Mayor London Breed is running essentially unopposed – but that doesn’t mean she’s popular with the electorate. A series of recent, reliable polls obtained by 48hills show that the mayor’s support has been declining rapidly over the past eight months.
No one poll can precisely pinpoint the electorate, particularly today when so many techniques are changing – polls that used to rely on random phone numbers now have to deal with cell phones that aren’t listed anywhere. Internet polling is getting better, but is still subject to biases.
But when you look at a series of polls, over time, done by top-level professionals (who are paid a lot by campaigns to get this right) and they show a single, clear trend, it’s worth noting.
Campaigns for all kinds of issues and candidates look at how the voters view elected officials. They’re looking, for example, at whether the endorsement of a certain official will help or hurt their campaign.
It’s very common to ask what voters think of the chief executive, even if the poll isn’t about the mayor’s race.
And here’s what several recent polls show:
In February, 63 percent of SF voters had a strongly or somewhat favorable opinion of Breed, compared to 30 percent who had a negative opinion.
In March, the numbers were 56/17.
In August, they were 53/22.
In October, they were 48/22.
When less than half of the electorate has a favorable opinion of a mayor, it’s a sign that that person is in trouble. When the positive reviews decline that fast, political consultants start to get alarmed.
Again: Breed will be re-elected. She will have four more years to address the crises facing the city, to bring voters around to supporting her. But right now, today, the numbers suggest her influence is declining – and that could have a major impact on two races that she has been heavily invested in.
Both Vallie Brown, the mayor’s appointee for supervisor in D5, and Suzy Loftus, who Breed just appointed interim district attorney, are counting heavily on the mayor’s support in their campaigns.
If it turns out that the endorsement of Mayor Breed isn’t a net positive with voters, it could hurt both Loftus and Brown. (Even the Chron notes that Breed’s appointment of Lofus could backfire.)
The numbers could also impact her ability to push an agenda.
Politics moves fast in San Francisco. If these trends continue, then a year from now serious contenders will start lining up for the 2023 mayor’s race.