Oct 25, 2021 - News

Atlanta mayor's race polling shows sprint to the finish

Atlanta's top mayoral candidates

(Left to right): Kasim Reed, Felicia Moore, Andre Dickens, Sharon Gay, Antonio Brown. Photo: Getty Images via Campaigns

This week marks the final days of early voting in Atlanta’s municipal election, and more than a dozen candidates are making their final push to win over voters.

State of play: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday released its final poll ahead of Election Day. It shows City Council President Felicia Moore and former Mayor Kasim Reed in a statistical tie, plus a lot of people who haven’t made up their mind.

Why it matters: There’s been little independent, reliable polling on this race (11 Alive’s being another).

The political prediction market odds mirror this poll’s results.

By the topline numbers:

  • Undecided: 41.4% (!!)
  • Felicia Moore: 23.8%
  • Kasim Reed: 20.4%
  • Andre Dickens: 6.2%
  • Sharon Gay: 4.3%
  • Antonio Brown: 2.4%

Nearly 50% of respondents had an unfavorable impression of Kasim Reed, according to the poll, which blows the unfavorable rates of any other candidate out of the water. (779 likely voters were polled by UGA with a +/-3.5 point margin of error.)

What they’re saying:

“Kasim Reed should be shocked — and is probably scratching his head — he's not crushing it in the polls by now. He certainly doesn't look anything like invincible, if we buy the AJC poll results, or even the 11 Alive poll results.”
Michael Leo Owens, political scientist at Emory University

Reality check: Polls, as we know, are only one snapshot in time of one group of people.

  • The Andre Dickens campaign took issue with the poll’s methodology, including that the sample population was only 42% Black and more than half reported an income over $75,000.
  • Atlanta’s population is 51% Black, and the median household income is $60,000.

Bottom line: A runoff seems all but certain, per usual for an Atlanta mayoral election (especially one with 15 candidates). This poll suggests Reed and Moore are headed for it.

Yes, but, as Tammy Greer, political scientist at Clark Atlanta University reminds us:

“Four years ago did it seem that Keisha Lance Bottoms was going to win? The obvious choice four years ago was former City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. I would not count out anyone in the race, because according to this poll you have 41% who say that they’re unsure.”

Our thought bubble: This is the last week of early voting, Atlanta!

  • Double-check your voter registration and polling place and download a sample ballot here. And please go vote.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to state that nearly 16,000 people (not 18,000 people) have already voted in Atlanta's municipal elections.


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