OAKLAND — A Chamber of Commerce poll released Friday shows Libby Schaaf leading the Oakland race for mayor and wide support for her warning residents about a immigration raid by federal authorities in February.
Homelessness and a lack of affordable housing are the first and second biggest problems facing Oakland, according to the chamber’s annual poll. Five hundred voters took part in the telephone survey conducted from Oct. 7 to Oct. 14.
In the mayor’s race, 50 percent of participants said if the election were held today they would vote for Mayor Schaaf, 17 percent for activist Cat Brooks and another 17 percent for civil rights attorney Pamela Price. None of other seven candidates came close.
The poll results did not account for ranked choice voting, so in the event Schaaf does not receive a majority of first place votes, it’s unclear how numbers would shift once second and third place votes are tallied. Schaaf led among all ethnic groups, the poll showed, but Price has a strong base of African American voters.
Two-thirds of people surveyed strongly approved Schaaf’s action to tip off the community that Bay Area immigration raids were planned by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while 15 percent somewhat approved. In Council District 5, an area with a large Hispanic population, 98 percent totally approved of her decision.
Her action was less popular in Washington D.C., where President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for her to be prosecuted on obstruction of justice charges. Top ICE officials compared Schaaf to a “gang lookout” yelling “police.”
Overall, voters are evenly divided on whether the city is headed in the right or wrong direction, according to the poll. Top problems facing Oakland, in order, were homelessness, a lack of housing for middle-income families, homeless encampments, the cost of rent, displacement of long-term residents, the cost of living and condition of city streets.
Crime was viewed as less serious, with only 19 percent of those surveyed calling crime a extremely serious problem, while 50 percent find it somewhat serious, according to the language used in the poll.
On development, 66 percent agreed housing density would help address the housing crisis, and 41 percent believe housing development is moving too slow. When asked if “newer residents are helping the local economy grow and contributing to improved city services by paying taxes,” 70 percent agreed and 24 percent disagreed.
The annual chamber poll by FM3 Research had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.
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