Poll shows Hardie Davis leading Augusta mayor's race

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Hardie Davis is the frontrunner in the Augusta mayoral race, according to a poll conducted for The Augusta Chronicle.

Thirty-six percent of voters polled by Atlanta polling firm InsiderAdvantage said they plan to vote for the state senator in the May 20 election. Nearest to Davis was businesswoman Helen Blocker-Adams, who 16 percent of the 449 people polled said they’d vote for.

With 27 percent saying they were still undecided and a 4 percent margin of error, the poll results indicate Davis could win the five-way race outright, or head into a July runoff with Blocker-Adams, said InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery.

“When you see someone at 36 percent and 27 percent still outstanding,” Towery said, “those are pretty hefty numbers for one candidate to have.”

Conducted Thursday evening, the automated poll used landline phone numbers of a random sample of registered voters weighted by their expected turnout based on age, race and gender.

Augusta Commissioner Alvin Mason and retired businessman Charles Cummings tied with 8 percent. Lori Myles, a Richmond County school teacher, got 5 percent.

Davis polled well among black voters, with 49 percent, while Blocker-Adams performed best with white voters, garnering 34 percent to Davis’ 19 percent. Blocker-Adams saw only 4 percent support from black voters who comprise 51 percent of the voting-age population.

“I find that number of 4 percent very low and that is surprising, considering how much I’ve done in the community,” Blocker-Adams said. “We’ve always been considered the underdog; we’re just going to keep on fighting.”

Blocker-Adams said polling showed her in the single digits in 2005, when she garnered 23 percent of votes and narrowly missed a runoff in which Deke Copenhaver beat former interim mayor Willie Mays. Copenhaver, a thrice-elected mayor, is now term limited.

“It can change dramatically,” she said.

All the mayoral candidates are black in an election whose May 20 date, changed from November by the Georgia legislature, is the subject of a pending federal lawsuit with the potential to move the date. The lawsuit claims the date change diluted minority voting strength.

Davis also polled well among female voters, a group targeted by Blocker-Adams, who champions the idea of being Augusta’s first female mayor. He had 41 percent of the poll’s 233 females surveyed to Blocker-Adams’ 17 percent.

The InsideAdvantage poll results are “a testament to the work our team has done early on in assessing the electorate and decided who we needed to target,” Davis said.

Davis said he’ll step up efforts in coming days to increase support among younger voters, who backed Cummings, a former nightclub owner. Cummings garnered 38 percent of 50 polled voters ages 18-29, the most of any candidate. Blocker-Adams won over 32 percent and Davis had 30 percent.

“I think when young folks hear someone paying attention to their needs, they will reciprocate,” said Cummings, whose platform includes improving public transit and helping young people start businesses.

Myles said she expects voters who the poll didn’t reach to turn out for her.

“There a hidden turnout they will not see until May 20,” she said.

Mason did not return messages seeking comment.

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POLLS OPEN

• Advance voting continues this week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Augusta Municipal Building.

• Saturday voting will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the municipal building, Diamond Lakes Regional Park, Henry Brigham Community Center and Warren Road Community Center.

• Advance voting will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 12-16 at all four locations. After that, no more in-person voting will be available until election day May 20, when all polling places will be open.

EARLY VOTING

Some 625 of Augusta-Richmond County registered voters cast advance ballots in the May 20 general primary, special election for mayor and four contested commission seats and sales tax referendum last week.

According to a report from Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey, the weekly total included 487 casting a Democratic ballot, 123 voting Republican and 15 selecting the nonpartisan ballot.

According to the consolidated government’s voter statistics Web reports, 97,731 residents are registered to vote.

Mayor's Race Poll Results
Hardie Davis36 percent
Helen Blocker-Adams16 percent
Charles Cummings8 percent
Alvin Mason8 percent
Lori Myles5 percent
Undecided27 percent

*Telephone poll of 449 likely voters in the May 20 mayor election

Sales tax referendum poll

A poll on Augusta’s next sales tax referendum found supporters holding a lead, though lacking a majority and with many voters undecided.

The telephone poll of 449 likely voters conducted by InsiderAdvantage on Thursday found 42 percent in favor of the special purpose local option sales tax package and bond issue and 35 percent against, with a 4 percent margin of error. Twenty-three percent were undecided.

InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery said he chose words to use in the automated poll carefully – “a little bit of sweet and a little bit of sour” – because voters of every stripe generally have a tough time approving any tax.

The poll question, which mentioned funds for public safety, roads, bridges and economic development, found the most support among younger and white voters. Nearly half of those ages 18-44 supported the package, and 47 percent of white voters favored it. Only 31 percent of white voters opposed the sales tax extension and bond issue.

Among black voters, 38 percent supported the new 1 percent sales tax, which would replace the current tax in 2016. Thirty-nine percent were opposed.

