Survey queries residents about upcoming election

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

Will the mayoral election in November be a rematch between incumbent Republican Ken Cockayne and Democrat Ellen Zoppo-Sassu? Or will it be a new head-to-head battle between Cockayne and Democratic councilor Calvin Brown.

Someone wants to know.

A robocall survey on local politics made the rounds across Bristol over the weekend. Some of the questions varied depending on the districts, where the survey asked whether or not residents liked the job that assorted incumbent councilors were doing. The survey also threw out names of prospective candidates for seats, such as Democrat Laura Bartok, who lost the state house race in November, and Democrat Kevin Fuller, who once sat on the council in the first district and pondered a race for mayor before leaving elected office.

As of Monday, no Democrats had tossed their hat in the ring for mayor or council.

There was some consistency in the questions across the city. Questions asked about how satisfied people were with the performance of Ken Cockayne as mayor. A question asked what residents thought of the progress on the downtown revitalization. A question also asked about the future of Memorial Boulevard School.

Additionally, across the city, residents were asked what they thought of a face off between Zoppo-Sassu and Cockayne again or the possibility of Cockayne running against Brown. Brown currently can’t run in the first district because he moved out of that district after the last council election.

The survey did not indicate who paid for it. The survey was conducted by MRG Policy Polling. However, there is no MRG Policy Polling that shows up in search engines. Additionally, the number showed up on caller ID as “Sara” from Norwalk. But, like MRG Policy Polling, an internet search did not turn up who “Sara” from Norwalk was working for.

After the calls made the rounds, Zoppo-Sassu was asked via email if she was pondering a run for mayor again. She said no comment.

Brown also was asked about his mayoral intentions but at press time he did not reply to an email asking for comment at press time.

Dean Kilbourne, chair of the Bristol Democratic Town Committee was asked via email if his party was responsible for the survey but he did not reply at press time.

Local Republicans took to social media to comment, unfavorably, on the survey.

This isn’t the first time MRG Policy Polling has mysteriously called residents at election time. Two years ago, the Bristol Press’s former reporter Steve Collins covered a story about the robocalls.