Fifty-three percent of D.C. residents want a new mayor, according to a new poll by Clarus research released Monday.
The new poll, conducted last week, found Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty could face a tough fight winning a second term. Only 34 percent of voters preferred to see Fenty re-elected. Six percent said it depended on who was challenging Fenty and 7 percent didn’t know or had no opinion.
The poll found 43 percent of city residents approved of Fenty’s job performance, with 49 percent disapproving. Fenty scores highest among whites (60 percent), voters under 50 years old (51 percent approval), and those who live in Wards 2 and 3 (60 percent).
Fenty’s job approval is lowest among voters over 50 (35 percent) and African Americans (29 percent). His support is weakest in the area comprising Wards 6, 7 and 8 where his job approval is 33 percent. Fenty is much stronger among white women (64 percent) than African American women (28 percent).
Fenty’s weakest points are bringing people together to solve problems, handling city finances, putting the city’s interest above politics, living up to high ethical standards, and managing city government – he rates below 40 percent on these five issues (and in two cases under 30 percent).
Mayor Fenty runs slightly behind Council Chairman Vincent Gray in a head to head match-up (Gray 41-Fenty 37), the poll found, but leads a four-way trial heat against three possible opponents, including Gray and District Council members Kwame Brown and Michael Brown.
Council Chairman Gray has a job approval rating of 46 percent and a disapproval rating of 16 percent. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they had never heard of Gray.
“Mayor Fenty’s re-election base is dangerously weak for an incumbent going into an election year,” Clarus President Ron Faucheux said. “While the mayor still has the time and resources to shore up his re-election prospects before the September primary, he clearly has plenty of work to do to win back voters he’s lost since the last election.”
Police chief Cathy Lanier has a job approval rating of 71 percent and a disapproval rating of 12 percent.
School Chancellor Michelle Rhee has a job approval rating of 47 percent and a disapproval rating of 39 percent.
The poll was conducted by telephone Nov. 15-18, 2009, before two negative headlines broke about Gray in the Washington Post and Washington Times. The poll of registered voters has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.
The poll was conducted by Clarus as a public service and was not sponsored or paid for by any client, political candidate, or party committee.