SAN DIEGO - Kevin Faulconer maintains a commanding lead in the race for San Diego mayor, according to the latest 10News/UT San Diego poll released Sunday morning.
The more interesting race is the one for second place. One time frontrunner Nathan Fletcher is now neck-and-neck with David Alvarez.
Democracy 2013 - Special Election Coverage: http://bit.ly/SDMayor
The 10News/UT San Diego poll of likely voters has Faulconer leading with 40 percent. Fletcher has 24 percent, Alvarez has 22 percent and Mike Aguirre is at the back of the pack with 7 percent.
Even though Faulconer's 40 percent flirts with the 50 percent needed to win it outright, 10News/UT San Diego pollster Jay Leve says the mayor's race will go to a runoff.
"The campaigning will start first thing Wednesday morning," Leve told 10News.
The big question is who will be campaigning against Faulconer, who is almost certain to win Tuesday's special election.
With Fletcher's support waning and momentum building for Alvarez, Leve says, "It's a right race for second place."
Compared to an identical 10News/UT San Diego poll conducted two weeks ago, Fletcher had led Alvarez by 11 points. On Sunday, Fletcher led Alvarez by only two.
Leve said the Latino vote will break the virtual tie between Fletcher and Alvarez and decide who goes to the runoff.
“We've always thought this would be a race for 2nd because the republicans sort of had only one candidate and one choice and we knew that that was going to happen and so we're just betting on our grassroots campaign,” said Alvarez.
In an effort to reel in more Latino votes, Alvarez said he's got Spanish speaking volunteers going door to door, reaching out to San Diego voters who may be on the fence.
"A lot of times the Latino community prefers to be communicated to in Spanish so we're having our Spanish volunteers, Spanish speaking volunteers talk to them,” said Alvarez.
Fletcher though is confident Latino voters are in his corner because of those who've endorsed him.
“When you look at the fact that pretty much every major Latino elected official in San Diego has endorsed me it sends a powerful message,” said Fletcher.
The poll shows Latino voters favor Alvarez over Fletcher by 7 points and favor Alvarez over Faulconer by 3, a larger than expected Latino turnout for Alvarez and one smaller than anticipated for Fletcher.
In a hypothetical matchup between Faulconer and Alvarez, Faulconer wins 51 percent to 38 percent for Alvarez, with 11 percent undecided, according to our 10News/UT San Diego poll. When the pairing is Faulconer and Fletcher, our poll shows Faulconer gets the edge over Fletcher 47 percent to 38 percent, with 14 percent undecided.
According to our exclusive 10News - UT San Diego mayoral poll, Whites and Asians both favor Faulconer.
The 10News/U-T San Diego poll was conducted from Nov. 11-14 by SurveyUSA, and interviewed 700 city of San Diego adults. The margin of sampling error was +/- 4.4 percent on the questions