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Poll Indicates Challenges for San Francisco’s Mayor with Ranked-Choice Voting

Poll Indicates Challenges for San Francisco's Mayor with Ranked-Choice Voting
Credits: San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Mayor London Breed faces a potentially challenging reelection battle due to the city’s intricate ranked-choice voting system, and her opponent, Daniel Lurie, gaining traction, even as the second choice for many voters.

Daniel Lurie, a nonprofit executive and heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, has emerged as a formidable contender, raising nearly $520,000 by the end of the previous year. Lurie has also attempted to influence the campaign for Proposition E, Mayor Breed’s initiative to expand police powers, by running his own ad campaign in support.

In a strategic move, Lurie’s campaign has released an internal poll, exclusively provided to POLITICO, indicating that he could pose a significant threat to Mayor Breed in the November election.

Poll Indicates Challenges for San Francisco's Mayor with Ranked-Choice Voting

Poll Indicates Challenges for San Francisco’s Mayor (Credits: Politico)

According to the internal poll, Mayor Breed remains the first choice for a plurality of voters at 26 percent, followed by Lurie with 21 percent, former Mayor Mark Farrell with 15 percent, and Supervisor Ahsha Safaí with 10 percent. Although Farrell has not officially entered the race, he is considering it and holding discussions with allies.

The poll highlights the potential vulnerability for Mayor Breed in terms of second-choice votes. In this category, Lurie leads with 19 percent of likely voters naming him as their second choice, compared to just 8 percent for Mayor Breed.

In San Francisco’s ranked-choice voting system, second-choice votes are reassigned from the last-place candidate in ascending order, which could impact the final results significantly.

Tyler Law, a consultant to Lurie’s campaign, expressed confidence in this position, stating, “This is just a strong place to be in January. If you’re running this cycle and you’re attached to City Hall, you’re going to have a really tough road ahead.”

In response to the poll, Breed’s campaign, which had not seen the results, downplayed the suggestion of vulnerability. Maggie Muir, Breed’s campaign consultant, commented, “Lurie can buy his way into this campaign, but with no ideas and zero experience, we don’t believe he ultimately can buy enough votes.”

The poll surveyed 600 likely voters from Jan. 15-20, conducted by David Binder Research in both English and Cantonese through phone and online methods, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The field for the San Francisco mayoral race remains fluid, with potential contenders including political heavyweights like Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, Assemblymember Phil Ting, and City Attorney David Chiu.

Candidates have until June to officially enter the race, but fundraising efforts are crucial for serious contenders to compete with well-supported mayoral hopefuls.

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