PREDICTION: St. George Mayor’s Race: Pike Wins! NEW VIDEO!

Well, it’s been quite a while since I posted an update on my statistical analysis on either the St. George mayoral or city council races, so I think it’s about time to update my prediction — at least on the mayor’s race…council coming soon.

NEW VIDEO: Jerry Campbell with the AOPC ask Tara Dunn a question from Kris Neal regarding the St. George Animal Shelter. Jon Pike Comments as does Ed Baca.

One of the reasons I waited so long is I was hoping to gather as much information as possible to update my assessment of the races. Drawing from multiple components, including debate performances, signage, other marketing, word on the street, base of support, known ground game and overall sentiment, I do my best to let each of those components influence, at an appropriate level, their effects on the result.

I have twice now gone on record stating that I think Jon Pike likely has this race won, but that early assessment was presuming that this election cycle played out fairly similarly to how the last three elections had gone, in terms of overall interest, campaigning and the other factors mentioned above.

In many ways, I feel like the mayoral race has been fairly “business as usual” for both Jon Pike and Dan McArthur. Similar to prior campaigns, Jon is marketing fairly heavily, has been out strong with plenty of signage, has debated fairly well, and overall has run a fairly strong race. I would also say similarly that Dan McArthur has lots of signage, has certainly been making plenty of public appearances, has had mixed performances at the debates and seems to be shoring up his base well.

That said, there have also been a few irregularities this go-round. McArthur has been beleaguered this time out by not one but two scandals. First, there was the animal shelter investigation, and now the CAITS group is implicating him as partially responsible for the overzealous code enforcement laws and their application. The effects of these allegations are a little bit hard to predict; however, I don’t think they help McArthur as much as they hurt him. In the wake of the scandals, new voters and the general public may be driven to support Pike, but on the other hand these attacks are likely to galvanize his base to the ballot box to defend his performance record… McArthur has impacted many people’s lives in his 20 years as mayor and 10 years as a councilman prior to that — both for the good and for the bad. Many people I’ve talked to like the mayor but feel like he’s served his time…that’s the sentiment I hear more often than not and it backs up my previous predictions.

Jon Pike has been a sitting council member for nearly six years, so these scandals don’t completely exclude him. He’s even gone so far as to defend the mayor in regard to the ordinances, saying he and the council are responsible for approving such ordinances…although he wasn’t on the council when the ordinances in question were passed. He also fell on the sword a bit in regard to the animal shelter, stating that the collective council and all administration are responsible…which they are, and many feel Jon is the only one to admit responsibility.

I’m not convinced that either of these factors will largely influence my prediction, since I’ve stated previously I think Pike has likely got this thing won. So I’ll go ahead and state again that I think Jon Pike will win this election by a sizeable margin. My best prediction currently puts Pike in a comfortable 1,000+ vote win. McArthur has had fairly consistent support his last three elections, averaging 5,860 votes (he received 5,938 in 2001, 6,055 in 2005, and 5,622 in 2009). He had just a bit of a dip in support in 2009 when he faced his most formidable opponent, Ed Baca. Baca seemingly did pull some votes away from McArthur, and it’s completely believable Jon Pike will, as well…but the population of voters has also consistently grown…question is are those new folks voting for McArthur? History would say no. I’ll give McArthur a vote range of 5,200 to 5,900. That’s going way out on a limb, incorporating my best guess on turnout percentage, as well, which I think will be near 33 percent of the 36,000+ registered voters in St. George.

Pike has had very good performance in his two elections, garnering first place among the council candidates in both general elections of 2007 and 2011. He actually has the highest vote total for any St. George municipal election, reaching nearly 9,000 votes in 2007 — a year of high turnout because of a school bond. We are voting on a school bond this year but it’s had much less publicity, and I don’t think it will have the effect seen in 2007. I’m betting Pike will end up with between 6,100 and 7,000 votes. So even in my worst case scenario for Pike, he still wins by a couple hundred votes.

The only other anecdotal information I have that supports a Pike win is The Spectrum’s online poll, showing a blowout for him, 65 percent to 35 percent. I don’t think we’ll see that kind of a one-sided turnout, but I do think this data reinforces the theory that there is a lot of support currently for Pike.

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