Staff and Wire Report
LOS ANGELES — Responding to favorable polling numbers that show she would be a frontrunner if she entered the race, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass said Aug. 31 said she was “seriously considering” a run to become the next mayor of Los Angeles.
A poll released on Aug. 23 by a California-based public opinion research firm found that more than a quarter of a sample of the city’s Democrats supported Bass against other current and potential candidates for the 2022 mayoral election.
In an interview with KPCC/LAist that aired Aug. 31, Bass said, “I have been overwhelmed and humbled by people pushing for me to do this, and I will say that I am seriously considering it.”
She said that running for mayor “was not something I had thought about before — I was planning to run for reelection. I am evaluating the situation now.
“Los Angeles, I believe, is at a crossroads,” Bass added. “We are facing a humanitarian crisis. I am really worried that our city could be torn apart, that people could be turned against each other.
“We also face a health crisis with COVID that is disproportionately impacting certain communities. And so I am humbled and very honored that people would think that I could do this job.”
Along with Bass, D-Los Angeles, current and potential candidates included in the poll were former Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner, City Attorney Mike Feuer, City Council President Nury Martinez, businessman Rick Caruso, and Councilmen Kevin de León, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Joe Buscaino.
Of the group, Buscaino and Feuer are the only ones who have announced a run for mayor in 2022. Ridley-Thomas announced on Aug. 16 that he will not run.
About 27% of Democrats polled said that if the election was held today, they would vote for Bass.
“A plurality is undecided, and the race is wide open, but Bass is the only potential candidate for mayor who can claim a real base of support,” according to a summary of the survey of 803 Los Angeles voters, which was conducted between July 29 and Aug. 5 by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates.
Bass represents California’s 37th Congressional District, which includes Los Angeles neighborhoods west and southwest of downtown, as well as the cities of Culver City and Inglewood.
More than one out of five (22%) of all people surveyed said Bass was their first choice among the candidates, and 8% ranked her second. Bass was the only potential or current candidate who received double-digit first-choice support, and Caruso, de León and Ridley-Thomas tied for second with 6% of respondents saying they were their first choices.
Bass’ support as a first choice grew to 28% after the poll’s participants were given a profile with positive information about each candidate, with Buscaino following at 9%. After participants were shown statements highlighting negative information and allegations about each candidate, Bass’ support as a first choice grew to 33%, with Caruso following at 9%.
Bass received the most positive feedback from poll participants, with 42% indicating that they have a favorable impression of her and 16% expressing an unfavorable impression. Feuer was next, with 31% expressing a favorable opinion; followed by Beutner (29%), Ridley-Thomas (28%), de León (26%), Martinez (22%), Caruso (21%) and Buscaino (20%).
The pollsters identified that Bass’ advantage over the rest of the potential candidates comes partly from progressives and liberals, with 34% of progressives and 25% of liberals responding that they would vote for her if the election was held today. She also had the advantage of being the best known among the candidates and leads with Black Angelenos and people on the Westside and in South Los Angeles.
Generally, the poll indicated that about 70% of voters are either very likely or somewhat likely to vote for a woman for mayor, and 69% are very likely or somewhat likely to vote for a person of color to head the city.
Nearly three-fourths (73%) of those polled also showed support for electing someone with experience as a council member or state legislator, and 48% said they would be very likely or somewhat likely to vote for someone with law enforcement experience. However, only 31% said they would be very likely or somewhat likely to vote for a businessperson who has never held office, and 57% said they would be not too likely or not at all likely to support that candidate.
The person who commissioned the poll was not publicly identified, but a representative for the public opinion research firm said the individual is not a politician.