October 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Poll: Residents favor 'nobody' as mayoral front-runner

More than 30% undecided; support for Bing is weak

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Detroit — An early snapshot of the 2013 mayor's race shows Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, City Council president Charles Pugh and Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan as city residents' favored candidates, according to a Detroit News poll.

And it shows tepid support for Mayor Dave Bing, who outpaces only state Rep. Lisa Howze, the sole candidate to officially enter the race so far.

But the most popular answer among respondents was "nobody."

More than 30 percent of respondents said they haven't yet made up their minds with more than a year to go before voters have to make a decision.

The poll of 800 Detroit residents was taken Sept. 22-25 by the Glengariff Group of Chicago and funded by the Thompson Foundation. It does not include likely or registered voters, a more accurate reflection of the voting patterns used by pollsters and politicians.

Asked to choose from a list of potential candidates, respondents favored Napoleon with 21.6 percent, followed by Pugh at 17.6 percent and Duggan at 13.4 percent. Bing, who has not indicated whether he is running for re-election, took 9.5 percent, and Howze, 5.5 percent.

Napoleon, who is running for re-election as Wayne County sheriff, said he is mulling a run for Detroit mayor but is focusing on his sheriff bid first.

"I'm obviously humbled at the fact that the citizens of Detroit have continued to support me in whatever capacity I happen to be in," said Napoleon, who served as Detroit police chief under Mayor Dennis Archer. "I'm focused on the presidential race and my race for sheriff."

Poll respondent Ruth Dickerson, 49, a self-employed child care provider who lives on the east side, said she is undecided — and uninspired by the current choices.

"I did vote for Charles Pugh for City Council, but right now there's nobody honestly that I could pick and say I trust them," said Dickerson, who voted for Kenneth Cockrel Jr. and Tom Barrow in the 2009 special and general elections for mayor.

"The mayor that we have, I wouldn't vote for him again if my life depended on it, because it's too many people losing their jobs," she said.

"I'm tired of everybody trying to blame Kwame (Kilpatrick). Yes, he was part of the problem, but he's not in office now. Every time you turn around, people are losing their jobs because the city is broke."

According to the poll, Pugh's greatest support came from residents under 30 who have a high school diploma and earn less than $50,000 a year. Napoleon drew support from residents aged 30-64, and Duggan was favored by residents over 40, with some college education and making more than $50,000 a year.

The mayor's greatest support came from seniors 65 and older, but even in that category he placed fourth.

Kevin Brooks, 20, who lives on the east side and recently registered to vote, said he'd support Pugh because he likes his ideas to make the city better.

Brooks said he doesn't see himself supporting Bing. "The city has fallen down under his rule," he said. "Everything. The police, fire…everything has gone to crap."

Pugh said the poll results have given him "a confidence booster"about pursuing a mayoral candidacy. If he does, he said he will make a decision by December.

"More and more I have noticed that at grocery stores, jogging down the street, gas stations, barber shops, in restaurants, I would say every day, somebody walks up to me and says, 'You need to run for mayor,'" Pugh said.

Duggan said the poll results, which have him in third place, "is right where I thought it would be."

"People in this city want change, and it sounds like they are going to give consideration to who that change should be," Duggan said. "Name ID is a huge factor in the first poll. I guess I'm pleased that I'm starting out within 10 points. What it says is the people in this city have an open mind in who the change is, and we have a chance to make our case."

Robert Warfield, the mayor's spokesman, said: "We're not in election or campaign mode. The mayor is working diligently to restructure the city."


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