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Tom Shepard, who is coordinating the campaign to re-elect Mayor Jerry Sanders, sent over a recent poll.

The campaign hired Luce Research to call 403 San Diegans and here’s part of what they had to say:

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jerry Sanders is handling his job as Mayor of San Diego?

Approve 62.3%
Disapprove 32.5%
Unsure (Not read) 7.4%

And this:

Mayor Sanders is getting the city’s finances back on track, like he promised. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Agree 64.2%
Disagree 28.3%
Unsure (Not read) 6.9%
Refused (Not read) 0.7%

And one other:

Mayor Sanders and his staff made some mistakes on the Sunroad office building project, but he’s corrected them by ordering the building’s height to be reduced and by instituting changes to ensure similar mistakes won’t be made in the future. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Agree 75.4%
Disagree 16.9%
Unsure (Not read) 6.9%

Refused (Not read) 0.7%

Seems like the question leads the person being polled to a convenient answer. To avoid that, the pollsters should have stopped at “but he’s corrected them.”

After all, they didn’t choose these words haphazardly. They could have just as easily written: “Mayor Sanders appeared to mislead residents about the Sunroad scandal and has displayed an alarming lack of oversight of his own staff members’ actions during the controversy. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?”

But they didn’t, of course.

I asked Shepard about leading his polling subjects to conclusions favorable to his client.

“That’s a standard format for agree or disagree questions all of them lead them to a conclusion. The question is whether they agree or disagree,” he said.

Shepard said there were other questions the pollsters asked but they concerned “campaign strategy” and wouldn’t be shared.

So take these however you’d like. But with this press conference today, and polls like this being waved around, it certainly smells like campaign season.

SCOTT LEWIS
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