A sleepy little poll about Atlanta’s runoff for mayor

A pollster called the East Lake home of one of my AJC colleagues, Aaron Gould Sheinin, last night. The topic was the mayoral runoff.

The first screen was whether anyone in the household worked in television or radio. No mention of newspapers.

While his wife answered the questions, Sheinin hopped on the other line and took notes. It was a long questionnaire – so long that the telemarketer fell asleep in the middle. Really.

The questions were equally tough on both Mary Norwood, the front-runner in last week’s voting, and Kasim Reed, who finished a surprisingly strong second. So it sounds more like a legitimate, theme-testing effort rather than a push poll.

Among the questions:

Q: What should be the top priority for the next mayor?

Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the current City Council and how its members are handling their jobs?

Q: Would the endorsement of someone like Lisa Borders make you more or less likely to support one of the candidates?

Q: Which is more important to you in a candidate: A fresh, new perspective or one who follows Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young?

Q: Which candidate do the following qualities and attributes describe?

1. Democrat.

2. Understands problems and concerns of people like him or her.

3. Can bring people together.

4. Is a strong leader.

5. Has integrity and good judgment.

6. Inspires people and offers hope.

7. Has the right experience.

8. Will keep property taxes low.

9. Bring jobs and economic development to Atlanta.

10. Will bring change to City Hall.

11. Will clean up corruption and ethics in City Hall.

12. Is running a negative campaign.

The telemarketer then asked whether certain issues might raise concerns about Reed, and asked her to rate them on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 representing the the most worrisome.

On the list:

1. Reed hasn’t managed his own affairs well and now wants to manage the city council.

2. His solution to the city’s problems, budget problems is to increase taxes and to raise everyone’s share of the burden.

This is where the telemarketer fell asleep. When roused from Atlanta, he said something about Mayor Shirley Franklin hiring Richard Pennington as Atlanta’s police chief, Reed leading the effort to bring him to the city, and “ever since the department has dealt with charges of wide spread corruption.”

At this point the pollster declared he was from New Orleans. “They know from corruption,” he said. “It was all about quotas.”

He then switched to Norwood and went over doubts that might exist over her:

1. Mary Norwood is a Republican campaign contributor and former delegate to a Republican convention. Norwood voted Republican most of the time and Norwood said she couldn’t remember whether she voted for George W. Bush.

2. Norwood talks about putting city finances in order but has helped create the problem by voting for generous pension increases for city employees.

3. Mary Norwood spent more city money on perks than any other member of city council and she gave taxpayer money to her own telemarketing company. Norwood also voted to allow city employees to accept gifts and money for lobbyists.

4. Mary Norwood said she’d be tough on crime, but as a member of city council, Mary Norwood voted twice against spending more money on city police officers and fire fighters. Those policies contributed to furloughs that made the city of Atlanta less safe.

Last question: Would you be more or less likely to support a candidate for mayor who supported gay marriage?

The telemarketer ended with an insightful observation: “This should be a big question in Atlanta, because they have a lot of homosexuals.”

Your confidence in polling just shot through the roof, didn’t it?

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93 comments Add your comment


November 10th, 2009
3:43 pm

My biggest problem with Mary Norwood is not that she’s a Republican, but that she feels she needs to lie about her voting record. She also hasn’t shown that she has any leadership skills. This is an international city…we need a strong leader.


November 10th, 2009
3:45 pm

This is going to be an interesting race. I think a significant number of people who initially supported Norwood will begin to make the distinction between a seemingly nice person and someone who can actually lead a big city.

Solicited 2 Cents

November 10th, 2009
3:47 pm

Kasim Reed is making a stronger push than I expected. He’s appearing more and more mayoral. Mary…not so much.


November 10th, 2009
3:48 pm

I am glad that we have stayed focused over the past few days. The more this race stays on the issues, the more people wil truly see Mary for what she is – A PANDERING PTA PRESIDENT!!

Kasim’s the real leader in this race and he has a vision that will carry this city forward.


November 10th, 2009
3:50 pm

Reed sold me when he started listing his record in the State legislature. I’m still waiting to see how Mary Norwood will counter that. I don’t think she can.

