New Poll: GOP Mayoral Primary Could Be Two Candidate Race

By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

April 26, 2011 Updated Apr 26, 2011 at 6:39 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – New poll numbers are giving a boost to the two women seeking the Republican nomination in the Fort Wayne Mayoral race.

What many thought was a three-person race, may instead be a showdown between two candidates.

That's the case if you believe the results from a poll conducted by the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics.

Among 470 likely Republican Primary voters surveyed, Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Liz Brown garnered 41 percent support, former Allen County Council President Paula Hughes picked up 35 percent, while businessman Eric Doden came in with 15 percent.

Doden is a relative newcomer to politics, this being his first run at elected office.

Andy Downs, who organized the poll, thinks Doden may be too much of an unknown for too many voters.

Andy Downs/Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics: " This, in some respects, is a lesson that reminds us that we need to build up name recognition, before we run for office. He was basically starting from zero, and the other two top contenders were starting with really high name recognition."

Eric Doden contacted Indiana's NewsCenter late afternoon Tuesday.

He said the poll did not surprise him, claiming that it's a week old, and thus is somewhat dated.

Doden says the fact that his TV ads are just now going full tilt, he believes his campaign is picking up momentum and closing the gap on the frontrunners.

He says by no means will he give up. He says there are lots of undecided voters, and, in his mind, the race is still wide open.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percent.

Given that, the spread between Brown and Hughes could be smaller than six points.

In addition, Hughes might find encouragement, in that 45 percent of the respondents indicated less than strong support for the candidate they favor.

Downs says it could suggest that a lot of GOP Primary voters in Fort Wayne may be willing to flip to a different candidate on May 3rd, putting the Election Day outcome in further doubt.

Among male voters, Brown enjoyed a 13-point edge over Hughes, but the two were in a virtual dead heat among female voters surveyed.

Brown polled 20 points higher than Hughes among voters 18 to 49 years of age, but Hughes had a ten-point lead among voters 65 and older.

To see the poll in its entirety, click on the link above.

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