Poll: D.C. mayor leads, helped by crowded field, in re-election bid
Mayor Vince Gray outside the Two Rivers Charter school, Washington DC on the 20th December 2013.
January 14th, 2014
03:04 PM ET
9 years ago

Poll: D.C. mayor leads, helped by crowded field, in re-election bid

Washington (CNN) – Over a year after an ethics scandal threatened to end his career, a new poll finds that Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray currently has twice as much support as his closest challenger for re-election in 2014.

A Washington Post survey released Tuesday, which gauged registered Democrats, also indicated that Gray was benefiting from a crowded field of opponents in the city's April 1 Democratic primary. Though the incumbent was in the lead, only 24% of Washingtonian Democrats said they would vote for him, while the next three candidates garnered the support of a combined 34% of Democratic voters.

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It is a near dead heat for Gray's most viable contender, according to the poll. Councilmember Muriel Bowser came in second place with 12% of the vote, while 11% of city Democrats backed councilmembers Jack Evans and Tommy Wells, respectively.

"We are happy, but we are not surprised," said Chuck Thies, Gray's campaign manager. "One of the most glaring aspects of the poll is that the three Ward councilmembers, who have been in the race for months, have got nothing out of it."

"We have no concern with these numbers," he added.

In particular, Thies pointed to the fact that Gray's approval rating has jumped from 29% in July 2012 to 51% in this latest poll.

Gray has staked him campaign on the idea that Washington, D.C. is headed in the right direction. And a majority of city residents appear to agree: Six-in-ten said the district is headed in the right direction. That number was 40% in July 2012.

For Washington, D.C. – where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 12-1 – the April 1 Democratic primary is seen as Election Day for most candidates. No Republican has ever been elected mayor of D.C.

Although Gray defeated then-incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty in the 2010 Democratic primary before winning the general election, his campaign has been the focus of a long-running federal investigation, with prosecutors saying his victory was tainted because his campaign was infused with $650,000 in illegal funds. Four of his top campaign aides from 2010 have pleaded guilty to felony charges, but the mayor has not been implicated.

In an interview with CNN last month, Gray tried to deflect from the investigation. "I have already responded to that again and again and again and again and again," Gray said. "I didn't do anything - period."

But a majority of voters still find Gray untrustworthy. According to the poll, 54% of D.C. residents said the mayor is not "honest or trustworthy." And while the number is down from 61% in July 2012, it still far higher than most politicians would hope.

Many of Gray's opponents have seized on this sentiment throughout the race, challenging the mayor of ethics and his 2010 shadow campaign. In a statement on Tuesday, Wells said the "race is wide open" and that it is clear "voters in every neighborhood are ready to do away with the old politics and corruption."

"When the majority of voters who know you say you aren't trustworthy, you've got a problem that's much bigger than politics or a poll," said Wells, the candidate who has been most fervent on running as the anti-Gray. "The votes for change are there; and we're going to work hard to keep earning them."

Bowser, too, said the poll was not good news for Gray – pointing to the fact that over three-quarters of D.C. voters selected an option other than the incumbent mayor.

"When more than 75% of the city thinks we need a change, that is likely what is going to happen," Bowser said in a brief statement.

To Jermaine House, Evans' campaign spokesman, the poll brought good news, especially when you consider the fact that among likely Democratic voters, Evans comes in with 13% of the vote, more than anyone not named Gray.

"As people continue to learn Jack's record on creating jobs and bringing economic opportunity to every resident, he will emerge as the strongest candidate, and we have the resources to ensure this message is heard citywide," House said in an email.

The Washington Post's telephone poll was conducted from January 9 to January 12 and sampled 1,003 adult residents of Washington, D.C. It has an overall sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Filed under: Vincent Gray • Washington D.C.
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Expat American

    Gray is such a crook. DC was only beginning to move forward towards respectability under Fenty. Gray and Barry are cut from the same cloth.

    January 14, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. just saying

    democrats always vote for the biggest, most corrupt criminal in the race.

    January 14, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Well, at least one city in the USA shows intelligence not having ever elected a republican for mayor!!!!

    January 14, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Kelvin R. Stemplemeister

    See here you dummies. I dont like thisobama guy, i dont trust this guy ands i do trust the other guy who ran against him because he looksd real sincere and i no that wite peeple dont lie! i no that peeple on foxx news tel the truth to peeple not like those lyers liberels, i wont vote for no lier liberel. i gonna vote for gorg bush next time he run and dont yoiu forgot it!!

    January 14, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. yolanda

    He has some big shoes to fill if he hopes to outshine Marion Barry.

    January 14, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Rusty Krus

    He has some big shoes to fill if he hopes to outshine Marion Barry.

    Yolanda, surprised to see you here today! Handyman thawing out the frozen pipes on your trailer home?

    January 14, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. bill

    Iran's leader just stated that "AMERICA SURRENDERS" because of obama/kerry/hillary signing an agreement with Iran to stop the enrichment-this proves what most already knew-this is a terrorist state and only the dumb would even think about an agreement SO THAT IRAN CAN GET THEIR MONEY????? they are celebrating in the streets of Iran because of dumb and dumber. This mayor fits right in.

    January 14, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    Stemplemeister!!! Bwahahaha. Too funny.

    January 14, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. don in albuquerque

    just saying!!!! Desperate? Much.

    January 14, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    @just saying-haaaa, criminals in the race JUST LIKE BUSH, CHENEY, DONALD RUMS-FIELD ETC!!!! GOP is pretty much gone to dogs....

    January 14, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Tampa Tim

    Ever notice baggers get most of their information from foreign news services and from Fox?

    January 14, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. tom l

    "@just saying-haaaa, criminals in the race JUST LIKE BUSH, CHENEY, DONALD RUMS-FIELD ETC!!!! GOP is pretty much gone to dogs...."


    Is it pretty much or all the way gone to dogs? Are we past 50% to dogs? 75%? I'm just curious to get a clear understanding of just how much GOP has gone to dogs.

    January 14, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |