Scoop: Mayor Pete's South Bend polling

The mayor leads the Democratic field in his hometown.

By Adam Wren and design by Kris Davidson

In one of his last acts as both mayor and presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg commissioned a poll of his own South Bend constituents showing he leads the Democratic field and President Trump in a hypothetical matchup—and that the city’s non-white voters approve of his time in office.

The poll comes at a time when Buttigieg is defending his record in South Bend.

Buttigieg hinted at the polling on the trail yesterday.

“In South Bend, Indiana, right now, I’m winning,” he said at a stop in Las Vegas. “I don’t know if we’ve pushed that polling out or not. I’m making news right now...I don’t usually get into poll numbers, but I think it’s important to share that.”

The poll, conducted by Change Research from Dec. 16-18, shows that “a significant majority of South Bend voters have a positive view of his tenure in office, seeing real improvements in their day to day lives and the economy as a result of his mayorship,” according to a memo obtained by IMPORTANTVILLE. The pollster used a sample size of 406 South Bend voters, and the margin of error is 4.8%. (FiveThirtyEight’s Pollster Ratings rank Change Research as a “C” pollster.) Interestingly, the poll targeted 2019 mayoral voters: 88% of respondents said they voted in the 2019 mayor's race—roughly 15% of voters.

“With Pete’s time as mayor coming to a close, the campaign conducted a poll of South Bend residents which found an overwhelming majority have a positive view of his time in office and saw real improvements in their day to day lives,” a campaign spokesperson said. “The poll also found an overwhelming majority of South Bend voters support Pete’s candidacy for president, including a significant majority of voters of color.”

Among Democratic primary voters, Buttigieg leads the field with 26%, ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden (18%), Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (17%) and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (16%); 78% back Buttigieg’s candidacy, including 69% of non-white voters; 62% of voters favor Buttigieg in a hypothetical matchup with Trump, who garners 28%.

Some 70% percent of South Bend voters say that “life in South Bend as a result of Mayor Pete has generally gotten better.” Among non-white voters, the figure rises to 76%.

When it comes to the mayor’s handling of the South Bend Police officer-involved shooting of Eric Logan, voters surveyed approved of his actions by a 3-to-1 margin, at 55% to 15%, with 31% uncertain. Among non-white voters, that approval falls to 48%, while 16% felt the steps taken were negative, with 36% uncertain.

The mayor’s terms as mayor come to an end on Jan. 1.