Keisha Lance Bottoms surged to within striking distance of Mary Norwood in the latest WSB-TV poll of the crowded race for Atlanta mayor, catapulting ahead of rivals gunning for a spot in a likely runoff.
The poll, conducted by Landmark Communications, had Norwood in the lead with 22 percent of the vote – down from a peak earlier this year when the city councilman notched near 30 percent. Bottoms, also a councilwoman, polled at 19 percent – a sharp rise since the last WSB poll.
The only other candidate in double-digits was Peter Aman, a former Atlanta chief operating officer who logged 13 percent. About one-fifth of the electorate was undecided.
The rest of the field in the Nov. 7 contest remained muddled. City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, former City Council President Cathy Woolard and ex-state Sen. Vincent Fort each got about 6 percent of the vote. City Councilman Kwanza Hall was at 5 percent, and former Fulton County chair John Eaves notched 3 percent.
The poll comes as candidates competing to succeed a term-limited Kasim Reed ready for a new phase in the race. Early voting starts Monday, and campaigns are digging deeper into their coffers to get out their message and mobilize their voters.
Norwood has led every public poll of the mayoral race and is widely expected to win a spot in a December runoff, but her standing has eroded as she’s faced new attacks from rivals and an online assault from the Democratic Party of Georgia labeling her a closet Republican. A self-described independent, Norwood is the only candidate in the race not to identify as a Democrat.
She still leads the field among men and women, and has the lion’s share of Republican voters. But her support among voters 65 and older and among white voters has dropped since the August WSB poll.
Bottoms, endorsed Wednesday by the outgoing mayor, has since consolidated more Democratic support. The August poll showed her with about 17 percent of the Democratic vote; Wednesday’s poll had her at nearly a quarter. She logged about one-third of the black vote – doubling Norwood, her closest competitor.
And while Aman has barely budged since the last poll, rising about a half-percent, he’s also eaten into some of Norwood’s white backing.
A decline in African-American support, meanwhile, has hurt Mitchell. He dropped about 4 percentage points overall as his share of the black vote fell from 14.5 percent to 9 percent since August.
The poll of 750 likely voters was conducted from Oct. 7-8. The margin of error was 3.6 percent.