It seems like Mary’s supporters are voting against some undefined force that they tenuously link to Reed rather than voting for Mary.


November 10th, 2009
3:51 pm

I wonder when Borders is gonna announce her endorsement? Same for Spikes. I would think if they both go to Reed, Mary’s goose is cooked. That’s just too much substance to overlook. Everybody can’t be wrong!!

There are so many state leaders, councilmembers and others that support Reed and they were elected to represent the people.



November 10th, 2009
3:53 pm

Kasim is a slimy politician like Shirley, he will do anything to win and continue her/Bill Campbell’s legacy. PS: what about his campaign director stealing Mary Norwood’s signage and leaving it in the car parked at Kasim’s campaign headquarters? Dumb, AND slimy.


November 10th, 2009
3:55 pm

Of course Borders will endorse Reed. Blacks stick together.


November 10th, 2009
3:58 pm


Tell me one thing that Kasim has done that makes him slimy? Don’t spread rumors and lies. Norwood’s already known for doing that on the Northside and that doesn’t set well with other leaders and that’s why she hasn’t gotten much by way of support.


November 10th, 2009
3:58 pm

Mary Norwood all the way. Kasim is only pandering to one segment of this City. We need change, not the same old shady nonsense.


November 10th, 2009
3:59 pm

PoliticOracle must be on Kasim’s payroll.


November 10th, 2009
4:00 pm

Seems the question is whether Atlantans want more of the Jackson political machine. Been in power for better part of 35 years, Andrew Young aside. Reed ran Shirley Franklin’s campaigns, so if you would like more of Shirley Franklin/Bill Campbell/Maynard Jackson, vote for Mr. Reed. If you’d rather try something else, vote for Ms. Norwood.

Pretty simple, isn’t it?


November 10th, 2009
4:02 pm


Blacks stick together? Is that all you can say? Studies have proven that whites, especially those in the south, vote more often than any other group on the basis of race. And what do you say about all the white elected officials and others that have endorsed Reed?

You people kill me, thiking you can speak for blacks and you know so much. If blacks stick together, why did Norwood get up to 30% of the vote in some black districts, with 3 other major candidates in the race? You know why, because most blacks vote substance and party. Whites vote race!! There is no way the dumbest and least effective councilmember for the past 8 years should recieve 75% of the white vote. That, my friend, is what us political scholars call knee-jerk, race voting.

So the fact of the matter is, WHITE PEOPLE STICK TOGETHER!!

Kasim is Bill Campbell II

November 10th, 2009
4:03 pm

Corruption continues in Atlanta under Kasim Reed. The guy tried to talk to me last weekend… what a slimebag. Mary Norwood is the lesser of the two evils. You know what happens if Kasim gets elected. More corrupt black leadership. Let’s make a change.


November 10th, 2009
4:10 pm

@Kasim is Bill Campbell II

Please share with me what Kasim has done that is corrupt or slimey. We are now in a run-off my friend, if you can’t substiante your claims you should probably reserve them.

Norwood has been councils biggest spender and she couldn’t recall (BAD ACTING) her presidential votes over the past few elections. That’s slimey pander at its worst.


mission man

November 10th, 2009
4:10 pm

“Studies have proven that whites, especially those in the south, vote more often than any other group on the basis of race.”

I think in Georgia, there are more black elected officials representing majority white districts, than white elected officials representing majority black districts.

Rid the Same Old Politics

November 10th, 2009
4:10 pm

“Kasim is a slimy politician like Shirley, he will do anything to win and continue her/Bill Campbell’s legacy. PS: what about his campaign director stealing Mary Norwood’s signage and leaving it in the car parked at Kasim’s campaign headquarters? Dumb, AND slimy.”

Reed’s team put his sign in front of our Mary Norwood sign without our permission. I had to run out there and tell him to get off my property! The NERVE!!!


November 10th, 2009
4:12 pm

Also, did you know that Norwood hsa hired a bunch of Bill Campbell’s old team to run her campaign? Be careful what you say.


November 10th, 2009
4:18 pm

@mission man

Your’re not being paid to come on here and think. Your claim is patently false, in fact its quite the opposite in Georgia. There are several districts, municipalities and counties that are majority black and are headed by white leadership. Augusta’s mayor, Atlanta City Council District 1, Ga. Legislative district 56 and 59 are all held by whites in majority black districts.

