OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — With less than two months until Election Day, a new poll has found city councilmember Rebecca Kaplan with a commanding lead over incumbent Jean Quan in the race for Oakland mayor.
“Frankly, it’s a wider margin than I expected to see,” said Jason Overman, campaign manager for Kaplan.
In the poll from the Jobs and Housing Coalition, Kaplan came in first with 61 percent of the votes. Quan is a distant second, with 39 percent of the vote. Seven out of 10 voters said Quan should be replaced.
“But it’s really a deceptive blowout,” said Gregory McConnell, president of the nonprofit coalition, which does not endorse a candidate.
McConnell broke down the numbers for KPIX 5. They show Kaplan beating Quan by single digits in all but the final rounds of ranked-choice voting. As the field narrowed, voters rallied behind Kaplan and not Quan.
“She had the most number of number 1 votes, but also of number 2 and number 3 as well, and so you see a strong lead, both among the first-place votes, but also in the final ranked-choice tally,” Overman said.
The campaign manager said it’s all part of Kaplan’s strategy. “We’re certainly going to be asking for first choice votes and second and third choice votes as well,” he said.
It’s a strategy and style of voting that can be confusing. Oakland resident Nancy McClure worries it could throw voters off.
“What many voters don’t realize is that actually can, in some ways, split their vote. So I’m not sure they’re aware that might promote their second choice higher than their first choice,” McClure said.
McConnell said that leaves the race wide open. “I’ve heard that some in Kaplan’s office are doing the victory celebration. That would be a huge mistake,” he said.
“We’re encouraged but we’re not resting. We’re gonna keep working hard,” Overman said.
KPIX 5 reached out to Mayor Quan to see what she thinks of the new poll, but she didn’t return our call as of Wednesday night.