Genderwise, male voters were more in favor of the sales tax package (46 percent) than female voters (38 percent).

InsiderAdvantage asked whether likely voters would vote for (yes) or against (no) the new special purpose local option sales tax package.

Yes 42 percent

No 35 percent

Undecided 23 percent

Comments (22) Add comment
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Riverman1
82428
Points
Riverman1 05/03/14 - 06:48 pm
4
1
I figured Davis would have a

I figured Davis would have a good lead. The big surprise is Mason so far back in the field tied with Cummings.

triscuit
2994
Points
triscuit 05/03/14 - 08:58 pm
6
3
Not buying it...at least the

Not buying it...at least the diff between Mason and Blocker-Adams

Butterman
3680
Points
Butterman 05/03/14 - 10:30 pm
8
3
Do not buy
Unpublished

this one bit.

bohica
308
Points
bohica 05/04/14 - 12:55 am
7
1
Why would a state senator

Why would a state senator give up his post to be the Mayor of this fine city is beyond me ? It must pay more or something.

seenitB4
85725
Points
seenitB4 05/04/14 - 08:37 am
6
3
Not buying this either

I do not believe that Mason is behind...this race will end up with Hardie/Mason .....a poll can be forced to slant anyway...we see that all the time.

Little Lamb
45331
Points
Little Lamb 05/04/14 - 08:37 am
2
1
Express

I guess those 15 persons selecting a non-partisan ballot were interested in getting into and out of the voting booth as quickly as possible.

Conservative Man
5447
Points
Conservative Man 05/04/14 - 09:43 am
1
4
449 land lines??

…Anyone dumb enough to still have a land line probably WOULD vote for Hardie..

prov227
3138
Points
prov227 05/04/14 - 09:48 am
2
1
Is it 27% undecided ...

or 27% "none of the above?"

...point to ponder
743
Points
...point to ponder 05/04/14 - 10:02 am
5
1
Mayor's race and SPLOST

I like Alvin Mason and Helen Blocker Adams...(*Davis was 'not responsive' to inquiries during his tenure as a representative...I doubt he'll change).

SPLOST....NO! poorly put together...lots of wasted (non-infrastructure) expenses. Let a NEW elected Mayor assist in this process for a November vote. (*no tax funds for a private school)

countyman
19731
Points
countyman 05/04/14 - 10:03 am
6
6
Augusta

''Why would a state senator give up his post to be the Mayor of this fine city is beyond me ? It must pay more or something.''

1. The Cyber Command is coming to Fort Gordon...
2. The industrial sector in South Augusta continues to grow(Starbucks, Rockwood, Augusta Renewable Energy, Palmetto Propane, etc)..
3. The commercial boom in North Richmond and West Augusta is on fire(outlet mall, whole foods, movie theater, cabelas, dsw, home goods, etc)..
4. The CBD and the entire urban core is being revitalized(Harrisburg, Laney Walker, Midtown, Olde Town, etc)..
5. The city of Augusta has the second fastest growing tech field in the state and ranked number 2 in the US between 2006-2011(12th between 2010-2011)...
6. Many new home expansions and estate homes popping up in/around Summerville..
7. The creative class, artsy, trendy, etc vibe picking up steam in the CBD..
8. The recent and future growth occurring at the local airport..
9. The ability to create new suburbs an exurbs in certain parts of the county(South Augusta near Hephzibah, Mcbean, Hephzibah, Blythe, and Southwest Augusta)..
10. The RCBOE can easily improve in the future and build new schools to support future growth..

beasyour
36
Points
beasyour 05/04/14 - 11:18 am
0
2
Looking at your Pie Chart, I see you left no room for Write in's

I think you will find the write in Candidate Turnbull Pursley will be making a dent in the Mayors election

gargoyle
16242
Points
gargoyle 05/04/14 - 11:31 am
1
1
Got the call And yes

Got the call
And yes Conservative Man we got all the lines covered Digital, Hard Line and Fax. Why would a person limit themselves and not use every opportunity available in a information age . They poll didn't mention the coffin nails in the SP LOST money package. Still undecided in the Mayors race with three culls.

Riverman1
82428
Points
Riverman1 05/04/14 - 11:35 am
0
0
This is about what I figured

This is about what I figured with Davis the big leader. It's surprising Al Mason is so far back. Maybe he better start being friends with Hardie.

Conservative Man
5447
Points
Conservative Man 05/04/14 - 01:19 pm
3
2
After receiving a bit of info….

…from a well connected friend familiar with such things, the company that conducted the poll is one of the two WORST in the state..

So I would be hesitant to believe its accuracy..

pja5529
1605
Points
pja5529 05/04/14 - 01:25 pm
3
2
I remember

I remember some commenting when the splost was first announced that it would probably win because blacks love to vote for taxes...guess they were wrong since the it has more support from whites.