Captain Midnight

November 10th, 2009
4:22 pm

@ PoliticOracle, You’re %97 percent behind “The community organizer” Kidding right? I’m having trouble seeing your point past all the Clayton county campaign signs with the ‘photographs so yall know who the brothas and sisters runnin’ are. Having trouble hearing you over gunfire coming out of Clayton. Please spare us the “we don’t vote along racial lines” crap. 97% behind a community organizer over a decorated war hero. Sell it somewhere else, we ain’t buyin.

Captain Midnight

November 10th, 2009
4:25 pm

If whites are leading in black majority districts, then it’s only because they havn’t figured out that they are the majority.


November 10th, 2009
4:31 pm

@Captain Midnight

John McCain was a horrible candidate, in that he pandered to the looniest of loons on the right and nominated bimbo Palin for VP. Black voters and 43% of white voters had no choice. Also, that community organizer has pulled the horrid economy that Bushy created back from the brink and taken us further than any president in history on healthcare reform. Face it Obama was a good choice for all those African Americans and whites. HE WASNT A PART OF THE PROBLEM. MOST OF THE BAD DECISIONS MADE BY THE CITY THAT TOOK US DOWN THE WRONG ROAD, NORWOOD SUPPORTED.

Kasim has called out Mayor Franklin for her mistakes and he even gave her a lower grade than Norwood did. I’m not buying your crap either. Facts are facts brother, white folks vote based on race in the south.


November 10th, 2009
4:32 pm

Kasim is more of the same….a shadow of Shirley F. and Bill C. ….. this election is to important to continue politics as usual…..


November 10th, 2009
4:33 pm


Norwood is politics as usual. Pander to the base and spend big!


November 10th, 2009
4:38 pm

@ PoliticOracle

Political Scholar? Why don’t you tell us who you really are. You appear to be taking on the self appointed moderator role for this forum with the need to attack any positive statement about Mary Norwood. If I said that you are a racist black man (which you are) and that anything posted here by you is so motivated instead of a genuine belief that Kasim Reed is a better candidate, for reasons other than he is black, you would disagree with me. Right? – but that is your real motivation

Native Atlantan

November 10th, 2009
4:39 pm

ted, and all who believe what the local dem-machine has concocted:
be informed. check things out.


November 10th, 2009
4:42 pm

Neither of these tools are competent enough to run a major city, but Norwood is the lesser of two evils. How the heck can anyone justify hiring the police chief of a city which boasts one of the worst crime rates in the country? The only reason crime went down in New Orleans was a little storm called Katrina. Not Pennington. The man wouldn’t even take action after several Tech students were robbed and assaulted on or very near campus. It took the death of a BLACK student at a black university for the police to do something. Tell me that’s not effed up…..


November 10th, 2009
4:57 pm

Interestingly enough it was reported in this past Sunday’s “AJC” that 10% of Reed’s donations were from persons or organizations that had ties to Hartsfield. Which is the same reason Shirley Franklin is pushing the contract renewal through for Hartsfield and its’ business concessions etc….Reed can then continue to benefit from the ATM that Hartsfield has become. Campbell = Franklin = Reed!

City Employee

November 10th, 2009
5:00 pm

If you all are apprehensive, how do you think those of us who work in City Hall are feeling? Yikes…we’ll lose regardless of who’s elected!


November 10th, 2009
5:07 pm

Reed will be the next Mayor… He has all the momentum of endorsements, and the electricity of his campaign is palpable. Norwood’s is non-existent.


November 10th, 2009
5:11 pm

@ newA – all of his “endorsements” are coming from out of state(except Jim Martin – who hoo). He doesn’t have any endorsements from organizations, neighborhood associations or business groups in the city. I truly hope you’re wrong in your prediction. This city will go under with him at the realm.

Captain Midnight

November 10th, 2009
5:19 pm

@ PoliticOracle, Sorry but they had no choice? A senior Senator, war hero and a duly elected Governor/chief executive and a Junior Senator/ community organizer who didn’t even finish his first term? Obama hasn’t accomplished anything. Oh’ wait, he did win the Nobel peace prize for what he might do and he’ll probably win the Cy Young award for throwin out the first pitch at the All-star game. He’s a lame duck and rightfully so.


