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Wu holds considerable lead over Essaibi George in Boston mayoral race, new MassINC, WBUR poll shows

Mayoral candidates Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu.
Mayoral candidates Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu.

A new poll shows that Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu — who has racked up a number of key endorsements — holds a significant lead over fellow City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George in the historic race to be the city’s next mayor.

With fewer than three weeks left until the general election, Wu leads Essaibi George by 32 percentage points, with 57 percent to Essaibi George’s 25 percent, according to the poll.

The survey of 500 likely registered Boston voters was conducted by MassINC Polling Group for WBUR, the Dorchester Reporter, and the Boston Foundation. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

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Wu, who received the most votes in the preliminary election, maintains a wide lead among white, Black, Latino, and Asian voters, according to the poll — 57 percent of Black voters said they would support her or lean towards her, along with 57 percent of white voters, 62 percent of Latino voters, and 63 percent of Asian voters.

In comparison, of those likely to vote in the upcoming election, 31 percent of white voters said they would support or were leaning towards Essaibi George, along with 14 percent of Black voters, 20 percent of Latino voters, and 11 percent of Asian voters.

Nineteen percent of voters surveyed said they remain undecided.

As the two candidates head into their first debate on Wednesday, both are likely to make strong appeals to Black voters in the city, a crucial part of the electorate.

Wu was also found to be viewed more favorably by Bostonians than Essaibi George, the poll showed. Approximately 61 percent of those surveyed reported that they view Wu favorably compared to just 37 percent for Essaibi George. Wu’s favorability also ranked higher than that of Governor Charlie Baker.

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Of those likely to vote for Wu, respondents said that controlling housing costs was a top-priority issue for them in the race, followed closely by improving Boston public schools. Supporters of Essaibi George counted improving schools as their top issue, followed by toughness on crime.

Wu, who has earned the support of high-profile leaders including Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, has endorsed more progressive policy positions on issues including rent control and climate change.

But Essaibi George, who has courted the support of several influential unions, stood out from her competition early in being the sole candidate to favor bolstering the city’s police force.

In the preliminary election, Wu dominated in more progressive and liberal areas of the city, according to detailed election data. Meanwhile, Essaibi George garnered more support from white, more conservative neighborhoods.


Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.