Michelle Wu starts the final mayoral election with a 48 percent to 28 percent lead over Annissa Essaibi George, according to a poll released by a group called Policy for Progress this week.
The big gap begs the question: Is this race over already?
Recent history would suggest it is not. Public opinion surveys showed Marty Walsh running far behind John Connolly at a similar point in the 2013 race for mayor. And he came back to win.
It’s also clear that there is a market for Essaibi George’s moderate brand of politics.
She finished in the top two in the preliminary election, after all, securing a spot in the final. And a Boston Globe poll from earlier this summer shows that about half of the city’s voters identify as moderate or conservative.
Eric Adams’s victory in New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary also offers some hope for an upset.
Like Essaibi George, Adams ran to the right of his liberal rivals and put an emphasis on public safety. And he picked up a lot of working-class Black and Latino votes in the process.
But Adams, who is Black, has an easier time appealing to voters of color than his Boston counterpart. Essaibi George, whose father emigrated from Tunisia and mother is Polish-American, hasn’t done nearly as well among Black and Latino voters.
The new survey, putting her head-to-head with Wu, suggests that problem could carry into the final election.
The poll of 522 likely voters, conducted Sept. 10-11 by Public Policy Polling, shows Wu leading Essaibi George by 15 points among Latino voters, 33 points among Black voters, and 42 points among Asian American voters.
Even white voters, considered a vital demographic for Essaibi George, prefer Wu by a substantial margin — 13 points.
Essaibi George will, no doubt, try to improve her standing among white voters. But the Globe’s June survey shows they are actually more likely to identify as “liberal” or “very liberal” than Black and Latino voters.
That suggests that her clearest path to a surprise victory runs not through white Boston but through the Black and Latino communities where she has struggled.