Pictured: Mark Chilton

CHAPEL HILL – Though 44 percent of voters polled about the seven people seeking appointment to the Senate seat for District 23 are undecided, outgoing Carrboro Mayor, Mark Chilton, is the people’s top choice to replace Ellie Kinnaird .

PPP director, Tom Jensen, says 484 voters were polled across the district, which covers Orange and Chatham Counties. Chilton was the choice second to undecided with 23 percent, and State Representative Valerie Foushee trailed in third with 16 percent.

“We asked people both their first choice and their second choice and Chilton and Foushee came out in the top two spots on those fronts,” Jensen says. “None of the other candidates are in double digits.”

Following Kinnaird’s resignation announcement on Aug. 19, more than half a dozen people have put their names forward for consideration for the Senate District 23 seat, including former State Representative Alice Bordsen, former Carrboro mayor Jim Porto, attorney Heidi Chapman, author and activist Amy Tiemann, and attorney Lynette Hartsell.

Jensen says that name recognition was a significant factor in the poll results.

“What is sort of interesting is that Mark Chilton and Valerie Foushee are the only people who are known to more than 50 percent of voters in the district,” Jensen says. “None of the others, including Alice Borden, have higher than 24 percent name recognition.”

The poll also finds that 72 percent of people say that they favor the work Kinnaird did during her 17 years as senator.

“Ellie Kinnaird is the most popular politician we’ve polled on anywhere in the country so far in 2013,” Jensen says. “She is the first person to crack a seventy percent approval rating, so that is very remarkable for her to come in at 72 percent.”

A four-member committee made up of Democratic officials from Orange and Chatham Counties is charged with making the appointment to the vacant senate seat. An information session for the public and potential candidates is set for Wednesday at the Post Office/Courthouse on East Franklin Street at 7 p.m. The committee will then meet in the Chatham Community Library on September 8 to make nominations and formally vote.

To see the complete rundown of the PPP’s poll results, click below:

PPP: Senate Vacancy Survey Results