Union-sponsored poll shows Kenney, Williams, Abraham in dead heat

 State Sen. Tony Williams, Jim Kenney and Lynne Abraham (Stephanie Aaronson/The Next Mayor)

State Sen. Tony Williams, Jim Kenney and Lynne Abraham (Stephanie Aaronson/The Next Mayor)

For what it’s worth, a union-sponsored poll out Thursday shows Philadelphia mayoral candidates Jim Kenney, State Sen. Tony Williams and Lynne Abraham in a dead heat. 

The poll, commissioned by the public services employee union AFSCME, was conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based firm GBA Strategies, which surveyed 587 “likely Democratic primary voters” earlier this month. Three local divisions of AFSCME are supporting Kenney. 

The poll found Kenney leading Williams by just one point (they were favored by 26 and 25 percent of those surveyed, respectively). Abraham came in third place with support from 22 percent of those surveyed. 

Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said the poll was “obviously encouraging…, but there’s still a long way to go and we’re not taking anything for granted.”

A memo from the pollster did not even mention the names of the three other Democratic mayoral contenders, Nelson Diaz, Doug Oliver and Milton Street.

Eighteen percent of those surveyed said they were undecided.

It paints a decidedly different picture from the poll released by the Abraham camp late last month that showed her leading the pack with 30 percent of the vote and 14 percent for both Kenney and Williams.

In a statement, Abraham’s campaign manager Stuart Rosenberg dismissed this latest poll and said her campaign has just bought $700,000 worth of TV time with ads to start running next week, a reflection of her committment to winning the race. 

“As Philadelphians come to know that Lynne is the only candidate with the executive experience to lead on day one and the only candidate committed to all our students, whether in public or charter schools, they will move decisively to support her,” Rosenberg said.

The poll found Abraham “still enjoying the highest name identification” of all six candidates. 

“As expected, race plays a powerful role,” the pollsters wrote, “with Williams (39 percent) holding a large lead over Abraham (17 percent) and Kenney (13 percent) among African-Americans.” The poll found Kenney leading among white voters (43) percent with Abraham at 30 percent and Williams at 9 percent. 

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