OIB Poll: Mary-Jane Foster Gains Ground On Finch

Two months from a Democratic mayoral primary, challenger Mary-Jane Foster has pulled to within seven points of Mayor Bill Finch in the latest public opinion poll of likely voters conducted by OIB.

Foster greets supporters
Mary-Jane Foster greets supporters at her mayoral announcement in April

OIB commissioned the Merriman River Group to screen 565 likely Democratic primary voters. Finch leads Foster, co-founder of the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball team, 41 percent to 34 percent in a head-to-head matchup with the remaining percentage unsure or preferring another candidate. Finch led Foster 45 to 30 percent in the prior OIB poll conducted in May. Two other announced Democrats in the field, former Finch administration official John Gomes and multi-mayoral candidate Charlie Coviello, have yet to resonate with voters. Finch leads Gomes 48 percent to 22 percent while Finch leads Coviello 54 percent to 14 percent.

Finch appears to be getting some blowback, but not dramatic, from the announcement last week that the state has assumed control of the Bridgeport public school system. Education moved up a notch in this sampling as a key issue among voters, but still lags property taxes as the major issue. The OIB poll was conducted July 6 and 7, at the height of the education takeover announcement. The sampling also was taken just days after voters received their property tax bills that included no tax increase. By a 53 to 25 percent margin Democrats responded they think the city is headed in the wrong direction. This creates opportunities for opponents.

Finch pointing
Finch leads Foster by seven points as education becomes front and center.

What does this all mean? Foster has gained traction by blistering Finch’s promises as a candidate–in a heavy paid radio campaign and news releases–particularly his pledge in 2007 to cut taxes $600. Property taxes is the biggest concern among voters. She has also criticized Finch’s handling of city finances and education. In order to close the gap she must contrast what Finch has done with what she will do as mayor, particularly in the areas of schools and job creation, another key issue among voters. Finch is a well financed incumbent and if his handlers see Foster as a threat look for a lot of return fire from the Finch camp in areas they see Foster as vulnerable, such as her former ownership in the Bridgeport Bluefish and disconnect from a majority of the city as a resident of upscale Black Rock. Also look for Finch in the coming weeks to hammer home to voters why state control of schools is a reform measure and not a failure.

John Gomes
Is Gomes in it to win it? Or is he a spoiler?

Foster runs closest to Finch in all demographic areas among current primary challengers. Why haven’t Gomes and Coviello resonated? It’s tough to compete when you don’t have money. Movement for both of them has been marginal since the last OIB poll. They are still factors in the race because polling shows they are taking votes away from Foster. More on that coming in a follow-up post.

Merriman River has conducted public opinion polls for OIB since 2009. It was the only pollster to call Dan Malloy’s gubernatorial primary win over Ned Lamont. It also called the gubernatorial race between Malloy and his Republican opponent Tom Foley a dead heat in the days before the 2010 general election. The Merriman poll has a margin of error of four points.

Next: What happens in a big field? And the Joe Ganim factor. The results may surprise you.



  1. John Gomes would be wise to throw his candidacy behind MJF. And if MJF were wise she’d not only welcome John Gomes, but she’d be wiser to have him as an administrative aide as he knows the dynamics of Bridgeport’s machinations. With both of them together Finch would be toast along with his inner circle of ineptitude and self-entitlement (i.e. Wood, Nunn and Carroll).

  2. Once again as a Bpt Democratic voter my phone did not ring for this poll, nor did anyone’s on the East Side or in the Hollow. That said, it is a wonderful sign Finch is losing ground. Gomes has a professional campaign manager in McIntosh and John Haymond’s son is a tireless worker. Google them and see for yourselves. How can anyone say Gomes is broke is beyond me, those gentlemen don’t come cheap in my opinion.
    This is awesome for Bpt, plain awesome. Change is in the wind, no?

    1. Chosen 1 must be SNET! He’s got us by his calls!!!

      C’mon Chosen 1. Many are called but few are chosen! I hope MJF and JMG get together. Both candidates were very well received in the parade today.

  3. Chosen, again you are wrong. I live on the East Side and I got a call. BTW how would you know NO ONE on the East Side received a call?
    It’s time for John Gomes to get out of the race and contact MJF. I am sure there would be a good opening in her administration for him.
    Coviello got new teeth but has no bite, everyone knows he is looking for a job. Wait until you see what he does at the DTC meeting on July 26th.

  4. Give us a break tc, you again proved my point of who the poll reached, white and a NORTH Sider. Next? … Now on to a great parade on a lovely summer day.

      1. My Kitty Litter Poll (the only poll that counts)
        I do this every Election time, and it hasn’t failed yet.
        This kitty poll goes back to Bill Clinton.
        She has picked the winning candidate for every State and Local Election.
        For Fairfield, Bridgeport, Trumbull, my cat has a 100% batting avg.
        I put 8X11 pieces of copy paper in herlLitter pan last night, with six candidate names on it. Starting from the top left corner and going right.
        I put Finch, MJF, Gomes, then Coviello, Kohut, Ganim.
        As soon as the paper dries out, I will give you the final results.
        You can also purchase an advance copy of the results, for $2 on pay-pal.

        p.s We have four people analyzing the polling paper at this time.
        Three from Fairfield U. and one from MIT.
        The results might be in by the end of the month.
        OIB can’t hold a candle to my cat’s Poll.

  5. I am no political insider and my views only represent me. But from where I’m sitting, Finch will win the primary UNLESS there is some cohesion amongst the others. I hope they can put egos aside and think about this City. A defeat of Finch and the establishment would send more signals than anyone can imagine. I strongly urge Foster to offer Gomes the Admin Aide position. She shows better leadership skills and he shows great organizational skills. They sound like a winning team. Coviello and Kohut probably control a small amount of votes and not enough to spoil anything. Foster can put them on commission.

