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Politics & Policy

Bad news for Mayor London Breed in new poll

Two people in professional attire: a woman in a blazer and a man with crossed arms, both appear thoughtful.
A new poll suggests that nonprofit founder Daniel Lurie would defeat Mayor London Breed in a hypothetical one-on-one matchup. | Source: The Standard

San Francisco’s incumbent Mayor London Breed is struggling with the city's ongoing crises and low approval ratings. Now, she's received more bad news.

Daniel Lurie, the nonprofit founder and Levi's heir challenging Breed in November's election, released poll results to the press on Wednesday suggesting he’s well-positioned to defeat her under the city's ranked-choice voting system.

The poll, conducted by David Binder Research, surveyed 600 likely San Francisco voters in both English and Chinese earlier this month.

It showed that Breed remains the top first-choice candidate for 26% of voters, more than Lurie's 21%. Former Mayor Mark Farrell, who is considering a run but has not yet officially announced his candidacy, and mayoral candidate and sitting Supervisor Ahsha Safaí received 15% and 10%, respectively. About 28% of voters remain undecided.

Under the city’s complex ranked-choice voting system, voters can select multiple candidates in order of preference. If a voter's top choice is eliminated due to insufficient votes, their vote gets redistributed to their next preferred candidate who remains in the race. This process continues until one candidate secures over 50% of the remaining votes.

Wednesday’s release said that Lurie would win a plurality of second-choice votes, giving him 40% of first and second-place votes compared with 34% for Breed.

However, the number is just a simple combination of the votes, and it doesn’t provide a detailed redistribution of the second-choice votes nor mention third-choice votes.

The campaign and David Binder, who conducted the poll, confirmed that they didn’t include third choices in the poll because there are many undecided voters, but they ran the elimination process and did find Lurie will be the final winner.

The poll also surveyed Cantonese speakers, showing Lurie leading by 27 points in a one-on-one competition with Breed: He received 56% support from Chinese voters, and Breed only got 29%. The remaining 16% were undecided.

Maggie Muir, the consultant for Breed’s campaign, said the poll conducted 10 months from election day without the final list of candidates is irrelevant and could easily be shaped to achieve Lurie’s desired outcome.

“The facts remain that Daniel, his mom and brother are demonstrating they’ll spend millions to buy the Mayor’s Office for him, and the only policy he’s offered he’s stolen from Mayor Breed,” she said. “That’s not leadership.”

In a filing Wednesday, a committee supporting Lurie’s campaign for mayor reported nearly $3.3 million in contributions, including $1 million from his mother, Mimi Haas, and $100,000 from his brother, artist Ari Lurie. 

The poll found Breed's job approval rating to be just 29%. A similar poll conducted late last year showed comparable results, signaling low favorability for Breed. 

"Lurie's the only candidate not tied to City Hall's entrenched system that's allowed crime, homelessness and corruption to spread unchecked," said Tyler Law, Lurie's campaign consultant, in a statement. "This poll provides more evidence that Daniel has the widest path to victory in November."

Han Li can be reached at han@sfstandard.com