By John Schaffner

The election for mayor of Atlanta may take place until 2009, but Buckhead resident and Atlanta Post 2 At-Large City Councilwoman Mary Norwood is already releasing the results of a public opinion poll assessing her potential in the campaign. “During April and May, I attended literally dozens and dozens of public meetings and in-home get-togethers throughout the city,” said Norwood. “A number of times I was urged to run for mayor. Hearing that message, I commissioned a poll to see what voters would say.”

The poll was conducted by Lake Research, a nationally recognized firm that has conducted polls for the Shirley Franklin Mayoral 2001 campaign, the 2004 Leah Sears Supreme Court campaign, and the 2006 Hank Johnson congressional and Carol Hunstein Supreme Court campaigns, as well as many other polls for successful candidates across the country.

The Lake Research poll shows that Councilwoman Norwood is “in a very strong position if she were to run for mayor in 2009. She is first among the leading candidates in a field that includes Lisa Borders, Robb Pitts, Cathy Woolard, Ceasar Mitchell, and Kasim Reed, and Norwood has substantial support among both white and African American voters.”

The report indicates that Norwood’s favorability ratings and her name recognition reach high levels and across the city.

In the poll, Norwood narrowly leads a field of six candidates with 15% of the vote. She is followed by Pitts with 14%, Borders at 13%, Woolard at 11%, and Mitchell and Reed both at 3%.

Fifty-four percent of the respondents knew Norwood well enough to offer an opinion and, of those who know her, 89% have a favorable impression of her, according to the poll commissioned by Norwood.

When asked about their top concerns, Atlanta voters polled cited crime and drugs above all issues. Norwood lead all candidates among voters concerned about crime and drugs. She also lead the other candidates among the 23% of those polled who listed overdevelopment as one of their top concerns.

Norwood said she continues to consider a range of options. “I want to emphasize that I have not made a decision one way or the other. At the present time, I am strongly committed to continuing work on issues that matter to every Atlantan: improving city services, promoting code enforcement and affordable housing, securing our communities from crime and drugs, reducing traffic, preserving greenspaces, and enhancing neighborhood quality of life.”

Norwood added, “Whether or not I run for mayor, my plans for the next year and a half are essentially the same: I will continue my commitment to focus on critical issues that face our city. And, I will continue to reach out to every corner of our city. Enacting good policies and running for higher office both demand reaching out to the public.”