City Desk

New Poll: Gray Leads Fenty in Head-to-Head Mayoral Run

If any potential mayoral challengers are looking for further proof of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's vulnerability in next year's election, here you go: A poll of 501 registered voters finds that D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray leads Fenty, 41 to 37 percent, in the first publicly released head-to-head polling. Asked whether they approve or disapprove of Fenty, poll respondents were negative on Fenty, 49 percent to 43.

The poll was done by the nonpartisan and nonaffiliated Clarus Research Group "as a public service" and was conducted by live interviewers. Clarus puts the margin of error at 4.4 percent.

Besides the head-to-head with Gray, Clarus polled registered Democrats on a wider field that included at-large councilmembers Kwame Brown and Michael Brown. Among that field, Fenty was the plurality choice with 34 percent; Gray followed with 24 percent, then Kwame Brown with 13 and Michael Brown with 6.

The pollers asked if respondents would like to see Fenty re-elected or someone new—34 percent said they'd vote to re-elect. The numbers are striking when you note the poll's issue-by-issue assessments of Fenty. On bread-and-butter issues like keeping streets clean and crime down, Fenty won approval from more than half of voters. He got his worst marks, of 30 percent or lower, on "handling city finances"; "bringing people together to solve problems"; and "putting the city's interest above politics."

Caveats: Biggest one is that this is a poll of registered voters, not likely voters (likelihood is typically screened through a respondent's voting record in prior elections). The second biggest one is that the polling was done prior to last week's ugly headlines for Gray. And, of course, Gray hasn't declared his candidacy, making this an academic exercise.

Some other tidbits:

—The poll also took approval numbers on Gray, Police Chief Cathy Lanier, and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Lanier won a 71 percent approval rating, with only 12 percent disapproving. Rhee, polarizing figure she is, won approval from 47 percent of voters; 39 percent disapproved. And Gray won 46 percent approval, with a whopping 38 percent not knowing enough about him to render an opinion.

—The racial/generational divide continues to emerge: "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)." Moreover: "Fifty-one percent of all white voters polled said they would like to see Fenty re-elected but only 22 percent of all African American voters polled would – a 29–point difference."

—Says Clarus pollster Ron Faucheux in press release: "Mayor Fenty’s re-election base is dangerously weak for an incumbent going into an election year....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."

Here's the poll questions, with results:

I am now going to read you a list of local public officials. Please tell me whether you approve or disapprove of the job each is doing. If I read a name you have never heard of, just say so.

Mayor Adrian Fenty 43% 49% 8%
Council Chairman Vincent Gray 46 16 38
Police Chief Cathy Lanier 71 12 17
Education Chancellor Michelle Rhee 47 39 14

The District of Columbia will have an election for Mayor next year. At this point, would you like to see Mayor Adrian Fenty re-elected or would you like to see somebody new get elected?

Fenty re-elected 34%
Somebody new 53
Depends on who runs (volunteered) 6
Don’t know/no answer (volunteered) 7

Now, please tell me whether you approve or disapprove of the way Mayor Adrian Fenty is handling the following issues...

Keeping streets and public places clean and in good repair 68% 24%
Handling city finances 28 58
Bringing people together to solve problems 27 57
Managing city government 39 51
Living up to high standards of ethics 35 50
Keeping in touch with average citizens 42 46
Holding down city taxes 44 37
Providing strong leadership 40 50
Protecting the city against crime and violence 54 36
Putting the city’s interest above politics 30 57
Working to bring new jobs to the city 41 37
Improving public education 43 40

[The next two questions were asked only of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic]

As you may know Washington D.C. will have a mayor's election next year. If the candidates for the Democratic nomination were (ROTATE) Kwame Brown, Adrian Fenty, Vincent Gray and Michael Brown, which one would you most likely vote for?

Fenty 34%
Gray 24
KWAME Brown 13
Undecided, don't know 23

If the election for mayor was between (ROTATE) Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray, which one would you most likely vote for?

Fenty 37%
Gray 41
Undecided, don't know 22

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • Rick Mangus

    I love this city and haved lived in it for over seventeen years but Vincent Gray is not the answer.

    The GOP in this town needs to put-up some good candidates, I know alot of you are saying,"REPUBLICANS, OH, MY GOD GRAB THE KIDS AND HIDE!"

