Fenty Gets Low Poll Marks on Snow Removal

New poll says majority disapproves of District's performance

By Joe Krebs
|  Monday, Feb 22, 2010  |  Updated 1:46 PM EDT
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Fenty Gets Low Poll Marks on Snow Removal

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 16: Washington DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty speaks during the unveiling ceremony for the 9 new U.S. President wax figures at Madame Tussauds on February 16, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for Rubenstein Communications, Inc.)

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A mayor’s performance on snow removal can sometimes make or break a career.

If that’s true, Mayor Adrian Fenty -- now running for re-election -- may not take much solace from a recent poll of voters’ attitudes.

Sixty-four percent of those questioned think that he has done “only a fair job or a poor job handling the snow situation and removal.”

This is according to a citywide Clarus telephone survey of 441 District voters conducted on Feb. 21.

The poll found that African-American voters and those living in the city’s poorest wards were the most critical.

Seventy-one percent of blacks surveyed rated the mayor’s performance as “only fair” or “poor.”

Only 25 percent of African-Americans gave him a grade of “excellent” or “good.”

That’s compared with 53 percent of white voters who gave him the lowest grades: “only fair” or “poor.” Forty-five percent said it was “good” to “excellent.”

Likewise, 39 percent of respondents who live in the wealthier wards 2 and 3 rated the mayor’s performance as “excellent” or “good” and 60 percent rated it as “only fair” or “poor.”

Compare that with the poorest wards, 6, 7, and 8, where 66 percent of voters graded the mayor as “only fair” or “poor” with only 27 percent rating him as “good” or “excellent.”

Interestingly, though, the mayor’s overall job approval rating does not seem to have been affected by voters’ dissatisfaction with snow removal.

Fenty’s overall job performance rating was at 42 percent in the February poll, identical to the results of a January poll (before the blizzards), and down just a single percentage point from his approval rate in November 2009.

Voters think more highly of the District Council -- which receives a 57 percent approval rating -- and most highly of the District’s Delegate to Congress, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who received an 84 percent vote of approval.

It might be worth noting that neither the Council nor the Delegate commands a single snowplow. 

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