Jobs, Not Ethics, Most Important Issue for Voters in D.C. Mayoral Primary, Poll Says

Jobs and the economy -- not ethics -- are most important to voters in April's D.C. mayoral primary, according to a new NBC4 poll.

Forty-four percent of local Democrats ranked jobs and the economy as the biggest factor in deciding how to vote, the NBC4/WAMU/Washington Informer/Marist poll showed.

Just half that number, 22 percent, ranked ethics as the biggest issue. An equal percentage said housing was most important, while 11 percent said crime. Two percent were unsure.

The poll showed Mayor Vincent Gray leading in the primary race at 28 percent among likely voters, with Councilmember Muriel Bowser within striking distance at 20 percent, and a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percent.

Illustrating the widespread concern over jobs and the economy, Gray's poll numbers are substantially higher among likely voters from households making less than $75,000. Gray has the support of 36 percent of those respondents, with Bowser getting just 19 percent.

Among households making $75,000 or more, Bowser edges Gray slightly, 21 to 20 percent.

However, the ongoing investigation into Gray's 2010 campaign finances seems to be weighing on many voters' minds.

More than half of Democrats, 53 percent, said they're less likely to vote for Gray due to the investigation, while 36 percent said it makes no difference. Seven percent said they are more likely to vote for him because of it.

A majority think Gray was somehow involved with the finance scandal: 24 percent of Democrats believe Gray did something illegal during his 2010 campaign, and 46 percent think he did something unethical, but not illegal. Fifteen percent said he did nothing wrong.

Opinions on what's the biggest issue in the race seem split along racial lines.

Half of African-American Democrats said the economy and jobs are their top priority, while 43 percent of white Democrats selected ethics as their leading issue.

White voters are also less likely than black voters to support Gray given the campaign finance investigation. More than 80 percent of white Democrats said they're less likely to back Gray because of it, compared to just 33 percent of black Democrats.

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