A new poll from the local Republican Party shows former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and Councilman Kevin Faulconer in a tight race for the San Diego mayor's seat.
The poll, which surveyed 504 likely special election voters, found Fletcher with 27 percent of the vote and Faulconer with 26 percent of voters. Councilman David Alvarez had 13 percent of the vote before respondents had been given any information about any of the candidates.
The results show a sharp contrast from last week's 10 News/U-T San Diego poll, which pegged Fletcher as the clear front-runner 8 points ahead of Faulconer.
Of those polled by Competitive Edge, 36 percent of the sample were Republicans, 40 percent were Democrats, and the rest were decline-to-state voters.
An internal memo from John Nienstedt about the poll was obtained by NBC7 Investigates.
The poll also revealed a sharp drop in the anticipated number of voters expected to turn-out in the Nov. 19 special election. The firm predicted 35 percent to 40 percent of the city's registered voters will turn out. About 44 percent of registered voters came to the polls or mailed in a ballot during a July 2005 special election.
Turnout is expected to be a huge factor in the mayor's race with mail-in ballots going out in a little more than two weeks. Currently, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 270,044 to 181,226. Independents outnumber Republicans with about 188,838 voters registered as decline-to-state.
After respondents were read biographical sketches of the three main candidates and several positive and negative statements about each, people supporting Faulconer jumped to 34 percent, Alvarez moved to second place with 22 percent of the vote and Fletcher trailed with 20 percent. The poll gave significantly more positive statements about Faulconer than the other candidates and one less negative statement about Alvarez.
"These are great numbers for Kevin, and we are not surprised by them at all," said Tony Manolatos, campaign spokesman for Faulconer. "We fully expect as more San Diegans get to know Kevin Faulconer, his poll numbers are going to continue to increase."