Poll shows Brizzi ahead

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Updated: .

Mary Milz/Eyewitness News

Marion County - An exclusive WTHR poll shows Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi with a comfortable lead over Democratic challenger Melina Kennedy.

The poll of 600 likely Marion County voters shows Brizzi winning with 51 percent, Kennedy getting 35 percent and the remainder not sure. Brizzi says he's not surprised.

"I think they're looking for somebody who has a plan, who's experienced and I think that's the issue that will win at the end of the day," he said.

The poll also shows a gender gap that favors Brizzi. He gets 56 percent of the male vote, while Kennedy gets 33 percent. But Brizzi also wins among women, with 46 percent saying they prefer him, versus 37 percent for Kennedy.

Brizzi is not surprised and Kennedy is not worried.

"Some of the issues we're strong on is domestic violence, making sure there are strong laws to protect women caught in the cycle of violence," Brizzi said.

"Again, in the final stretch I see lots of back and forth lots of different polls, the most important is November 7th," said Kennedy.

Brizzi gets help from Democrats, too, with 26 percent saying they'll vote for him. Kennedy gets just 9 percent of Republicans.

"That cuts to the issue that public safety is not a political issue. It doesn't matter what party you belong to," Brizzi said.

As for the Brizzi's job performance, 56 percent approve, while 26 percent disapprove. The rest aren't sure. Kennedy says that's not good enough.

"I keep my eye on the ball of what's important and what's important is how the prosecutors office can do better to serve the community. They're not performing at the level to deal with rising crime. We need change," Kennedy said.

Pollster Ann Selzer said the numbers are strong for Brizzi because he has a number of factors working in his favor. "We have quite a bit of cross party defection for the Republican.  A full 26 percent - that's one out of every four Democrats say they're likely to vote for him. Secondly, he's getting a strong job approval rating for the job that he's doing now.  Fifty-six percent approve of the job he's doing versus 26 percent who disapprove of the job he's doing.  That's a 2-1 margin.  That's a nice showing for an incumbent and bodes well for him."

Those surveyed were also asked to weigh in on the strip club shooting involving Pacer Stephen Jackson. Forty percent approve of the way Brizzi handled that case, 19 percent disapprove and 36 percent didn't know enough to say.

"There were a lot of likely voters who really didn't know what to make of the situation and basically had no opinion.  But among those who weighed in on how Brizzi handled that situation, by a 2-1 margin they approved of it.  So I think that really had to bolster his standing in this race," said Selzer.

The company conducting the WTHR People's Agenda Poll also found most Marion County voters would approve a tax increase to build new jails to help ease overcrowding.

"A steady majority - 53 percent of Marion County voters - say it's better to build new jails and keep convicted criminals locked up even if it means raising taxes to pay for it," said Selzer.

"The other option which 28 percent opt for is to release people convicted of lesser crimes in order to solve the overcrowding problem. But as I said, just 28 percent take that option," Selzer said.

The WTHR People's Agenda Poll was conducted on October 16-18.

WTHR People's Agenda Poll

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