November 10th, 2009
5:26 pm

Good job, you’re making Reed look worse. Thanks!
Also, so on election day my buddy drove by a group of folks on a street corner stumping for Reed. One shouted: “Hey man, hey! You’re black, brother, you know what I mean! Come vote for Kasim!” I wonder “what he meant.” My friend thought it was kind of funny, and so did I, but it also told me a lot about this race. Race.
@Rob: Well, don’t forget Ludacris. I mean his endorsement means everything, right? “Hey, I got famous rapping about beating the s*** outta women, so I know, uh, a lot about politics and stuff.”

Captain Midnight

November 10th, 2009
5:31 pm

@Jed, be careful how you talk bout Luda. Thats Obamas favorite rapper remember? “McCain belong in a wheelchair” Classy bunch.


November 10th, 2009
5:54 pm

Honestly, not that the man can’t have an opinion, but it bugs me when entertainers act like they know about running a government. I just wish people would be honest, and just tweet, “Vote for the black dude.” For example, exactly what about Kasim Reed causes non-native P.Diddy to endorse him? Say it ain’t just the color of his skin, NO! Is it about keeping a white person out of office? NO!


November 10th, 2009
6:05 pm

Boy has Reed ever pulled the wool over y’alls eyes. I don’t call him Kasim because that’s not his real name. His birth name is Mohammed! He is trying hard to keep anyone from knowing the truth about his background just like B. Hussein Obama.

Do we need the capital of our state being run by a muslim? Just like B. Hussein Obama he claims to be a Christian but be real, until a few years ago no one with those names were in office and now they are everywhere trying to take over.

A vote for Mohammed “Kasim” Reed is a vote for the dark ages. A vote for Mary Norwood is a vote for traditional Georgia values. If Mohammed steals this election from Mary Norwood, those of us in Buckhead will succed and take our money with us. He can rule over the decayed ruins of what is left of the city we’ve been supporting too long. Norwood or No Atlanta!


November 10th, 2009
6:15 pm

Excuse me are we still the city that’s to busy to hate.


November 10th, 2009
6:28 pm

Hold your horses James. If Buckhead “succeds” (look it up dude – secedes), who’s tax dollars are going to pay for 750 new officers and all of those rec centers?

No Morris, the real slogan should have been “too polite to hate publicly”. That got hijacked by a mayor who supported racist campaign ads and threatens to go “all Philly” on you. The anti-Shirley vote is Reed’s biggest obstacle.

Carl - E

November 10th, 2009
6:33 pm

Kasim is the same culture of corruption that we have now. Are we really happy with the current state of the city. Unemployment, crime, taxes….


November 10th, 2009
6:58 pm

Hey, I got a similar call this afternoon, but from the other candidate’s camp. Mine definitely was more of talking-point testing and seeing whether the votes from Nov. 3 will remain in place on Dec. 1.


November 10th, 2009
7:10 pm

Further proof that Mary Norwood is a pandering, untrustworthy politician. As a gay man, I’m sick of no good politicians pandering to my community when they have no intention of supporting us. Kasim Reed doesn’t have to pander because he actually has a record of standing up for LGBT issues. Mary should be ashamed.

Some Other Mike

November 10th, 2009
7:13 pm

So much fail here…I feel sorry for the folks who will be stuck working under either remaining candidate and their administration(s).

Sen. Reed has completely pissed me off, however. He claimed alignment with the Obama administration as a means of funding campaign promises and winning the ‘water war’, then played the race card, and might have done all three in the same breath. I’ll have to watch a replay to get the exact timing.

After these shenanigans, it will be damaging to the White House to give this guy the time of day, particularly when they’ve already established working relationships with states (including the ones controlled by confirmed (R)’s ).

Borders’ campaign was sending email to the address I used for Obama/Biden ‘08, through June. No other campaign picked up the slack. By that measure, she was the actual D.C. connection, not Reed. So I think all the folks that bit on the “I’m the Democrat, she’s a Republican (and she is, too)” line, all took a sucker bet.

