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Wu leads Essaibi George 61 percent to 31 in Emerson/WHDH-TV poll

Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George before their final live mayoral debate on Monday night.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff/Associated Press

A new Emerson College/WHDH-TV poll suggests City Councilor Michelle Wu maintains a commanding lead over City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George in the Boston mayoral race five days before final ballots are cast in the general election.

Wu had nearly double the public support of Essaibi George among likely voters in the poll — 61 percent to 31 percent — with 8 percent of voters undecided, according to data released Thursday night.

The numbers are in line with earlier polling, including a Suffolk University/Boston Globe/NBC10 poll released Oct. 19 that showed Wu leading Essaibi George 62 percent to 30 percent four days before the start of early voting.

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Voters who did not cast a ballot in the September preliminary election were split more evenly, with 46 percent saying they would support Wu and 42 percent backing Essaibi George, Emerson College Polling reported. The poll was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday.

Though the mayoral election is nonpartisan, voters in the poll were divided along party lines, with 72 percent of Democrats favoring Wu and 82 percent of Republicans supporting Essaibi George. Wu fared better among voters with college degrees, garnering 70 percent of their support, while city residents without a degree were split evenly, 45 to 45, with 10 percent saying they were undecided.

More than half of voters polled — 53 percent — said they hadn’t met either candidate, and 63 percent said endorsements for the candidate would not sway their votes.

Poll participants had divergent views on the issue the incoming mayor should make her top priority, with 28 percent saying housing was their biggest concern, 21 percent singling out education, 10 percent each saying crime and police reform, and percentages in the single digits pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic, jobs, transportation, and health care.

Essaibi George supporters were focused on education (28 percent), crime (26 percent), jobs (13 percent), while voters backing Wu identified housing (38 percent), education (18 percent), and police reform (14 percent) as top priorities.

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Among Boston’s at-large City Council candidates, voters showed similar support for incumbents Julia Mejia (48 percent) and Michael Flaherty (45 percent) and lawyer Ruthzee Louijeune (47 percent).

Longtime Boston Public Schools teacher Erin Murphy was in fourth place, with support from 39 percent of voters polled, followed by former Council staffer David Halbert (37 percent), social worker Carla Monteiro (34 percent), ironworker Bridget Nee-Walsh (24 percent), and former councilor Althea Garrison (20 percent).


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.