Vincent C. Gray's 17-point lead over incumbent Adrian M. Fenty in a recent Washington Post poll has left many observers wondering what it would take for the mayor to prevail in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary.
Well, assistant Washington Post polling analyst Kyle Dropp has been playing with some scenarios, but he didn't find many paths to success for Fenty, based on the poll results.
In one scenario, Dropp matched the results by ward to turnout rates by ward in 2006, when Fenty swept every precinct in the city.
He found that Gray would still lead Fenty 52 percent to 38 percent among likely voters with 6 percent undecided and 4 percent supporting another candidate. Even if all the undecided respondents in the Washington Post poll voted for Fenty, Gray would still be ahead by 8 points, 52 percent to 44 percent among likely voters.
But it should be noted that it would be highly unlikely for all the undecided voters to move toward Fenty, because six in 10 undecided voters are African Americans, a demographic group that favored Gray in the poll by a margin of 64 percent to 19 percent.
In another scenario, Dropp wanted to see what would happen if Fenty succeeds in mobilizing his base in Northwest Washington to get more engaged in the election while Gray's get-out-the-vote effort falls short.
Based on the poll results, if turnout in Fenty strongholds in wards 2 and 3 in Northwest Washington is 10 percent higher on Primary Day than in was in 2006, and turnout in Gray strongholds in wards 7 and 8 was 10 percent lower than four years ago, Gray would still beat Fenty by 10 points, Dropp found.