Unmask Mary

November 10th, 2009
7:15 pm

It’s sad that Mary’s pulled the wool over the eyes of some people in my community. She used taxpayer money to court and pander to communities around the city, but refused to make the right decision on any of the most pressing issues. I’m a member of the gay community and I’m outraged by her antics!!!!

Unmask Mary

November 10th, 2009
7:17 pm

Mary’s using polls to figure out where she stands on issues? LOL. So much for principles and convictions.

Ya tu sabes

November 10th, 2009
7:20 pm


Does this hold true for white entertainers when they endorse a candidate or run for office? You educated southerners kill me. I moving back to south america.


November 10th, 2009
7:22 pm

Mary Norwood wonders why she can’t find any public officials to endorse her other than the ones she paid (i.e. Ralph Long and wannabe politician Glenn “Pay Me…I’m Broke” Thomas). It’s because they have no respect for her and can see through her little games.

J Rush

November 10th, 2009
7:35 pm

I am a 37 year old black man and I can’t wait for the house cleaning to begin. Reed has no chance in a runoff. Borders knows this. She is a sore LOSER! Mary can begin by firing all of city hall and re-hiring the police officers and firemen who were laid off. Atlanta needs a mayor that will work for all atlantans and not just the african american ones…

Also Reed is not a political leader. He used to work for a law firm that had some pretty questionable clientele. Now there is a story for you. Dig into that and you will find some interesting info. So what if Mary is a glorified PTA president. Its better than another corrupt african american politician…


November 10th, 2009
9:56 pm


Mary Norwood paid neither Ralph Long nor Glenn Thomas for their endorsements. In fact, Rep. Long gave money to Norwood’s campaign. Check the disclosures.


November 10th, 2009
11:05 pm


I have not once stated my race, gender or personal identity on this comment post. I have and will continue to post comments to this blog under my handle PolitOracle. You don’t know if I’m male or female, black or white, so don’t make assumptions. Furthermore, stop trying to distract us by making my arguments against Mary racial. I’ve not once mentioned Mary’s race as a weakness or a reason not to support her. Until I decided to support Reed, I made unfavorable comments on all the candidates based on facts and I will continue to share truth. Reed needs to commit to his family not working for the city in any capacity (although city code already prohiibits it).

I am not a staffer for any campaign, though I am a certified political junky with a bachelors and masters to show for it. I know policy, I know budgets and I know incompetence and Norwood is certainly the latter. How about refuting my claims as opposed to attacking my character. I have in no way attacked yours or Norwood’s all I’ve done is presented facts. If I’m wrong, refute them. I’ve been known to retract and apologize when I was wrong because I don’t operate on bias, just substance. Dr. King described the highest form of thinking is thinking that expells bias.

Mary Norwood has been good at answering (her staff) the phone and showing up at meetings and that’s about it. She’s never lead on any policy issue that had a blanket effect in the city, she’s known in city hall as an ambulance chaser and she doesn’t have much respect from her council colleagues and other elected officials. These things can be substantiated. She’s a weak leader, with very little understanding for the big issues and for that matter I believe Kasim Reed is the right choice for mayor and that he will beat her Dec. 1st.

Please do better defending YOUR candidate and stop trying to distract us from the facts. BE SUBSTANTIVE!!


November 10th, 2009
11:14 pm


Did you know Long’s wife gave Kasim money? Check the disclosure her name is Erica Long and she’s an Attorney with King and Spaulding, I believe. I wonder if Ralphy knows that? People are currying for favor and you’d be surprised what they do to get it. Ralph Long has no credibility and he spends his days looking for issues to blame on others, when he’s an elected official himself now. Sounds like Mary huh? Everybody’s responsible for messing up but me, even though I’ve been on council for the past 8 years. Give me a break!! Better yet, give me real leadership! That’s right, we have it in Kasim and Jim Martin, Karla Drenner, Nan Orrock, Pat Gardner, Cathy Ashe, David Adelman, Hank Johnson, Creative Loafing, Sunday Paper, Donkelephant (Independents), Georgia Labor Council and a host of others agree that he’s best suited for the job.