BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – If the Buffalo mayoral election was held today, a majority of likely voters say they would vote for incumbent mayor Byron Brown over Democratic nominee India Walton, according to an exclusive WIVB/Emerson College poll.
Brown has a 10-point lead in the poll, with 50.2 percent of respondents supporting the mayor in his quest for a fifth term versus 40.1 percent who said they’d vote for Walton. 7.9 percent of respondents said they were unsure and 1.9 percent said they supported someone else.
More than 80 percent of those polled said they have never written in a candidate before in any election. Asked if Brown was right to continue his campaign after losing the primary, 53.1 percent said yes, 32.5 percent said no and 14.4 percent were unsure or had no opinion.
Despite losing the primary, Brown remains favorable with voters. 53.8 percent of likely voters polled said they have a favorable opinion of Brown, 33.7 percent view him unfavorably and 12.4 percent had no opinion.
Those polled were split on Walton’s favorability: 42.9 percent view her unfavorably, 42.2 percent view her favorably, 13.0 percent have no opinion and 2.0 percent said they had never heard of Walton.
Walton, a “very proud” democratic socialist, could become the first female mayor in Buffalo’s history and the first socialist mayor of a major American city since 1960.
Those surveyed were asked if their opinion of socialism was favorable or unfavorable. 39.8 percent said they viewed it unfavorably, 30.9 percent said they viewed it favorably and 29.3 percent had no opinion.
The poll surveyed 862 likely voters by phone, carrying a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points.
While Brown is ahead in the poll, voter turnout in the general election could be pivotal. Of those surveyed, 28.8 percent said they voted for Walton in the Democratic primary, 24.1 percent said they voted for Brown and 46.1 percent said they didn’t vote.