Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) on Monday deflected questions about a new Washington Post poll that showed his approval rating had slipped significantly in the last two years.
"I just haven't read it yet, so I am at a loss to be able to comment. But once I have I will be ready, willing and able to get you a statement," Fenty said.
The mayor did not respond directly when asked if he had read the Sunday edition of The Post, in which the poll results were detailed on the front page. Fenty instead repeated that he was waiting to see "the poll" as if there were other documents beyond the published account that he expected the paper to release.
"Usually, I try to read a poll before I comment on it," he said. Fenty declined to respond when assembled television and newspaper reporters began recounting specific findings. "I haven't read it at all."
Fenty was speaking in Annapolis after discussing shared crime prevention efforts with Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).
When asked about those efforts - and one of the poll results that showed the public still believes Fenty is doing a good job on crime prevention - he seemed familiar with that portion of the poll.
"I can't say enough about what the police department has done," Fenty said. "I think if we keep doing this kind of thing, focusing on deliverables, statistics and results the citizens will see even safer neighborhoods."
Meanwhile, Bill Lightfoot, chairman of Fenty's reelection campaign, put a positive spin on the poll that shows that the mayor's approval rating has significantly slipped to 42 percent from 72 percent in two years.
The dismal approval rating comes at the same time that residents say they are satisfied with city services. But most are not giving credit to Fenty.
Lightfoot said the poll clearly shows that the public likes the direction in which Fenty is taking the city. "They are troubled by the manner in which he has brought change," he said. "Change is hard."
Fenty's "dramatic change" in governance to improve services, particularly schools, has upset people, Lightfoot said. "You've got to break eggs when you make an omelet," he said.
And Fenty has a soft side, Lightfoot said, but people aren't seeing it. "The mayor is personable one-on-one. The pool can't test that. It's a perception problem," he said.
Asked if Fenty would retool to show that he's a nice guy, Lightfoot said, "He will not change his goals."
-- Aaron C. Davis and Nikita Stewart