  • Rick Mangus


    but I think that you would have to agree that the Democrat mafia that has been in charge way too long.
    Carol Schwartz, where are you?

  • Marciela

    Anybody but Fenty!! Anybody but Fenty!! I believe Gray is a much better choice than Adrian Malik Fenty. To get approval on street cleaning is good but a baseline expectation. It's also one of the few divisions of the city Fenty has not tried to micromanage. As for crime and Cathy Lanier, crime statistics are up and she continues to defy the law by having All Hands on Deck. What a failure she is and she works for a failure. Michelle Rhee's approval rating? Was that before or after it came out that she covered up crimes for her fiance of a child molester?

  • DCNatives

    Fenty will never win back the African American vote and we are still the majority in this city.

    There is a deep seated hatred for this man in our community---from Anacostia to the Gold Coast!

  • Truth hurts

    The racial divide is amazing given that Gray's financial support is overwhelmingly white and Republican. You may be disappointed in Fenty, but Gray's not the answer. Excuse me while I puke.

  • Skipper

    Hard to know how serious to take the results since more than a third of those polled didn't know who Gray was.

    Still, it's a rough poll for Fenty, especially on issues like taxes and management.

  • downtown rez

    What sort of deal would Gray need to cut with the Browns so niether runs and his numbers stay in the black?

  • Lea

    This is a duh poll.

    HE is corrupt. He lies. He is seen with his proverbial hand in the cookie jar. HE is not that bright, articulate or literate. We had to many incompetent scandals for him to SPIN.

    And they were expecting a sweep?
    Please this is suppose to be the most educated workforce in the country.

    He is just too arongant to understand people would not buy the lie. And believe whatever the Washington Post says. Like how she was treated or not nominating Harstock again was crazy.

  • MBE Report

    My fanily will vote for CM Gray for Mayor because Fenty,has truly treated the residents and DC contractors bad. Councilmember Michael Brown has become a do nothing elected official and will never be elected as Mayor. CM Kwame Brown has sold out the local businesses and contractors by letting Developers ,and General Contractors bring in busineses from outside the city to work on DC funded projects.

    VOTE NO TO MAYOR ADRIAN FENTY he is corrupt along with CM Kwame Brown and Councilmember Michael Brown !!!!!!!!

  • Pingback: Poll Puts Gray Over Fenty In 2010: Loose Lips Daily - City Desk - Washington City Paper

  • DAD


    Adrian Fenty
    Kwame Brown
    Vincent Gray
    Entire DC City Council Have The Following In Common:

    Taken developers’ money to force out DC residents and businesses.

    Ignored mass firings of DC residents from their jobs.

    Allowed 50,000+ illegal immigrants to take DC jobs.

    Pushed DC residents out of homes, apts., and businesses.

    Making “One DC” of primarily the rich and powerful.

    Not Just Anybody DC. Leo Alexander for DC Mayor in 2010.

    Leo Alexander: Bold Visionary Leadership for a New DC.

    Leo Alexander: A Righteous Man To Save, Heal & Unite DC!

    Open. Honest. Fair. Just. Strong. Bold.

    DC Federation of Civic Associations' 2006 DOTY
    Ward 4 Resident and Brightwood Civic Association Member
    International Businessman / Insurance Broker
    Former Official of DC General Hospital and DC Public Housing Authority
    Former Television News Reporter – NBC WRC News Channel 4
    Former Award Winning Television News Reporter – CBS – New Orleans / Mobile, AL
    Police Cadet - Mobile, Alabama
    BA in Political Science and Sociology 1990 - University of South Alabama
    Husband of U.S. Naval Commander
    Father of 4 Children
    Lover of District of Columbia residents, small businesses, and neighborhoods

    “I will never let District of Columbia residents and businesses fall down or be pushed out.” Leo Alexander.

    “Leo Alexander for DC Mayor 2010 Campaign”
    To Fly On Board With Team LA DC, Call (202) 726-1018

  • Pingback: More Troubling Poll Numbers for Fenty - City Desk - Washington City Paper

  • http://IsayfreeJohnHinkleyandelecthimasmayor,let'ssee,he sedcdude

    I say release John Hinkley and elect him for mayor; he has no problem using a firearm, he's served his time and he's the 'right' color.....sounds like a returning citizen to me!

  • Q!

    Hmmm...almost 4 months later and HE STILL HASN'T MADE A DECISION.