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Monday, October 17, 2011

Chinese Voters Set to Play Major Role in Mayor's Race

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Ed Lee
  • Ed Lee

Traditionally unenthusiastic at election time, Chinese-American voters are more interested than other San Francisco residents in the 2011 mayoral race and will likely have a significant influence on its results, according to a poll released today.

The poll, conducted by the Bay Citizen and University of San Francisco, showed interim Mayor Ed Lee holding a marked lead over his large field of opponents in a poll of 447 likely voters. The poll is worth checking out, simulating as it does the multiple rounds of San Francisco's ranked-choice voting system.

Perhaps the most interesting fact to emerge from the responses, however -- other than the projected election results -- is the waxing influence and interest of Chinese-American voters in city politics. This trend now appears set to help shape the November mayoral race.

According to the Bay Citizen/USF poll, some 57 percent of Chinese-American respondents ranked Ed Lee as their first choice for mayor, helping cement his lead in the race. Moreover, more than 40 percent of Chinese-American voters said they had been following the election "a lot," compared to just under 25 percent of non-Chinese voters.

This is marked contrast to past elections, in which Chinese-American voters typically lag 10 to 15 percent behind other city residents in turnout, the Bay Citizen reported.

Despite Lee's heavy support among his Chinese constituents, the poll also showed that identity politics isn't everything in this town. Bevan Dufty, the only openly gay mayoral candidate, lagged behind three other candidates -- including Lee -- in support among gay and lesbian respondents.

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Peter Jamison

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