June 5, 2020 | Original Article
Poll shows no clear front-runner in Democratic primary to replace LaValle
There’s new internal polling in the wide-open contest to be the Democratic State Senate candidate who will take on the challenge of stripping away one more suburban seat from Republicans. The opportunity came after the East End’s long-time GOP senator Ken LaValle said he would not seek re-election.
The poll commissioned by Skyler Johnson’s campaign shows there is not a clear front-runner.
The Johnson poll, conducted by the Honan Strategy Group on landlines and via robocall, found Johnson, a 19-year-old who graduated from Suffolk County Community College in May, with 14% of the vote, followed by Brookhaven Town councilwoman Valerie Cartright with 10%, Southampton Town board member Tommy John Schiavoni with 8%, attorney Laura Ahearn with 6%, and nurse and union organizer Nora Higgins with 2%.
The survey included 541 interviews of likely Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of 4.19%.
That puts most of those candidates within striking distance.
Robo polls are cheaper and quicker than live ones and sometimes criticized for not using humans to make the calls — Jonathan Yedin from Ahearn’s campaign called such polls “amateur.”
But pollster Bradley Honan said polls with automated calling like this one can avoid some biases that respondents sometimes exhibit during live polls, and the poll is scientifically sampled to approximate the likely turnout.
Whoever’s fully on top, one thing’s more clear from the poll: amidst pandemic and societal upheaval, more than a margin of error of people aren’t exactly following this primary. Sixty-one percent of likely primary voters are undecided.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano