The first poll of the Louisville mayor's race shows Republican Hal Heiner and Democrat Greg Fischer neck and neck. Not only is neither candidate running away with it, but they are dead even. 45 percent each for Fischer and Heiner.
WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll
538 Likely voters
Margin of error +/- 4.3%
Click here for the full WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll, including crosstabs.
Often, candidates dismiss polls for one reason or another. But this time - both say the poll is accurate.
"It's about where we thought it was going to be," said Fischer, "We felt like it was going to be a very close race from day one."
"These numbers confirm what we've been hearing all summer," Heiner said, "When we've been out at fairs and festivals and going door to door. And I have to say there is a very high level of interest in this race."
Tied with three months to go, much has been said about the possibility of Heiner becoming the first Republican mayor in Louisville in 40 years. But, that's referring to the old city of Louisville, before merger. All of Jefferson County is voting in this race, not just within the historical city limits.
"Republicans have won county wide. Democrats have won county wide," Fischer said in an interview, "This is going to be a close race."
"We've seen in the past county judge executive races that the voters have really focused on issues and not so much on party," added Heiner.
With Democrats outnumbering Republicans in Jefferson County nearly 2-1, Heiner needs Democrats to cross party lines.
and enough are to make this race a dead heat. 21 percent of Democrats are siding with Heiner...
"They need to come home," said Fischer, "and quite a few Republicans are coming over to vote for me as well. This race is about problem solving, job creation."
Ten percent of Republican voters are crossing over to vote for Fischer. While Tea Party backers support Heiner, neither candidate believes that this mayor's race is a reflection of national concerns. But..
"... certainly from a fiscal conservative stanpoint and making sure that we make efficient use of tax dollars, I think that's universal," Heiner said.
"The political climate is not good for insiders," Fischer argued, "Obviously I;m the outsider. I'm the fresh face in this race as well."
And what about race in this race? While Heiner has an eight point advantage among white voters, Fischer has a 57 point edge among African-Americans.
Though the race is tied among all voters, it shows a remarkable 35 point gender gap.
While men favor Heiner by 17 points,
Women prefer Fischer by 18 points.
"I think that's a good thing because men typically like women and that means men are going to come over and be for me as well," Fischer said.
Is he saying women make the decisions in the household?
"Usually that's the way it works," Fischer laughed.
"I am running to represent all Louisvillians in this government and growing opportunity in this community. I think we all agree on that, making sure we have a culture of open, honest affordable government," said Heiner.