Wendy Greuel. Eric Garcetti.
Wendy Greuel. Eric Garcetti.

Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel are tied in a race that's extremely unpredictable, a new poll shows.

A USC/L.A. Times mayor's race poll released Sunday found 27 percent of voters back Councilman Garcetti and 25 percent support Controller Greuel. That makes it a statistical tie.

Former prosecutor Kevin James is backed by 15 percent of voters and Councilwoman Jan Perry is supported by 14 percent. Former tech executive Emanuel Pleitez drew 5 percent.

Highlighting the race's uncertainty, half of the voters who backed either Garcetti or Greuel said they might change their vote before Tuesday's primary.

Dan Schnur, director of the USC Price/L.A. Times Poll, said the race is as "close to a dead heat" as one finds in elections.

"After millions of dollars in ads and more than 40 debates, none of these candidates has made a strong impact on the overall electorate," Schnur said in a statement.

The survey, conducted February 24-27, quizzed 500 likely voters. The margin of error is 4.4 percent.

Pollsters found that Latino voters overwhelmingly favor Garcetti (37 percent) to Greuel (19 percent).

In a city where voter apathy remains high, Garcetti has a slim edge in name recognition. Only 8 percent of voters said they hadn't heard of him. 13.8 percent of voters polled said they had never heard of Greuel.

For all their talk of reforming City Hall, outsider candidates James and Pleitez face an uphill battle. More than half - 53 percent of voters - said they prefer an experienced politician over an outsider (36.6 percent).

Still, the majority of voters take a negative view of the state of Los Angeles. Just 36.1 percent of voters said they believe the city is on the right track. A majority - 47.6 percent - said L.A. is on the wrong track.

Getting the city's budget under control was the biggest priority for voters, followed by job creation and education.