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Posted at 11:59 PM ET, 12/21/2011

New poll gives low marks to Gray, D.C. Council

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray continues to get low marks for his handling of the city and would be handily defeated for reelection by either the city’s two most recent former mayors, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted by Clarus Research Group., shows more than half of District voters do not approve of the job Gray is doing. Although Gray’s standing has ticked up slightly since a Clarus survey in March, just 34 percent of voters approve of his performance.
Washington, DC - June, 3: Mayor Vincent Gray delivers a keynote address to the One City community forum at George Washington University on June, 03, 2011in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post) (Bill O'Leary)

The survey paints a bleak picture for both the first-year mayor and the D.C. Council as they battle several ethical controversies and federal investigations.

Only 30 percent of voters approve of the council while 55 percent have a negative view, a reversal of the body’s ratings since a previous Clarus survey in March.

A little more than a year ago, Gray handily defeated former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty after receiving nearly 60 percent of the vote in the September 2010 Democratic primary.

But if District Democrats today were asked to choose between Gray and Fenty, the former mayor would defeat the incumbent by 15 percentage points. Fenty’s 48 percent to 33 percent margin among Democrats grows to 21 percent when non Democrats are included in the survey, according to the poll.

“The mayor’s first year in office has been a political disaster,” said Ron Faucheux, president of Clarus.

In the survey of 500 voters from Sunday through Wednesday, Clarus also pitted Gray against former mayor Anthony Williams (D).

Williams, who was in office from 1999 to 2007, would also defeat Gray by 15 points if an election was held today.

In both match-ups, Fenty or Williams would dominate among white voters, defeating Gray by more than 60 points. Gray maintains an edge among black voters, but his standing has declined dramatically among African-Americans since his 2010 race.

Gray leads Fenty among black voters by a margin of 45 to 31 percentage points. But Gray’s overall disapproval rating among all voters has increased by 13 points since the Clarus survey in March.

Heading into his second year in office, Gray remains stronger politically than D.C. Council Chairman Kw
WASHINGTON, DC, JANUARY 3: New chairman for the DC City Council, Kwame Brown, center, listens to fellow council members during the council's opening session on January 4, 2011 in Washington DC. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post) (MATT MCCLAIN - THE POST)
ame R. Brown (D) and the rest of the city’s legislative body.

Only 23 percent of District voters approve of Brown’s job performance, compared to 57 who disapprove.

According to the survey, a few District public officials remain popular with voters.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who is up for reelection in 2012, has a 77 percent approval rating, nearly equal to Police Chief Cathy Lanier’s 78 percent rating.

About half of District voters also approve of Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, but about one in three expressed no opinion of her.

An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that one in three District voters had negative view of Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson.

By  |  11:59 PM ET, 12/21/2011

 
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