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Saturday, December 9, 2023


UH Hobby School poll names Jackson Lee and Whitmire as frontrunners

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/ The Cougar

A new survey regarding Houston city elections by the Hobby School of Public Affairs said that it’s a close mayoral race between U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and state Sen. John Whitmire. 

The new poll found that Whitmire leads the poll with 34% likely voters heading into the election in November, with Jackson Lee trailing behind with 31%. 

Former METRO commissioner, Gilbert Garcia and former City Council member Jack Christie are the only two candidates to tie at 4% – higher than the other candidates but significantly lower than the frontrunners. 

While the mayoral race is run on a nonpartisan ballot — the candidates are not identified as Democrats or Republicans — Jackson Lee and Whitmire’s name recognition from their decades in public office has made it harder for other candidates to break through, senior executive director at the Hobby School and one of the researchers for the project, Renée Cross said in a press release. 

“With 17 candidates in the mayor’s race, it has been difficult for anyone else to gain traction,” Cross said. “Former Metro Chair Gilbert Garcia and Jack Christie, a former City Council member, came in tied for third, but each drew support from just 4% of voters.”

Among the 22% of the undecided voters going into the November election, Whitmire leads support with 62% of voters indicating that they might consider voting for him. While 16% said that they would not vote in favor of Whitmire.

About 36% of voters said that they might consider voting for Jackson Lee, while 53% said they would not vote for her. 

In the event of a likely December run-off election, which will happen in the event that neither of the candidates are able to get at least 50% of the votes. 

The run-off will likely be held on Dec. 9, two days before the deadline, Dec.11, to file for the 2024 primary elections for federal and state offices. 

Both Whitmire and Jackson Lee have held their offices from 1982 and 1995 respectively. 

The survey shows that 50% of the voters intend to vote for Whitmire and only 36% of the voters would vote for  Jackson Lee. 

One in 10 voters remained undecided in the event of a Whitmire-Jackson Lee runoff whereas 5% said that they would not vote in the runoff if these were the two candidates.

The Hobby School, along with Houston Public Media and Univision are hosting a third mayoral debate on Oct. 19.

Early voting for the city election begins on Oct. 23 and city election day is on Nov. 7. 

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