Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is the city’s most popular elected official by a wide margin and two liberal members of the City Council aren’t doing too shabby either, according to a memo based on a new poll.
When asked about the mayor, 70 percent of respondents said they had a favorable impression of Murray, who was elected last year.
Just 23 percent said they had an unfavorable impression of Murray, while others gave no rating. More than 90 percent of respondents said they recognized the mayor’s name, according to the memo.
“I’ve seen other polls where the mayor’s numbers were high, but 70 percent favorable is just an incredibly strong number,” said Andrew Thibault, a principal at EMC research.
“People are feeling optimistic right now and the mayor is getting credit for that,” Thibault added, saying other polling has shown that voters think the city is moving in the right direction.
Publicola at Seattle Met first reported on the telephone poll, which wrapped up last week.
The poll surveyed 711 people likely to vote in Seattle’s November 2015 election, Thibault said. Murray won’t be on the ballot, but all nine council seats will be up for grabs.
Kshama Sawant, elected to the council last year with help from the Socialist Alternative party, scored a 50 percent favorable rating. She was bested only by another of the council’s more liberal members, Nick Licata, who notched a 51 percent rating.
Council President Tim Burgess was next with 45 percent, followed by Sally Clark with 38, Tom Rasmussen with 35 and Mike O’Brien with 30.
Sawant drew by far the highest percentage of unfavorable views, with 30 percent. That may not be a surprise, considering her loud and proud tax-the-wealthy agenda. Sawant’s 80 percent name-recognition was also very high.
“She has a more polarizing effect than the others, but her favorable rating is very strong,” said Thibault, noting Sawant was the public face of the successful movement earlier this year for a higher minimum wage in Seattle.
Licata, Sawant, Burgess, Clark, Rasmussen and O’Brien were all viewed more favorably than unfavorably citywide.
Bruce Harrell, Jean Godden and Sally Bagshaw don’t show up in the poll’s citywide favorable ratings. But they do in the poll’s district results.
The council is moving to representation based on geography for seven of its nine seats in 2015, and Harrell’s name registered with 60 percent of respondents in his home 2nd District, which covers Southeast Seattle. His favorable rating there was 42 percent among voters polled.
Sawant, Licata and Godden were even more popular in their own districts, while Rasmussen, Bagshaw and O’Brien were less popular near home but were still viewed more favorably than unfavorably among district voters polled.
“With the move to council elections by district, the thinking was that this suggested some kind of growing dissatisfaction with the council as a whole and that 2015 might be a really strong ‘change’ election,” Thibault said, noting the results don’t bear that out.
What characterized councilmembers most within their districts was name-recognition.
For instance, just 41 percent of respondents in O’Brien’s 6th District, which covers Northwest Seattle, knew him well enough to rate him.
Most of the current council members have registered re-election campaigns, with only Licata and O’Brien staying out so far, and the poll showed “no red flags” for the incumbents, Thibault said.
In a hypothetical four-way race for the council’s two at-large seats, Licata and Clark received the most first-choice votes from poll respondents.
The poll, commissioned by an undisclosed private party, asked voters additional, unrelated questions that EMC Research hasn’t made public.
Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission records show that the campaign for Seattle Proposition No. 1B, a ballot measure in the current election supported by the Murray and the Council, has recently used EMC Research for telephone interviews.