In an internal memo this weekend, Wendy Greuel's pollster took aim at the new USC/L.A. Times poll and argued the race is a "dead heat" heading into Tuesday's vote.
The poll, released Friday night, showed Greuel trailing Councilman Eric Garcetti by 7 points. In the memo, Greuel's pollster called that result "an outlier," and suggested the Times is biased against Greuel's candidacy.
disappointing that an otherwise well-respected publication like the LA Times
would put out a flawed poll in favor of their endorsed candidate, despite no
other polls reporting anything remotely similar," the memo says.
The memo did not cite any internal research that might contradict the USC/L.A. Times result. It did refer, however, to a Cal State L.A. poll that showed the race a dead heat two weeks ago, and a late April poll with a similar result released by the pro-Greuel group Working Californians.
Greuel's polling team, led by Celinda Lake, argue in the memo that the USC/L.A. Times poll has shown a pattern of "understating Greuel's vote and overestimating Garcetti's."
"Only the L.A. Times poll, conducted on behalf of the newspaper which has endorsed Garcetti, shows widely differing results that simply do not match up with other polling," the memo says. The memo goes on to claim that Greuel "has the momentum" and is "poised for victory."
Dan Schnur, the USC/L.A. Times poll director, said in an e-mail that the sampling and polling methodology were done by two polling firms "with no involvement from either the Times or USC."
"We hired a bipartisan polling team and trust them to do their work," Schnur said. "My guess is that they are simply unhappy that the poll was not more favorable to them and that they have legitimate disagreements about how the sample was done."
Schnur also noted that the USC/L.A. Times poll was accurate in the March primary, when it found Garcetti leading Greuel by 2 points the week before the vote. He won by 4.
One possibility that the Greuel poll memo does not entertain is that the race was indeed a dead heat two weeks ago, but that since then $2 million of negative ads from Garcetti have taken their toll. Garcetti has attacked Greuel over her support from the Department of Water and Power union, while Garcetti's allies have tried to link her with the anti-immigrant and anti-affirmative action views of Gov. Pete Wilson. The Greuel camp sees those ads as "proof he knows he's behind."
"There is no question that the decision by Garcetti and his supporters to Swift Boat Wendy on DWP and embrace a nasty, Karl Rove-style negative campaign in the minority communities has certainly confused voters," said Greuel's spokeswoman, Shannon Murphy. "Ultimately, we think voters will see through the false attacks on Wendy and will make history on Tuesday."
The Garcetti campaign started airing this TV spot on Saturday, ending the campaign on a more positive note.
The Greuel campaign, meanwhile, released two web videos that seek to respond to Garcetti's attack ads. On the DWP issue, Greuel's campaign points that Garcetti twice voted for DWP pay hikes:
The second web ad features Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa standing up for her on immigration:
Both candidates are spending their Sundays in church, before a long day of rallying volunteers to work the phones and walk precincts. Greuel had five church appearances on her schedule. Garcetti had seven.