Wednesday, June 17, 2009 The Viaduct issue looms in Seattle races

McGinn push-poll helps him pull votes from Jan Drago (see the referenced story below).

The poll tested how the Viaduct issue plays in the Seattle Mayor's race. At the outset it asked the poll takers who they planned to vote for in that race, getting these results: Nickels 20%, Jan Drago 19, James Donaldson 11, Mike McGinn 10, and Joe Mallahan 7. Then it explained, negatively, the Viaduct issue, particularly the city's being on the hook for cost over-runs, and pointed out that only McGinn opposes the tunnel option. Knowing that, the pollster says, now how would you vote in the Mayor's race. The results changed dramatically: McGinn 29, Nickels 21, Drago 12, Donaldson 6, Mallahan 4.

Those figures help explain why McGinn works the Viaduct issue and its financial liability into nearly every remark, and why Drago can't really tout one of her signal achievements and differences with Nickels. Drago, alone on the City Council, favored the deep-bore tunnel idea years before it seemed a plausible alternative to the streets-only solution or building a new viaduct; and she was an effective negotiator to get the idea enacted once cost estimates had dropped enough to make it a contender. story on the viaduct polling data.

Drawing a point from Nickels on this issue does not sink him, but it does sandbag Drago, good enough if you want to get to the final two and have a chance to broaden the debate after the primary.

In some ways this gets back to Drago pushing downtown centric infrastructure. Try push-polling there three words, Drago-Allen-Trolley. Fact is that in the "other" Seattle, where many voter actually live, where snow piled up, we can not find money to pay too much to clear roads, but we can find plenty of money to run the trolley and streetcars.

On the north end development is defined as site searching for a new jail (gosh, thanks, but, no thanks). On the south end they are trying to curb gangs at the cost of a self-cleaning toilet.

Any subject McGinn, or any other candidate wants to go after Nickels with will hurt Jan Drago just as much, if not more (judging by the referenced poll).

Have a great day,
Mike Baker

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