When Vincent C. Gray began work in January as mayor of the District of Columbia, he was riding a wave of popularity.
It was a short ride. According to a recent poll by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, district voters showed far less support for the former member of the D.C. Council after half a year as mayor.
Coming into office, Gray enjoyed the approval of 60 percent of voters; now, only 47 percent of those polled gave their approval.
More ominously, the percentage of voters who hold a negative impression of Gray has jumped, from only 16 percent when he assumed office to 40 percent now.
The Washington Post attributes Gray’s slide in popularity to a rocky six months that saw a number of allegations against Gray and his administration of city government.
Gray continues to enjoy the support of a majority of black voters — 51 percent. Among whites, however, only 27 percent indicated they supported his handling of the job of mayor.
The poll suggests that District of Columbia voters may be a fickle lot. Gray became mayor by defeating Adrian M. Fenty, whom the Post described as “the once-wildly popular incumbent.” Fenty’s popularity had dissipated by Election Day, when Gray got 54 percent of the vote, easily beating Fenty’s 44 percent.
Now Gray, himself once popular, if not wildly so, has settled into a less-than-half-approve level.
If Gray has hope for recovery, it could be on the issue of employment. The Post reports that poll respondents, in interviews, were disappointed that Gray has not delivered on his promise of new jobs.
If he can turn that around — bring jobs to the district — then his numbers could possibly turn around as well.