The first independent poll of the 2011 Mayor’s race shows Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard with an 11-point lead over Democratic Challenger Melina Kennedy, but a significant number of voters are still undecided.
The poll of 400 likely voters conducted for WISH-TV by the polling firm of EPIC·MRA, shows Ballard with 44% of the vote and Kennedy with 33%. Libertarian Chris Bowen was at about 2%.
In addition the survey was made up of 47% Democrats, 36% Republicans and 24% minority with 22 % being African-American.
According WISH-TV’s website, EPIC·MRA polls are regularly cited by national news and media outlets and have been featured on CNN, World News Tonight, Nightline, and National Public Radio.
In the 2010 U.S. Senate race between Republican Dan Coats and Democrat Brad Ellsworth, an EPIC-MRA survey three weeks before the election had Coats winning 53-35. Coats won 56-38 percent over Ellsworth with Libertarian Rebecca Sink Burris getting 5.4 percent of the vote.
Up to this point, both the Ballard and Kennedy campaigns have cited their own internal polling. Ballard’s camp says it was leading 51-39 in the race over Kennedy.. Kennedy points to Marion County Democratic poll taken September 23 which shows the race virtually tied with her leading 40-38 with 21 percent undecided.
The silver lining for Kennedy is the polls also show Kennedy leading amongst those who have already voted 44-30.
The poll also showed 65% of the voters viewed Ballard favorably and he had 62% job approval rating. A majority of voters, 55%, thought the city was going in the right direction compared to just 33% who thought it was going in the wrong direction.
Traditionally undecided voters break for the challenger by a 2-to-1 margin, which means 14% of the undecided voters would likely go to Kennedy while 7% would go to Ballard. However that means Ballard would win the Mayor’s race 51-47, based on these poll results.