Philadelphia Metropolis


One Hand Clapping

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Let's hear one-and-a-half cheers for Michael Nutter.

That's what most Philadelphia residents give the mayor in a new poll by Terry Madonna's Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College. The poll of 400 city residents was taken the first week in February.

Mayor Michael Nutter.jpgThe bad news for Nutter is that he gets only fair-to-middling grades from those polled: 34 percent say he has done a good or excellent job as mayor, while 66 percent say a fair or poor job.  Meanwhile, 50 percent say they have a favorable opinion of Nutter, while 32 percent have an unfavorable one.

One other note: there is a racial divide in opinion on Nutter. More whites (50%) than blacks (23%) give him a good or excellent rating.

Under normal circumstances, an incumbent with these tepid numbers would be considered vulnerable to a challenge. 

But not this year and not this mayor.

The good news for Nutter is that no serious candidate has emerged to oppose him in the Democratic primary (Milton Street aside, if he ever gets on the ballot) and while Tom Knox is talking about running as an independent in November, I don't see it. In the poll, put head-to-head against Knox, Nutter gets 46 percent to Knox's 28 percent with 26 percent undecided. That's too close to 50 percent for Knox to spend $12 million on a campaign.

Another way to put this is that while many Philadelphia voters, especially black voters, are unhappy with the mayor they are just going to have to grin and bear it. 

He's an incumbent. He will get a second term. Get over it.

And then he will do...what?

Well, he won't enter a second term from a position of strength -- not with those numbers. And he hasn't shown any inclination to tackle tough issues (labor contracts anyone?)

The mood of the public is not good. The majority of the respondents in the Madonna poll (53%) believe the city is on the wrong track, compared to 38 percent who responded "right track."

Only 23 percent of those polls said the city was a better place than it was four years ago, compared to 35 percent who said worse and 40 percent who replied "about the same."

Mood wise, I would call that a mild funk.

Not exactly a mandate for the incumbent.


-- Tom Ferrick

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