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Poll finds Mayor's popularity dangerously low (Washington Post)

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  • Dominic Sale
    Good News for Mayor: No Recall Yet http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31624-2003Dec3.html By Craig Timberg Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 4, 2003
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      'Good News' for Mayor: No Recall Yet
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31624-2003Dec3.html
      By Craig Timberg
      Washington Post Staff Writer
      Thursday, December 4, 2003; Page DZ02

      The only shred of good news for Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) in last
      week's WTOP/ABC 7 poll is that voters are not yet unhappy enough to
      actually remove him from office, in the manner of former California
      governor Gray Davis.

      But measured any other way, this was a stinker of a poll for the
      mayor, who continues to lose support, especially among African
      Americans.

      Before we get to the numbers, it's worth noting that the poll, done
      by the respected Potomac Survey Research in Bethesda, is not of all
      city residents, or even all voters. It was of Democratic voters.

      And contrary to the natural political dynamics pretty much anyplace
      else, Williams may do better with Republicans and independents than
      with active Democrats, who are the ones who should be the core
      supporters of the party's nominal leader.

      That said, among this group Williams has an approval rating of 45
      percent, below the 50 percent mark that political strategists
      consider when attempting to gauge an incumbent's vulnerability.
      Anything below the halfway mark screams: Take this guy on, and the
      sooner the better.

      The underlying numbers and trends are worse still. In the last
      comprehensive Washington Post poll, in May 2002, his approval rating
      was 64 percent, which was down from 77 percent in February 2000. Now,
      numbers from different pollsters should not be regarded as exactly
      comparable, but the plot here looks clear.

      In addition, the softening among African Americans noted in that Post
      poll (72 percent to 54 percent from 2000 to 2002) has grown more
      serious for the mayor. His approval rating among black voters in the
      new poll was down to 32 percent, a truly anemic showing.

      The mayor's white support is sinking as well. The Post poll put his
      support among this group at an unearthly 83 percent. The WTOP/ABC 7
      poll put that number at 64 percent, which is still healthy but headed
      in the wrong direction.

      The frustration does not translate into support for the fledgling
      recall effort aimed at Williams. Only 21 percent of all Democratic
      voters said they would sign a petition to recall the mayor, and a
      similar number said they would vote to remove him if such an election
      took place.

      So we don't need to prepare for a Mayor Schwarzenegger, or, more
      plausibly, Mayor Chris Rock. But for Williams, who has not ruled out
      a try for a third term, the numbers ought to be chilling. Hard to win
      in a majority-black city if African Americans have turned on you in
      such numbers.
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