MEMO: Key Findings from Voter Survey in Monterey County Supervisor District 5


March 2016


FROM: Goodwin Simon Strategic Research

RE: Key Findings from Voter Survey in Monterey County Supervisor District 5


A telephone survey of likely June voters we recently completed in Monterey County’s Fifth Supervisor District shows a close race between longtime incumbent Dave Potter and challenger Mary Adams, who is the recently retired President of the Monterey County United Way.

Adams begins the race just a few points behind Potter, despite his 20 years in office. In fact, she begins at 31%, just four points behind Potter at 35%, which is within the margin of error. More than a third are undecided.

The drag on Potter’s vote is his 30% unfavorable rating. Among voters with this opinion, only 5% are voting for Potter. In fact, 66% of voters with an unfavorable opinion of Potter are already voting for Adams. 

A very fair, balanced pair of positive paragraphs describing the candidates – with Potter’s description drawn almost verbatim from his website, and one that describes his endorsements, his accomplishments, and his deep roots in the community – puts Adams ahead by five points, at 42% to 37%. Her story, her achievements, and her fresh ideas are very appealing to voters.

The bottom line: Potter is vulnerable. He has relatively high unfavorables, and starts with barely a third of the vote and nearly tied against a less known challenger. He quickly falls into second place after voters hear just a small amount of positive information about Adams. 

Obviously it will require a well-funded, nimble, and efficient campaign to turn these potential advantages into a win this June. But the poll says that Adams can beat Potter and bring a new leader to the County Board of Supervisors.

Methodology: Goodwin Simon Strategic Research completed 350 telephone interviews with likely voters living in Monterey County’s 5th Supervisor District. The margin of error for this study is plus or minus 5.21% at a 95% confidence level.



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