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Clarus Poll of D.C. Voters: Mayor Gray Posts Negative Job Rating

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COUNCIL CHAIRMAN KWAME BROWN ALSO HAS LOW APPROVAL

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new citywide poll of voters in the District of Columbia shows that Mayor Vincent Gray is getting low marks among most voters. According to the Clarus Poll, Gray's job approval rating is 31% and his disapproval rating is 40%. Twenty-nine percent of D.C. voters do not yet have an opinion of the mayor's performance at this early stage of his tenure.

ANALYSIS:

  • "Mayor Gray is off to a rocky start in the eyes of many voters. Recent controversies have clearly taken a toll on the new mayor's public standing," said Ron Faucheux, president of Clarus Research Group, a nonpartisan survey firm based in Washington, D.C. "Perceptions of the mayor's ethical standards and his handling of city job appointments are dragging him down."

  • Faucheux pointed out, "The fact that nearly three out of ten voters do not yet have an opinion of Gray's performance indicates that he has room to repair his image." He said Gray's best hope to rebuild his standing is to "start over" and "show by his actions that he's a decisive, competent, honest leader who won't tolerate ethical lapses in his administration."

  • "Vincent Gray was elected largely on Adrian Fenty's personal negatives. Many voters did not know much about him, they just wanted a change," said Faucheux. "The problem Gray now faces is that his early months as mayor have defined him more negatively than positively. He needs to turn that around quickly, and he can only do that with action and results."

The survey also shows that Council Chairman Kwame Brown's job rating is decidedly negative with 27% approval and 43% disapproval.

The Clarus Poll was conducted March 21-22, 2011 with a sample of 500 registered voters. Margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent. Interviews were conducted by live telephone interviewing specialists. Clarus conducted this survey for its own use. No client, candidate, or political committee sponsored or paid for this survey.

KEY FINDINGS FROM THE CLARUS POLL:

  • Mayor Gray's job approval rating is more negative (40%) than positive (31%). A high percentage of DC voters (29%) don't yet have an opinion of his performance.

  • Gray does better among African Americans (42%) than whites (17%). He also does better among Democrats (32%) than non-Democrats (25%). From a regional standpoint, his approval rating is higher in the area of the city that comprises wards 4, 5, 7, and 8 (42%) than it is in the area comprising wards 1, 2, 3, and 6 (21%). Gray does worst among white men (12%) and best among black women (43%).

  • In the September 2010 Clarus Poll, which was taken shortly before the mayoral primary in which Gray defeated incumbent Adrian Fenty, Gray posted a personal favorability rating of 60% and an unfavorable rating of 20%. "Since his election," said Faucheux, "Vincent Gray's public standing has taken a beating. His job approval is much lower than Mayor Fenty's job rating was throughout most of his term."

  • Council Chairman Kwame Brown's job rating is also more negative than positive (43% disapprove, 27% approve). Brown does better among African Americans (38%) than whites (12%). His rating is a net positive among blacks (38% approval to 30% disapproval) and in the area comprising wards 4, 5, 7, and 8 (36% approve, 19% disapprove).

  • Job ratings of Gray and Brown are significantly lower than other public officials. President Obama posts a job approval rating of 88% in D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier has an 84% positive rating, and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton scores 82% approval. Acting Education Chancellor Kaya Henderson has a 42% approval rating and an 8% disapproval rating. As a whole, the D.C. City Council's approval rating is 54% and disapproval rating is 22%.

  • Mayor Gray's handling of issues as mayor:



Approve

Disapprove

Don't know

Managing city government

30%

41%

29%

Appointing the right people to city jobs

17

59

23

Living up to high standards of ethics

23

54

22

Keeping in touch with average citizens

40

30

30

Providing strong leadership

28

46

26

Improving public education

45

26

28

Bringing people together to solve problems

31

38

31




The Clarus Poll also tested candidates in the April 26 special election for D.C. Council-at-large. The survey shows Vincent Orange running first with 28%. He's followed by Sekou Biddle 6%, Patrick Mara 6%, Bryan Weaver 3%, Josh Lopez 3%, Dorothy Douglas 2%, Tom Brown 1%, Alan Page 1%, and Arkan Haile with less than 1%. Forty-nine percent are undecided. "This race has yet to capture public attention," said Faucheux. "It's wide open with nearly half the voters now undecided."

SOURCE Clarus Research Group



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