A strong feeling that Mayor Tom Bradley did a good job on the 1984 Olympics is a major factor in helping him build a huge lead over City Councilman John Ferraro, who is unknown by 40% of the voters with the election a little more than two weeks away.
That is a finding of a Los Angeles Times Poll, which gave the mayor a 62% to 22% lead over Ferraro in the April 9 municipal primary election.
The survey also showed that Los Angeles City Controller James K. Hahn is far ahead in the race for city attorney with 44%, although still short of the majority needed to avoid a June runoff election. Even though their advertising campaigns have started, his two best-financed challengers, attorneys Murray Kane and Lisa Specht, are far behind--Specht with 7% and Kane with 5%.
And 65% of those responding to the survey did not express an opinion in the contest for controller, the job that Hahn is vacating. The candidate with the largest following, Dan Shapiro, had only 14%.
Campaign Limits Favored
City Charter Amendment 1, which would limit campaign contributions in city elections, is far ahead with 64% support, the survey showed. But on City Charter Amendment 2--which would expand the City Council from 15 to 17 seats to make it easier for minorities to be elected--respondents split almost evenly, 39% for to 42% against.
A June ballot measure that would raise property taxes to increase the size of the Police Department was supported by a majority of those surveyed--but was still short the two-thirds majority that would be needed for approval.
The Times Poll, under the direction of I. A. Lewis, was taken by telephone for six days ending last Thursday. A total of 2,241 respondents were polled, of which 555 were registered voters living in the city of Los Angeles. The answers of the Los Angeles residents were used for this story.
The poll showed that Ferraro has made little headway against the heavily favored incumbent, despite campaigning hard since January. Ferraro has used a strong mail and television advertising campaign to attack the mayor.
Favorable Overall Impression
Seventy-six percent of those surveyed had a favorable overall impression of Bradley, and 74% said they approved of the way he does his job. Overwhelming support came from every section of the city, including the San Fernando Valley, where Ferraro has tried hard to make inroads. A conservative Democrat, Ferraro expected to do well among the Valley's largely conservative, white, middle-class residents. He has made some of his strongest attacks from there against the mayor, who is black and a liberal Democrat.
Bradley led Ferraro 55% to 29% on the Westside; 58% to 23% in the San Fernando Valley; 59% to 21% in Central Los Angeles, which includes Ferraro's own mid-Wilshire 4th City Council District, and 78% to 15% in South Los Angeles.
Bradley's support came from every age, ethnic and economic group.
Men favored him 60% to 24%, women 64% to 20%. Blacks backed the mayor 82% to 11%, Latinos 52% to 21% and whites 57% to 27%. High-income people supported Bradley as strongly as did those with low incomes. His support among management, blue-collar and white-collar workers was equally high.
Bradley had the support of 66% of Protestants, 55% of the Roman Catholics and 68% of Jews.
The Olympics led the list of specific positive qualities that voters attributed to Bradley.
Thirty-six percent said, "He did a good job on the Olympics." His second-best quality was that he "represents all the people in the city fairly"--21% said that. And 12% gave Bradley credit for rebuilding downtown. Only 6% praised him for accomplishments in the transit field, showing public recognition of Bradley's failure to keep his promise to bring rail rapid transit to the city.
The depths of Ferraro's political troubles in the final weeks of the campaign were clearly shown by a poll finding that 40% of the voters were not aware of him, compared with just 6% for Bradley, a major political figure since the mid-1960s, mayor for three terms and the 1982 Democratic candidate for California governor.
Only 31% had a favorable opinion of Ferraro.
Ferraro was least known in heavily black South Los Angeles. But even in Central Los Angeles, only 25% were unaware of Ferraro. And in the Valley, so crucial to his hopes, 33% did not know who he was.
The finding that Ferraro has weak name recognition at this late stage reflects a campaign strategy that has concentrated mostly on attacking Bradley, rather than building up the councilman.
A substantial portion of Ferraro's financial support comes from Republicans, including backers of Republican Gov. George Deukmejian, who defeated Bradley in 1982. Ferraro's campaign manager is Republican consultant Ron Smith. That, plus recent Deukmejian criticism of the mayor, has led to speculation that the GOP is using Ferraro to weaken Bradley in case the mayor wants to run against Deukmejian again.
The Smith attack strategy has created some unfavorable impression of Bradley, but not enough to hurt the mayor badly so far, the poll showed.
Oil Drilling Issue
Asked about what they considered Bradley's negative qualities, 20% cited "oil drilling," a reference to Bradley's decision to permit Occidental Petroleum Corp. to drill for oil in the Pacific Palisades.
Of those, 62% live in the Westside--where the Pacific Palisades are located--or the Valley, a possible indication of the success of a Ferraro commercial on the drilling issue.
