How does New Orleans feel about Mayor Cantrell, City Council candidates? See UNO poll
A poll conducted among New Orleans voters shows that residents approve of Mayor LaToya Cantrell, but a large number of voters are undecided for a key City Council seat in the Nov. 13 election.
The University of New Orleans Survey Research Center surveyed 605 registered voters who voted at least six times in the past 10 elections. The study then filtered the voters to match Orleans Parish's racial and age makeup. Respondents were contacted over the phone in the final days of October. The survey has a margin of error of 4%.
The polling shows that 39% of voters are undecided in the city's hotly contested At-Large Division II seat. The three remaining candidates are former State Sen. JP Morrell, Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer and Bart Everson.
Morrell leads the polling at 34%, a slight lead over Palmer's 26%. The survey did not include Councilmember Jared Brossett, who has suspended his campaign after a DWI arrest in mid-October, but will still be on the ballot.
Edward Chervenak, the poll's director, said that the large number of undecided voters could lead to a lower voter turnout than the 2018 elections. Cherevenak is predicting around a 25% to 30% voter turnout for the election, compared to the turnout for the 2017 primaries at 32%.
"It's probably an Ida and COVID hangover," Chervenak said. "People are getting their life back together, and politics is kind of a sideshow right now."
The election was delayed 35 days by Gov. John Bel Edwards due to Hurricane Ida.
Candidates were also hampered by the inability to fundraise in-person early in their campaigns due to COVID-19.
In the 2018 election, Mayor Cantrell's run-off opponent Desiree Charbonnet had $345,263 available to spend on the race ten days before the primary election. Cantrell currently has over $342,000 in her campaign war chest, more than all 13 of her challengers’ funds combined.
Mayor Cantrell, who is expected to win her re-election campaign, earned a 57% approval rating from the survey but saw a variance between white and Black voters. While 70% of Black voters approve of Cantrell, only 42% of white voters said they approved of the job Cantrell was doing.
Council President Helena Moreno looks like a lock for another term as the leader of the council. Moreno received 57% of the poll's vote, and her only opponent Kenneth Cutno received 7%. Chervenak doesn't remember a two-candidate race having quite that large of a lead. Moreno also saw a significant racial discrepancy in the survey, receiving 72% approval from white voters but only 45% from Black voters.
The final question of the survey asked respondents to pick Orleans Parish’s biggest problem to date, in which 39% said crime.
The second highest response was the state of the streets and infrastructure in the city, with 11% of responses. Dozens of other problems like trash collection and cost of living received less than 4% of the vote.
To view the full survey from the UNO Survey Research Center, click here.
Editor's Note: The University of New Orleans holds the license for WWNO.