eight percent is marginal territory—and suggests that, despite his popularity among political insiders, he isn't well known outside his own state senate district, which makes up about a quarter of the city.
The margin of error in the main poll, which included Sims, was 3.9 percent. The margin of error in the poll of just Sims voters was 10.2 percent.
1. McGinn: At least he came in first?
2. Burgess: At least he did better than Harrell?
3. Harrell: At least he did better than Kate Martin?
4. Sims: Time to get in the race.
5. Murray: Time to start hitting doors outside the 43rd.
6. Steinbrueck: Better hope Sims doesn't get in the race.