Gage Creed
16773
Points
Gage Creed 05/04/14 - 01:52 pm
3
3
1. There are lot of cars on

1. There are lot of cars on Washington Road in the morning and in the afternoon.
2. If there is a train blocking 6th at Broad you will have to wait for the train to pass.
3. If any question arises with regard to Richmond County government, a study will be funded and someones crony will be compensated.
4. Someday the Sprint Metro Market will have the barrier on the Broad Street entrance removed.
5. Planes will land and depart BUSH FIELD.
6. Fire trucks will not be required to extinguish the "fires" in West Augusta.
7. Every April the economy of Augusta will experience a significant bump.
8. The date is now May the 4th 2014... People will try to infer that statistics from as much as 3 years ago are still significant.
9. The PR machine never tires of spending the taxpayers dollars.
10. Lists are FUN!

mosovich
768
Points
mosovich 05/04/14 - 07:34 pm
1
1
I disagree..

I really disagree with these polls.. I think they can move the election one way or the other.. Say your candidate was last in this poll.. It could make you decide not to go vote, when in fact if you knew nothing, you would go out and vote... OR, it could make one decide their candidate doesn't need their vote, so they decide not to vote therefore affecting the election..

Truth Matters
6631
Points
Truth Matters 05/04/14 - 07:38 pm
1
1
"Anyone dumb enough to still

"Anyone dumb enough to still have a land line probably WOULD vote for Hardie.."

Really?! A corded land line works during power outages. That was smart during the February ice storm.

Gage Creed
16773
Points
Gage Creed 05/04/14 - 08:29 pm
2
2
^ Really?... phone lines that

^ Really?... phone lines that come in on overhead wires? This technology works when the overhead wiring is snapped and lying in the street? Interesting....

GnipGnop
11892
Points
GnipGnop 05/04/14 - 08:44 pm
1
1
500 people

Out of 300000 is accurate for a poll? I believe it about as much as I believe Obama is a good president.

catfish20
250
Points
catfish20 05/04/14 - 09:25 pm
1
1
Believe it fellows...

Al-vin is toast...everyone even remotely considering financial support of Mr. Masson'....ah what's that sound ...oh yes it's checkbooks closing all across Augusta. The Pursley kid on the write in side could be a spoiler....heard he has deep pockets in Appling writing checks.....

I cannot wait to heard Mason's response to this poll...this is BAD news...Davis could win without a run-off in a 5 person field...

Little Lamb
45331
Points
Little Lamb 05/05/14 - 07:40 am
1
1
Runoff

You don't win without a runoff when you only have 36% of the vote.

Butterman
3680
Points
Butterman 05/05/14 - 02:10 pm
1
2
Matt Towery
Unpublished

Doesn't exactly have a great track record with polls.. especially with local races in Georgia. His firm is usually hired to crank out a skewed poll to show a particular candidate with a huge lead and other candidates with much less support than they actually have.This has the effect of getting voters to abandon ship of the candidate that they believe (from the poll) has no chance of winning.. when in actuality they are in runoff territory. Most people want to back a winner.It is no secret that The Chronicle is backing Davis and is Pro SPLOST. they commissioned this poll. Do not doubt for a minute that this was all devised as a propaganda trick to downplay Mason's numbers and inflate Hardie's I do not doubt that helen is in the 16% area.. but Mason in single digits? That is ridiculous. I would put Mason above 25% at least and making the runoff.

Also, automated polls relying solely on landline samples are notoriously unreliable. Sure there are folks who still have landlines.. but they are hardly representative of the population at large. I also question the SPLOST poll that showed it having the highest favorability among white male voters. That should bring the credibility of all of these polls into question. I still predict Mason and Hardie in the runoff and SPLOST fails.

Butterman
3680
Points
Butterman 05/05/14 - 02:19 pm
1
2
It's worth noting
Unpublished

That Insider Advantage is a Republican polling firm founded by Republican Matt Towery *who formerly served in the GA Legislature).. Towery notoriously overweights his polls with republican respondants. It is not secret that Republicans have been backing hardie davis since his first run for the GA Senate.

Butterman
3680
Points
Butterman 05/05/14 - 02:26 pm
1
2
Cummings
Unpublished

polling the best among younger voters? This guy is a fringe candidate at best. He gets 3% of the vote.. max. It should be obvious what this poll was designed to do. Do not buy it. And why all of a sudden a mayoral poll? When has there ever been a media sponsored mayoral poll? I do not ever remember one (though I believe individual campaigns commissioned their own inside polls). This is a farce people and it is nothing but an extension of the Chronicle/Hardie Davis/Pro SPLOST propaganda machine

Conservative Man
5447
Points
Conservative Man 05/05/14 - 05:59 pm
0
0
I'll reiterate….

…that the polling is skewed…PLUS look who paid for the poll…the daily of record that will NEVER back Alvin Mason…so again I call shenanigans on this poll...

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