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KHOU polls Mayor Parker’s job performance

She did pretty well.

A majority of voters in Bayou City approve of Mayor Annise Parker’s job performance, according to an exclusive 11 News/KUHF-Houston Public Radio poll released Tuesday.

Rice University’s Center for Civic Engagement conducted the poll, which surveyed 500 registered voters in the city of Houston earlier this month. It had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

Fourteen percent of the respondents said Parker’s doing an “excellent” job. Forty-two percent rated it “good.” Twenty-seven percent called it “fair.”

Just six percent gave her a “poor” rating.

The rest were undecided.

“What was interesting was how many people couldn’t rate her,” said Prof. Bob Stein, 11 News’ political analyst. “But in fairness, this is not the kind of mayor that looks for the press coverage and publicity that Mayor (Bill) White did.”

Here are the toplines for the poll, which Dr. Stein kindly emailed me. Overall, the Mayor has an approval rating of 56/33, which is not bad at all considering the tough economy.

Interestingly, the poll also included questions about the red light camera and Renew Houston ballot propositions. Here’s what they found:

As you may know in Houston and other cities red light cameras are used to enforce the law against drivers who run red lights. Generally speaking do you strongly approve, approve, disapprove, or strongly disapprove of using red light cameras?
Frequency Percent Percent
Strongly Approve 115 22.8 23.0
Approve 148 29.3 29.6
Disapprove 105 20.8 21.0
Strongly Disapprove 111 22.0 22.2
Do not know 21 4.2 4.2
Total 500 99.0 100.0
Missing 5 1.0
Total 505 100.0

Would you vote to allow the City of Houston to continue to use red light cameras to enforce state or local laws relating to traffic safety?
Frequency Percent Percent
Yes 267 52.9 53.4
No 213 42.2 42.6
Do not know 20 4.0 4.0
Total 500 99.0 100.0
Missing 5 1.0
Total 505 100.0

Would you vote to allow the City of Houston to charge each household a $5 monthly fee to maintain and improve Houston’s drainage and streets?
Frequency Percent Percent
Yes 212 42.0 42.4
No 264 52.3 52.8
Do not know 24 4.8 4.8
Total 500 99.0 100.0
Missing 5 1.0
Total 505 100.0

You will note that Renew Houston does much worse in this poll than in the other one. In this case, the only question that was asked specified the $5 monthly fee that the initiative would include. It’s a good illustration of how the manner in which the question gets asked can affect the result. I will also note that the Renew Houston poll screened for likely voters, while this one is simply registered voters. I daresay those are two very different samples, and so it’s possible that could have an effect as well. If there is a well-funded effort to defeat Proposition 1, this will not surprisingly be a key point of attack. As for the red light camera result, I don’t really have much to add. It is a lower level of support for the cameras than what we saw in the previous poll, which may mean 1) the previous poll was juiced by the camera supporters who commissioned it; 2) the previous poll was accurate and the efforts of the anti-camera forces are bearing fruit; 3) the differences between the two are just statistical noise; or 4) none of the above. It’s still majority support, though again it’s from registered voters and not likely voters, so take it for what it’s worth.

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5 Comments

  1. !!Dean says:

    The third poll question–the one about drainage–leads to a small bit of misunderstanding. The wording in Prop 1 mentions that households would be charged on a sliding scale. But the question presents a flat-rate across all households. Personally, I would be against a flat fee on all households, but I support the sliding scale. That said, I’m not fully in favor of Prop 1 and haven’t finalized my decision on the matter.

  2. Typically polling on RLCs has been unpredictive. I think part of that key is looking at the “strongly” category for approve or disapprove note that they are pretty much dead even. In general I have found the more entusiastic positions have been on the anti camera side. We know there are voters that, if asked, say they like the cameras, but do they like them enough to turn out to keep them? I also assume this poll was done before the camera company sued Houston and Baytown. Has this changed anyone’s mind? I talked to several that said that before they would have voted to keep the cameras, but with all they did with full page false ads, suing the city, being fully funded with red light camera corporate contributions they now say that if this is the company the city contracted with they need to send them packing. How much of that sentiment is in Houston now? Surely this could hurt their position, the Chronicle, which is strongly pro camera, didn’t cover the story for a week knowing it would hurt the position and the camera company lawyers filed on the end of the week for the holiday to suppress the media coverage, I am sure they already had their case prepared before council voted and could have filed it immediately. It is also interesting that 53% is the lowest scientific poll I can find for any city that had a vote and every time cities vote the cameras get voted out. In college station the camera company commissioned a poll there that showed a higher % in favor of the cameras than their poll in Houston but the vote still went against the cameras. In Ohio they commissioned a statewide poll and it showed 54% support the cameras, but photo enforcement went up for a vote no less than 4 times and failed each time, including in Cincinnati, a very large city. The vote against was as much as 76%. In April, the commissioned a Wilson research poll at the same time as the one in Houston but they still refuse to publish the results of that poll, I wonder why?

  3. Byron – According to the toplines doc, the poll was conducted September 1-5. Mary Benton had the scoop about the red light camera lawsuit on September 3, and it was reported on KPRC that evening. So, at least some people could have heard about the lawsuit. All things considered, you are probably correct that this was done before most people had heard about it and had a chance to react to it. But just for the record, the poll was partially conducted after the suit was filed.

  4. Sorry, should have clicked on the link, thanks for bringing that up. I wonder if the fact that the houston PAC sued makes a difference instead of ATS actually filing the suit like they did here in Baytown. It is easy to see from the coverage here that it is actually the camera company filing the suit, but not so much in Houston, so possibly people aren’t making that connection so it may not be as much of a factor as I would imagine since they are hiding behind their PAC.

  5. Stacey says:

    Every time the cameras come up for a vote they are voted out. This has happened in at least 19 cities. The polls say the people like them, yet they are ALWAYS voted out.