NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As early voting for the Oct. 14 primary approaches, a political action committee has released results of its poll on the mayor's race.
The poll commissioned by VoicePac shows Desiree Charbonnet with 26.5-percent of the vote, Latoya Cantrell with 17.3-percent, Michael Bagneris with 10.5-percent and Troy Henry with 5.2-percent. All four candidates are eligible to participate in VoicePac's live, public TV debate set for Sept. 27.
The poll was conducted by Multi-Quest and pollster John Grimm. The threshold for candidates to appear in the debate was 5-percent or above of the total first choice and leaning vote base, according to a press release on the poll.
With early voting beginning Sept. 30, the New Orleans registrar's office is preparing for busy days.
"Right now we have to make sure that each and every person that registered to vote has updated their address, is complete by the time we get to early voting. We also vote the inmates, we also go to nursing homes, then we have to prepare our early voting machines," said Davanya Tabb, chief deputy registrar of voters for Orleans Parish.
One longtime analyst describes the mayor's race as a three-way contest.
"Three very strong candidates, so the lead is going to rotate," said Silas Lee, a pollster and political analyst who teaches at Xavier University.
According to the Secretary of State's Office data through Sept. 17, there were 257, 208 registered voters in Orleans Parish.
The breakdown by race:
145, 909 --Black
The number of registered voters could edge up before voting begins.
"They have up until Sept. 23 to register online, so it's possible we will get more voters," said Tabb.
The deadline for registering to vote in person has passed.
"In person the deadline was Sept. 13, so now if you have a Louisiana driver's license or ID you can still register online at the Geaux Vote website up until the 23rd," Tabb said.
"Oct. 14th is the physical election date, however, early voting starts on next week September 30, so election day really starts next week and this has re-calibrated the strategies for campaigns," Lee said.
With early voting a big part of the equation, Lee said candidates need to attract chronic voters sooner than later.
"Usually a chronic voter is someone who votes seven or eight out of the last 10 elections…usually they tend to be a little bit, not old, but we say in the 45 and up age group, it depends. More than likely it could be women," stated Lee.
In terms of age groups, here's a look at how the registered voters picture shapes up.
65 and up --46,595
Lee said candidates must make their messages standout to undecided voters.
"Voters are overwhelmed, they have so much information coming at them not only from candidates but from other sources that you have to present your message in way that is digestible, easy to understand and most importantly realistic," said Lee, who did some early polling for Cantrell.
He said the candidates do well to spell out their positions on their campaign websites.
"With forums, debates, more visibility within the next two weeks, you will see probably a candidate gain some momentum," he said.
VoicePac's mayoral debate takes place at Loyola University.
Voice Pac was founded by businessman Sidney Torres who decided against a run for mayor.
The PAC is not endorsing a candidate in the race.