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Poll Finds Attacks on Negrete Backfired
By Jorge Casuso
December 2, 2022 -- A hard-hitting campaign against Councilmember Lana Negrete may have backfired, helping to pave the way for her reelection, according to a recent push poll of Santa Monica residents.
The Santa Monica Pulse poll of some 140 residents concerned with public safety also found that stopping over-development should be the new Council's top priority.
The poll -- conducted between November 21 and December 2 -- asked if the "aggressive campaign" against Negrete waged by Santa Monica's liberal establishment made them more or less likely to vote for her.
Forty-three percent said it made them more likely to vote for the incumbent, 22 percent said it made them less likely to vote for her, while 35 percent said the campaign had no impact on their vote.
The opposition campaign waged by Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMMR) and Unite HERE Local 11 was the most negative local campaign targeting a candidate in recent history.
The campaign painted Negrete -- the only rent control tenant on the Council -- as a threat to rent control and attempted to tie the former registered Independent-turned-Democrat as a Trump supporter ("Hotel Workers Union Steps Up Attacks," October 10, 2022).
Joined by the Democratic Club, the two groups fired off a volley of hit pieces, used social media to circulate unfounded rumors and sent volunteers door-to-door urging voters to oppose her.
The poll reinforces Negrete's contention that the campaign may have helped her win supporters suspicious of the relentless attacks.
"They don't think voters are smart enough to figure out special interests are involved," Negrete said after the first mailers went out. "I've received a few thousand dollars because of the mailers."
The poll also asked respondents to choose one of four top priorities for the new Council, which will include Rent Board Commissioner Caroline Torosis and Jesse Zwick, who were both backed by SMRR and the hotel union.
Nearly one-third of respondents chose stopping over-development, followed by reducing homelessness and lowering crime, each of which was chosen by 22 percent.
Eight percent chose revitalizing the economy, while 16 percent chose to write in their own priority, with the majority saying “all of the above.”
The poll also asked if neighborhood groups should “refrain” from taking positions in local races, a position advocated by Councilmember Gleam Davis.
Under an item Davis placed on the agenda, groups that fail to do so, or don't issue a disclaimer, would be removed from the City's website.
Nearly two-thirds -- 63 percent -- opposed Davis' proposal, 17 percent supported it and 20 percent weren't sure.
As with previous polls, the latest Santa Monica Pulse poll was sent to nearly 1,000 residents who "previously opted in to receive more information on education efforts surrounding crime and safety in their city." It had a 14 percent response rate.
Those who wish to be included in the next poll conducted by the hotel union watchdog Eyes on 11 should email their name and cell phone number to SaMoPulse@gmail.com.
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