.Polling for City Council Race

Though many are undecided, favorites are emerging in the San Jose City Council races

Every month, the San Jose Inside Power Poll asks questions of influential people with a wide range of viewpoints to help advance informed dialog about the city. In April, poll results show that an overwhelming majority of respondents believe that San Jose should employ substantially more police officers than it does today. Those surveyed were less uniform in their choice of candidates in the upcoming San Jose City Council races.

Not surprisingly, poll participants support Mayor Sam Liccardo’s proposal to add dozens of new officers to the police force while backing the notion that the city’s relatively low police staffing levels should be closer to the national average.

And yet, more than three out of four poll participants also believe that police duties that do not require deadly force should be outsourced to civilians, and that other reforms should be put in place before the city begins hiring new officers.

Regarding the forthcoming June election in four contested San Jose City Council seats, incumbent District 7 Councilmember Maya Esparza has a comfortable lead over two opponents, and county education trustee Rosemary Kamei leads her two District 1 opponents, with several candidates each looking competitive in the District 3 and 5 races. However, large numbers of respondents don’t yet have a preference in the races.

The question posed in the poll: “If the San Jose City Council election were held today, whom would you support from among this list of candidates?”

District 1 Responses:

I don’t yet have an opinion—44%

Rosemary Kamei, education trustee, former planning commissioner and water board member—40%

Ramona Arellano Snyder, ambassadors program manager and community volunteer—12%

Tim Gildersleeve, paratransit operator—4%

District 3 Responses:

I don’t yet have an opinion—44%

Omar Torres, Evergreen Community College board member and neighborhood organizer—22%

Joanna Rauh, assistant general counsel at Deloitte—18%

Irene Smith, small-business owner—12%

Elizabeth Chien-Hale, teacher/mother/attorney—2%

Ivan Torres, healthcare worker and political organizer—2%

District 5 responses:

I don’t yet have an opinion—36%

Andrés Quinteros, Evergreen Valley College professor and Alum Rock School District board member—22%

Rolando Bonilla, business owner/father—20%

Nora Campos, former council member and legislator—8%

Peter Ortiz, Santa Clara County Board of Education member—8%

HG “Hanh Gaio” Nguyen, small-business woman—6%

District 7 responses

Maya Esparza, incumbent District 7 council member—42%

I don’t yet have an opinion—30%

Bien Doan, fire captain/parent—20%

Van Le, businesswoman and East Side Union High School District trustee—8%

Analysis of Data

When asked their opinion of the candidates for city council Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7, between 30 and 44 percent of respondents had not yet formed an opinion.

Still, it’s not too early for incumbent District 7 Councilmember Esparza and District 1 candidate Kamei to feel good about their positions, with each receiving 40 percent or more of voters’ support.

Esparza’s closest competitor, fire captain Doan, received less than half her support. Kamei outpolled her closest competitor by more than three to one.

The races in Districts 3 and 5 look to be more wide-open. Three District 3 candidates—Omar Torres, Rauh and Smith—polled within 10% support of one another, and two District 5 candidates—Quinteros and Bonilla—were almost neck and neck.

It should be noted that members of our citywide panel can only each vote in a single council district, but our participants have an outsized influence when it comes to endorsements and campaign contributions.

San Jose Inside Power Poll is not a scientific poll, but it is designed to be studiously non-partisan.

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