Bill Peduto has regained the lead in the city's mayoral race, according to a polling firm whose owners support his rival, Jack Wagner.
Keystone Analytics, which is owned by the state Realtors Association and which only began polling political races this year, shows Peduto over Wagner by 39-32 among likely voters. And while the Realtors are backing Wagner with an independent mailing -- more about this later today -- that's a five-point gain for Peduto from the last Keystone Analytics poll, which showed the two frontrunners in a statistical dead heat. The new poll shows that Wagner and Peduto have essentially reversed positions since early April, when Wagner was up 38 to 31, erasing an early Peduto lead.
The poll also reinforces some dynamics that politicos have been mindful of throughout the race: Peduto, of Point Breeze, is strongest in the city's east, while Wagner, who has deep roots in Beechview, polls best in the South Hills. Areas north of the rivers, meanwhile, are up for grabs -- as is the vote in the two city council districts where blacks are in the majority.
That finding will add more scrutiny to a development that broke last week: Peduto's longtime nemesis, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, has been funding the campaign of state Rep. Jake Wheatley, who is black and whose House district overlays much of majority-black council district 6.
Another dynamic at play: Negative ads appear to be taking a toll on both Wagner and Peduto. In the last Keystone survey, carried out April 22-23, poll respondents gave the two men essentially identical favorable/unfavorable ratings: Both candidates were viewed unfavorably by 17 percent of voters, while giving a statistically similar 64 percent/65 percent favorability rating to Wagner and Peduto, respectively.
Those numbers were gleaned just before a raft of negative ads was launched by Peduto -- and by Ravenstahl himself. And in the new polling data carried out since then, Peduto's favorability has fallend from 65 to 51 percent, while Wagner's has dropped from 64 to 49. Peduto's unfavorables have grown by 10 points, while Wagner's have increased by 12.
The margin of error for the poll is 4.9 points, which means that essentially, each campaign has given as good as they've got.
I'll have a bit more on the Keystone poll, and questions surrounding its Wagner ties, later today.