When then-D.C. City Council Chairman Vincent Gray handily defeated incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty last year, African-American voters in particular hoped it would be the start of a grand new era of transparent and inclusive politics. Six months later, however, they’re starting to have flashbacks to the bad old days when, thanks to former Mayor Marion Barry, the office was plagued by scandal and ridicule, and they don’t like it.
According to a new poll conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, Gray’s popularity is now lower than Fenty’s was before last year’s election. In August 2010, 47 percent of registered voters approved of Fenty’s job performance. The new survey found that just 41 percent approve of Gray’s. In addition, the Post reports, the number of Democrats who believe the mayor is untrustworthy has almost tripled and the number of people who say he doesn’t understand their problems has more than doubled.
Not surprisingly, African-American and white voters view Gray differently. About 51 percent of African-Americans approve of his job performance, compared to only 27 percent of white residents.
Gray became embroiled in controversy very early on. The FBI, U.S. attorney’s office, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the D.C. Council are investigating allegations by former mayoral candidate and city employee Sulaimon Brown that Gray’s campaign offered him money and a job for criticizing Fenty during the campaign. Gray has denied any wrongdoing but that hasn’t stopped some people from a launching a recall website—recallvincegray.com.
(Photo: Rod Lamkey Jr/Landov)