Councilman Eric Garcetti and Controller Wendy Greuel appear to be headed to a May 21 runoff election in the race to be the next mayor of L.A., according to a new USC Price / L.A. Times poll.
Garcetti has 27 percent of the vote to Greuel's 25 percent -- a statistical tie. Former radio host Kevin James trails with 15 percent, followed by Councilwoman Jan Perry at 14%. Emanuel Pleitez takes 5 percent, and 14 percent are undecided.
The primary election will be held on Tuesday.
The poll was conducted Feb. 24-27, with a sample size of 500 likely voters. The margin of error is 4.4 percent.
The survey also took a look at the mood of the electorate, finding that only 36 percent believe that things in the city of L.A. are moving in the right direction, while 48 percent believe that the city is on the wrong track. Views of the incumbent, Antonio Villaraigosa, are polarized, with 47 percent having a positive view and 44 percent an unfavorable view.
In that environment, the poll found strong support for Greuel's message of cleaning up waste, fraud and abuse. Nearly 80 percent backed that message, according to the Times. The survey also found strong support for Garcetti's argument that he has made tough budget decisions, with greater than 70 percent support.
The pollster found that the race is still volatile, with 46 percent of those who have picked a candidate saying they could still change their minds. However, after two solid months of campaigning, the race appears to be right where it began -- with Garcetti and Greuel at the top of the heap, and the others trailing well behind.
The Weekly posted a leaked poll
last Monday from a pro-Greuel source, which also showed Greuel and Garcetti advancing to the runoff.
Greuel leads among white voters, with 28 percent to Garcetti's 24 percent. James takes 20 percent and Perry 10.5 percent.
Garcetti leads among Latinos, with 37 percent. Greuel trails with 19 percent. Perry takes 11.6 percent and Pleitez 11.5 percent. James has 9.1 percent.
The Latino share of the survey is 26 percent, which seems about right. White voters make up 51 percent. The black and Asian samples were too small to be statistically reliable.