March 12 2009 12:00 AM
How much of a contender for mayor is Councilwoman Carol Wood?

She’s for real, according to a telephone poll conducted Monday night for City Pulse by Practical Political Consulting.

Of 100 respondents, Wood and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero each received 50 votes.

“It’s a plausible race,” says Mark Grebner, whose East Lansing firm conducted the poll. “No one should think it’s over.”

“I’d be nervous if I were Virg,” Grebner added. “He shouldn’t be at 50 at this time. If it were a less well-known challenger, he’d be dead.”

Grebner said the poll has an error factor of 9 percent.

Grebner selected 1,000 likely voters, of whom 466 answered their phones. One hundred of them opted to select either Wood or Bernero. There were no alternatives, including undecided, in the robo-call survey.

While the poll is too small a sample to be much more than an overview, Grebner said it appears Bernero is much stronger on the west side (wards 3 and 4) and Wood is much stronger on the east side (wards 1 and 2). Moreover, Wood has more support among over-55 voters, an important group in Lansing. Bernero does better with voters born since 1950.

He said the poll showed no difference by race, either African-American or Hispanic. Nor was there a difference based on political partisanship.

Bernero is “slightly stronger among women than men,” Grebner said. “We can reject the notion that Carol has an advantage among women."

What does it mean?

“They have nine months to fight each other,” Grebner said. “The (Aug. 4) primary will tell us a lot. The primary is like a free poll conducted by the city.”

The top two vote getters will go on to compete in the Nov. 3 general election.

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