Poll angers Dayton mayor candidates

A telephone poll conducted on behalf of Dayton City Commissioner Nan Whaley’s mayoral campaign has her opponents crying foul, calling it a “push poll” meant to plant misleading information not collect data.

The Whaley campaign denies the allegation calling the survey a legitimate “scientific poll” collecting data on the attitudes and opinions of 400 likely voters.

“Survey methodology followed standard practices for political polling, including interviewing approximately 80 voters on their mobile phone,” Uriah Anderson, spokesman for the campaign said.

Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell said he received a partial audio recording of a survey sent to him by a citizen who was polled. Dayton City Commission candidate David Esrati posted an edited version of the audio recording on his website. Listen to it here.

The partial recording starts with the pollster — from Survey Sampling International — asking questions related to why voters may not want to support the candidacy of Leitzell or former Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge A.J. Wagner, Whaley’s opponents. The survey began with questions related to why voters may not want to cast ballots for Whaley, according to the citizen who emailed Leitzell the recording. That part of the conversation was not audio taped.

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Anderson, on Monday, confirmed the audio recording was from their poll, but said the recording did not include the complete survey. Anderson refused to provide the Dayton Daily News with a copy of the survey questions, saying the campaign does not comment on specifics of internal campaign strategy.”

“I am disgusted,” Leitzell posted on www.daytonmayor.com. “Commissioner Whaley has disgraced herself and has proven that she can never be a role model for our children. She really needs to apologize to the citizens of Dayton for attempting to divide the community.”

One of the poll questions included the statement, “Leitzell recently commented on a blog that he wants to raise his pay as mayor to $90,000 a year.”Leitzell said Whaley should “probably resign her seat as City Commissioner because she is not acting in the best interests of the city and should be ashamed of what she is allowing to happen.”

The mayor said he had jokingly posted a comment on a local blog that his aide had resigned and that he would love to get paid more to handle his own scheduling.

Leitzell wrote, “If the people want to pay me $90,000 so my wife can quit work and be a stay at home mom and full time educator I could handle it. Even if I had to print all those proclamations and type out the marriage certificates myself.

As a possible reason not to vote for Wagner, the pollster said: The state bar association gave Wagner the worst rating of an Ohio judge in 2006.

Wagner was one of six candidates rated by the Ohio State Bar Association’s Commission on Judicial Candidates as part of its evaluation of the judges seeking election to the state Supreme Court that year.

The rankings ranged from “highly recommended” to “adequate.” Wagner was the only candidate who got an“adequate” ranking, which means he received a favorable overall evaluation by at least 55 percent of the commission.

Wagner, in his ninth run for elected office, says the question “twists the truth” because he still got a favorable rating.

“This is not unexpected from your enemies. It is unexpected from your friends,” Wagner said.

Whaley and Wagner are both Democrats. Whaley’s petitions for election have been certified. Wagner and Leitzell have not yet officially made the ballot. If more than two candidates qualify, there will be a primary election on May 7. The top two vote-getters then move on to the November election.

“We need to talk about issues to move this city forward, not this stuff,” Wagner said.

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