  6. My opinion
    Finch is in this for the paycheck and the power
    Gomes is in it for the people and school kids
    MJ is in this to defeat Finch and Stafstrom
    Finch wins unless MJ and JG pull together

  7. Chosen 1,
    As each day goes by; as each position is released; it is clear to more and more who read this blog Mary-Jane Foster has the leadership skills; independent thinking; and conservative fiscal policies to take Bridgeport in the right direction. There is renewed hope in my opinion.

  8. Food for thought

    If the MJ gang was at the PR parade yesterday, not, and saw the support for John Gomes, well, looks like no polls were taken there.

      1. John Gomes was in a nice float but closer to the end of the parade. Foster was walking and surrounded by her supporters and taking it to the streets. Also, Foster was well branded with signage along the densest portion of the route. The Turnpike underpass, package store, along Marina and down past Famous Pizza.

        Chosen 1? At 1:25 pm yesterday you posted you were on your way to the parade.

    1. Hey C1, tc was at the parade. Right, tc?

      tc is the official Bush hook for the MJF campaign.
      What Lennie and the pollsters forgot to tell everyone is most polls are just a snapshot in time.
      Gomes has the silent majority. Let’s see what the polls say in August. Maybe someone will bring up same dirt on MJF? Paging Cupcakehore!

      1. Jim: Wrong, it was too hot for me. Bush Hook??? There have been attempts to post bullshit on MJF on this blog and they were just that, bullshit. Tom L. says hello.

  9. In 2004 I stood in the community room at the Embassy Towers on Park Ave. listening to the introductory speeches on behalf of Diane Farrell (she was running against Chris Shays the first time). State Senator Bill Finch stood up for his speech and stated unequivocally (and this is a direct quote) …
    “I’m proud to be a tax and spend Democrat”
    Needless to say the room went silent and I almost fell over from disbelief.
    This, ladies and gentlemen, is what is running our city, state and federal governments.

  10. *** If it’s all about the “Benjamins” for MJF then she’ll miss out on the minority vote, no? *** Still waiting on the West Side & South End, MJF! ***

  11. Mojo–I’ve been stalking you down at the park to no avail. I’ll try calling or stopping by your house. Also waiting to hear from Ron. I’ll just have to knock on his door, too. Thanks.


    Give me a break!!!

    Just what is the Joe Ganim Factor? The Joe Ganim Factor would indicate anyone stupid enough to think this despicable excuse for a human being could ever possibly redeem himself so as to win back public confidence is just plain ignorant.

    Same thing with Ernest “T” supporters. Stupid.

    1. yahooy, tell me how you feel about Connecticut’s most famous felon, Martha Stewart? Stewart was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding and making false statements to federal investigators, and was sentenced in to a five-month term in a federal correctional facility and a two-year period of supervised release. Just one year later Donald Trump, now a candidate to be the President of the United States, hired Stewart for her own TV show which was hosted by Martha Stewart, The Apprentice: Martha Stewart The show.

      yahooy, do you think if Martha Stewart ran for her local Board Of Education, do you think the voters would elect her? What do you think about this felon?

      1. You know, Mackey, you surprise me.

        I wouldn’t vote for Martha Stewart for anything. Why? She demonstrated she is untrustworthy and above mere mortals like you and me. Discerning people like me wouldn’t vote for her either. These so-called discerning people don’t get off their ass and get out to vote. Their absence from the polls allows the same old bullshit to get reelected time after time perpetuating a so very bad situation. Looks like that may change. MJ is doing a good job in enlightening the people about the problems and what she will do to fix them. Maybe we will get some voters out who will rid us of the existing detriment.

        We get her as mayor and the state wipes out all of the BOE baloney, we start heading in the right direction.

        If we leave Testa in power and don’t do a thing about Timpanelli, then we deserve what we get.

        I don’t really care what you think about Gamim or Ernest “T.”

  13. Corrupticut, relax a little.
    Your comments reminded me of a story I read about a guy making a speech in the 19th century about political corruption, and announced “apologetically” to his partisan Republican audience:
    “My friends, I have learned that all Democrats are not horse thieves.”
    (murmurs, grumbling)
    “However, I also now know that all horse thieves are Democrats!”
    (wild cheers)

    1. I don’t know about that, but the current crop of politicians in Bridgeport sure are horse thieves, or worse. But I’d still rather be a progressive Democrat than a regressive Republican.

  14. Can anyone enlighten me on the Scull and Bones secret society? I’ve heard innuendo but no facts about this group. Frankly what I’ve heard makes me uncomfortable.

  15. Hector, why do you ask?
    Let me provide you with a few facts or fancies about a subject that focuses on Yale University in New Haven: Skull and Bones, which is just one of the so-called Secret Society groups that each spring recruit a limited number of undergraduate members from the Junior Class on Tap Night. A knock on the door is the offer and you can follow a single line of serious students to a location on campus, some “above ground” and others “below ground.” Rumor has held for years membership could only be shared with a spouse on your wedding night, and other such unique and uncheckable info.

    Many of the societies appear to have had well-to-do benefactors who funded buildings and probably endowments to carry on the works of recruiting young men (and probably women for the past foour decades) to hear speakers, share experiences, have food and drink, etc. that would bond people together for the balance of a lifetime.
    It is often said, “less is more.” And this may be one of those cases that the less one knows or can guess at, the more interest is created in a specific subject.

    But relative to Only In Bridgeport, Skull and Bones as a human group would seem a million miles away … except for the shrouding in secrecy … the bonding based on common interest … the loyalty to a small group … the few who are “in” relative to the many who are “out.” And human curiosity …

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