Another negative quality cited was that Bradley "is really running for governor next year," a repeated theme of the Ferraro campaign. Bradley has said repeatedly that he has no plans to run for governor again but has not ruled out the possibility. Last week, Deukmejian raised the issue during a Los Angeles press conference. Twenty percent cited the gubernatorial issue as a reason for disapproval of Bradley. Twelve percent cited a lack of support of the Police Department, another major Ferraro campaign theme.
Even though some of the Ferraro attacks seem to have made an impression, the poll shows that there are few groups in the city that could give him enough support to win. Ferraro shows some strength among conservatives, but the poll showed him only even with Bradley among those voters. He had no significant edge over the mayor among Republicans.
And in a city so strongly Democratic that it backed Walter F. Mondale for President in face of President Reagan's 1984 landslide, the GOP support is not enough for Ferraro.
One reason for Ferraro's difficulties is that council members are simply not well-known citywide.
For example, the survey showed that Pat Russell, president of the City Council and a potential future mayoral aspirant, is unknown by 67% of the city voters and by 33% of the electorate in the Westside, which includes her district. A total of 62% citywide are unaware of Councilman Joel Wachs, who also would like to be mayor. In the San Fernando Valley, where Wachs' 2nd District is located, 51% are unaware of him, the survey indicated.
Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, who briefly considered running against Bradley, would have had a major weakness with name identification, the survey showed. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed did not know of him. In his home Westside area, 43% did not know him.
Only one councilman, Arthur K. Snyder, did better in recognition. Sixty percent of those surveyed were aware of him. But Snyder has been constantly in the news as the object of repeated, unsuccessful recall drives. And lately he was accused of molesting his daughter. He is the only council member, the poll showed, regarded more unfavorably than favorably by voters.
Outside of Bradley, the best-known and best-liked local officeholder was Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner. Sixty-nine percent of those polled were aware of him, and 50% had a favorable impression.
VOTER PREFERENCES These Los Angeles Times Poll results are from questions asked of Los Angeles city residents. Figures showing candidate rankings are from a sampling of registered voters. THE RACE FOR MAYOR THE CANDIDATES Tom Bradley 62% John Ferraro 22% Other 3% Undecided 13% IMPRESSION OF FERRARO Favorable 31% Unfavorable 18% Not sure 11% Unaware of him 40%
IMPRESSION OF BRADLEY 1985 Sept.,1982 July,1981 July,1980 Favorable 76% 76% 68% 65% Unfavorable 15% 10% 23% 14% Not sure 3% 3% 3% 11% Unaware of him 6% 11% 6% 10%
MAYOR BRADLEY--THE PROS AND CONS Respondents were asked to judge the mayor's strengths and weaknesses. Answers will not total 100%. BRADLEY'S STRENGTHS He did a good job on Olympics 36% He represents people fairly 21% He provides leadership 16% He rebuilt downtown 12% He kept the city solvent 10% He supports mass transit 6% BRADLEY'S WEAKNESSES He favors Palisades oil drilling 20% He is running for governor 20% Not enough support for police 12% He did little for mass transit 10% Allows excessive development 9% He is a do-nothing figurehead 5% OTHER CITY RACES CITY ATTORNEY James Hahn 44% Lisa Specht 7% Murray Kane 5% Charles Zinger 3% Betsy Mogul 2% Undecided 39% CITY CONTROLLER Dan Shapiro 14% Celes King 7% Rick Tuttle 7% Alice Travis 4% Joseph Pietroforte 3% Undecided 65% BALLOT MEASURES Many respondents were unfamiliar with the ballot measures. They were asked for impressions of each measure. Once read arguments for and against each measure, they were asked for their voting preference. Impression of Charter Amendment 1, a limit on campaign contributions in city elections Favorable 39% Unfavorable 9% Not sure 14% Unaware of it 38% Likely vote on Charter Amendment 1 For 64% Against 20% Undecided 16% Impression of Charter Amendment 2, increasing number of council districts Favorable 25% Unfavorable 20% Not sure 15% Unaware of it 40% Likely vote on Charter Amendment 2 For 39% Against 42% Undecided 19% Impression of proposal on June ballot to expand the Los Angeles police force Favorable 52% Unfavorable 22% Not sure 12% Unaware of it 14% Likely vote on police expansion measure For 53% Against 34% Undecided 13%
IMPRESSION OF LOCAL POLITICAL FIGURES DIST. ATTY. IRA REINER Favorable 50%
Not sure 7%
Unaware of him 31%
CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT
PAT RUSSELL Favorable 18%
Not sure 11%
Unaware of her 67%
ARTHUR K. SNYDER Favorable 24%
Not sure 9%
Unaware of him 40%
JOEL WACHS Favorable 21%
Not sure 11%
Unaware of him 62%
ZEV YAROSLAVSKY Favorable 25%
Not sure 11%
Unaware of him 59%