BOSTON

Wu Maintains Commanding Lead Over Essaibi George Ahead of Debate, New Poll Shows

The poll's release comes ahead of Tuesday's second mayoral debate, hosted by NBC10 Boston, Telemundo Boston and NECN, in partnership with the Dorchester Reporter and the Bay State Banner

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With two weeks to go until the Boston mayoral election, Michelle Wu continues to hold a commanding lead over opponent Annissa Essaibi George, a new poll shows.

The poll, conducted by Suffolk University for NBC10 Boston and The Boston Globe, has Wu at 62%, more than double the 30% Essaibi George received. Seven percent of respondents remain undecided. A MassINC/WBUR poll released last week also had Wu leading by 32%

The poll was conducted between Oct. 15 and Oct. 17, after last week's debate between Wu and Essaibi George. More than 72% of those surveyed said they did not watch that debate, and those who did watch said they thought Wu won by a slight (less than 3%) margin.

David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, discusses the new poll's findings.

The poll's release comes ahead of Tuesday's second mayoral debate, hosted by NBC10 Boston, Telemundo Boston and NECN, in partnership with the Dorchester Reporter and the Bay State Banner. The debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. on NBC10 Boston and NECN. It will also be livestreamed on NBC10Boston.com and NECN.com and in Spanish on TelemundoNuevaInglaterra.com.

Schools and housing (19%) were cited as the most important issues among those responding to the survey, followed by racism and justice issues (16%), jobs and the economy (14%) and crime (10%). Fewer than 6% of respondents mentioned police reform as a key issue.

More than two-thirds of those polled (69%) said they believe employers should require their workers to get vaccinated.

As we get closer to election day in Boston, campaign ads supporting Annissa Essaibi George are going on the attack against Michelle Wu.

In the at-large City Council race, Michael Flaherty (29.8%) and Julia Mejia (29%) led the way, followed by Ruthzee Louijeune at 21%, Erin Murphy at 18%, David Halbert at 16.4%, Carla Monteiro at 15%, Bridget Nee-Walsh at 9.8% and Althea Garrison at 9%. Over 32% remain undecided.

Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed say they would vote yes on Question 3, a non-binding ballot question that asks if the current appointed school committee should be changed to a school committee elected by the residents of Boston. Nearly 16% said they would vote no, with another 15% undecided.

The survey also asked respondents to rate the favorability of Wu, Essaibi George and other Boston officials, including current Mayor Kim Janey, former mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell, School Superintendent Brenda Casellius and former Mayor Marty Walsh.

Wu had the highest favorability rating, at 71%, followed by Campbell at 62%, Walsh at 57%, Essaibi George at 49%, Janey at 46% and Casellius at just 17%.

A new poll in Boston's mayoral race has Michelle Wu leading opponent Annissa Essaibi George by a wide margin. During an appearance Tuesday morning, Essaibi George compared herself to the underdog Boston Red Sox.

The poll also asked several questions related to this year's mayoral race, including whether it matters if a candidate for Boston mayor was born and raised in the city.

Nearly 59% of those responding said it doesn't matter where a candidate was born. Another 33% said they prefer a candidate who was born and raised here because they better understand the city, while about 4% said they prefer a candidate who wasn't born in Boston because the city benefits from outside perspectives.

Ten percent of those surveyed said they believe in defunding the police; 56% said they believe in a strong police force, but police funding needs to be reallocated into mental health and social programs; and 25% said they believe the police need more funding and support.

Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George faced off in a Boston mayoral debate on Wednesday night on WBZ-TV.

Asked about Boston's future, 48% said the city needs to go through thoughtful, incremental change, 36% said it needs to go through bold, transformational change and 10% said the city should stay the way it is.

Whoever wins the mayoral race on Nov. 2 will make history as the first woman and first person of color to be elected mayor.

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