Job Nelson of Tom Shepard and Associates, with help from Competitive Edge Polling, just did a poll of residents inside the city of San Diego that shows Mayor Jerry Sanders, City Attorney Mike Aguirre and City Councilwoman Donna Frye are doing well in residents’ minds.

Council President Scott Peters, on the other hand, may need to display a little more of that great sense of humor he unveiled guest-blogging in SLOP last week. He didn’t do so well in the poll.

Tom Shepard, of course, was Sanders’ lead consultant in the mayoral race against Frye last year. Take his numbers, then, however you want, but I think they’re interesting.

Sanders, according to the poll of 512 residents, has a 78 percent favorable rating. The residents saw Frye as 67 percent favorable and Aguirre came in at 57 percent.

Residents polled gave Peters, who was a client of Shepard’s, a 34 percent favorable rating.

The City Council as a whole came in at 44 percent favorable 44 percent unfavorable. It’d be interesting to do the poll after whatever happens next week, happens.

Here was the question the residents answered:

Now, I’m going to read you the names of some people and organizations. Please tell me whether you’ve heard of them and, if you have, whether you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of them.

It shows that while the employee unions and some of the city’s power brokers have turned against Aguirre, the people outside the bubble are still with him. Yes, Sanders’ favorable rating is high but he’s going to have a honeymoon period for a while. That will last as long as the city doesn’t unravel anymore.

Check that. Even if the city unravels, Sanders will be fine until it can be blamed on him. And you can’t ignore that Sanders has an avuncular, quiet type of charisma that makes you want to like him. I’ve been as hard on him as anyone in town, but I still like him.

Donna’s rating shows that she can be an interesting power broker on a City Council that still, for some reason, completely ignores her stances.

I still don’t understand why there are so many 7 to 1 votes where she is the one. She’s proven that her positions tend to keep her mostly out of trouble and that they’re popular.

And the voters’ mood overall?

More than 60 percent of the residents polled in September 2005 had said the city is on the wrong track. Only 22 percent said then that it was on the right track.

Now, if you consider that Sanders, Aguirre, Peters and Frye are now the most prominent city officials and three of the four of them have popular ratings, you might expect things to have changed.

And they did.

Now 55 percent of those polled say the city is on the right track. Only 27 percent say it’s on the wrong track.

Finally a few more interesting points:

Those polled were asked to rate a few city issues a rating of “10” meant the issue is “very important and should receive top priority.” You can figure out what a rating of “1” was.

Here they appear in order:

  • Getting financial house in order and restoring credit: 72 percent consider it very important with a 9 or 10 on the scale.
  • Holding government officials to high ethical standards: 68.4 percent
  • Repairing potholes, water and sewer lines, and infrastructure: 36.5 percent
  • Attracting jobs/strong economy: 37.9 percent
  • Avoiding cuts in libraries and park and recreation: 27.7 percent
  • Holding the line on taxes and fees: 29.7 percent

Interesting. The supposedly tax-averse San Diegans put “holding the line on taxes” – meaning don’t raise them – at the bottom of the priority list.


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