Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Dixon, Young top early list of mayoral contenders in new poll

Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, now marketing director for the Maryland Minority Contractors Association, says many of those businesses still struggle to raise capital. (File Photo)

Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon still enjoys strong support among city voters despite her resignation from office following an ethics scandal. (File Photo)

The campaign to become the next mayor of Baltimore is wide open, with one former mayor holding an early but slim advantage according to a poll released Wednesday.

The poll by Annapolis-based Gonzales Research and Media Services suggests, however, that residents of “Charm City” are dissatisfied with crime and education in their city. The incoming mayor — whoever it is — will face significant challenges.

“The bottom line is: Whoever tells you they know who the next mayor is going to be at this stage is just pulling your leg,” said pollster Patrick Gonzales.

The survey polled 329 registered voters in Baltimore who said they were likely to vote in 2020 as part of a larger statewide poll conducted April 29 through May 1. The poll as a margin of error of 5.5 percent.

The survey was completed the day before Catherine Pugh resigned as mayor amid a scandal involving a series of children’s books and raids by the FBI and IRS at her home, City Hall and at the offices of some of her political allies.

Among likely voters, 23 percent said they favored former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who also left office following a legal scandal, followed by 19 percent who say they would vote for current Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young; 18 percent who favor Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby; and 16 percent who support attorney Thiru Vignarajah.

Twenty-four percent of those surveyed said they were undecided.

Dixon, who served as mayor from 2007-1010, resigned from office following a scandal in which she was alleged to have embezzled gift cards.

“As with the early Democratic presidential primary field, a lot of this has to do with name recognition,” said Gonzales. “It’s clear (Dixon) still has some good will in the city. She has a cadre of support there.”

Dixon holds advantages among older voters and black voters. Mosby has a plurality of voters under 55 years old who say they would support her. Vignarajah has more than twice the number of white voters than any other candidate in the current poll.

The early peek at a possible head-to-head race did not include a number of potential candidates, such as former 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous; newly minted City Council President Brandon Scott; Sen. Jill Carter; T.J. Smith, the former spokesman for the Baltimore City Police Department, who currently is the top spokesman for Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr.; and Will Bauer, a/k/a “Lou Catteli,” a self-described “fixer” in the Baltimore business community.

The next mayor will take over a city beset with concerns, including crime, education shortcomings and a beleaguered population, many of who believe things are worse today than they were a decade ago.

“The thing that stands out is there is no racial divide, no gender divide, no age divide,” said Gonzales. “The (negative) perception really is in every corner of the city, and it’s not good.”

Fifty-seven percent said the city is worse now than a decade ago, and 60 percent of people 55 and under said it is worse today. Only 15 percent said the city is better now than a decade ago, according to the poll.

Citywide, 63 percent of those surveyed said Baltimore is on the wrong track compared to 23 percent who said the city is moving in the right direction.

Seventy-three percent of voters polled said they are dissatisfied with the quality of education in Baltimore. Three of four voters 55 and under said the school system is not good enough.

More than eight out of 10 voters said they are dissatisfied with attempts to reduce crime in a city that has recorded 300 or more homicides in each of the last four years.

“Today, the problems are all too real. No community can prosper when an overwhelming proportion of its members live in trepidation and frustration,” said Gonzales, adding that whoever the next mayor is, they’ll have to “step up and do something bold.”

“What that is, I don’t know,” said Gonzales.

Who would you choose?

If next year’s Democratic primary election for Mayor of Baltimore were held today, for whom would you vote if the candidates were: Sheila Dixon, Marilyn Mosby, Thiru Vignarajah, and Jack Young?

Dixon ………………………………………………………….. 23.1%

Young ………………………………………………………….. 18.8%

Mosby …………………………………………………………. 17.9%

Vignarajah ……………………………………………………. 15.8%

Undecided ……………………………………………………. 24.3%

Source: Gonzales Baltimore City Poll 


To purchase a reprint of this article, contact reprints@thedailyrecord.com.