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Polls shows majority satisfied with Brown's performance as mayor

Mayor Byron W. Brown is winning high marks from city residents for his job performance and overall "vision," according to a new poll.

Nearly 21 percent of those surveyed by Goldhaber Research Associates rated Brown's performance in the past year as "excellent," while nearly 48 percent rated his track record as "good."

"Overall, he has a two-thirds positive rating, and that's a good rating for anybody," said Gerald Goldhaber of Goldhaber Research Associates.

Still, Brown's support dropped by about 10 percent when respondents were asked to gauge the mayor's ability to tackle major issues such as the economy, crime and housing.

The poll, which was conducted over a six-day period starting April 19, did not detect public fallout from two controversies Brown faced this spring, Goldhaber said. One incident involved the mayor's son taking the family vehicle on a joy ride and crashing into three other vehicles. The other involves numerous ongoing probes into city permits and inspections practices.

While the poll did not address the controversies, Goldhaber said none of the 411 people surveyed brought up the issues.

This was Goldhaber's first poll involving Brown's mayoral performance.

A majority of respondents think Brown has the ability to tackle important issues facing Buffalo. Still, four in 10 residents don't think Brown can implement his vision or deal with key problems.

Among white city residents, 57 percent gave Brown good or excellent ratings for his performance in the last year. But when asked about the mayor's ability to tackle major issues, more than half of white voters -- or 53 percent -- gave him fair to poor grades.

African-American respondents gave him far higher grades in both categories, with 86 percent rating his first year in office positively, and 75 percent giving him good or excellent grades for his ability to tackle issues.

Goldhaber said there is apparently more "skepticism" among white residents regarding Brown's ability to solve Buffalo's problems. But the pollster doesn't think the numbers are a "racial comment."

The new poll has a 4.8 percent margin of error, and Goldhaber said the overall numbers are generally positive for Buffalo's 58th mayor.

Brown, who learned about the survey from The Buffalo News, said he's pleased most residents are giving him high grades.

Why does he think his numbers drop when people are asked about his ability to deal with the city's long-term challenges?

"It's probably the belief that some problems are simply beyond the reach of a mayor or any one individual," Brown replied.

"The poll that really matters to me is the positive reaction I've been getting from people throughout the city," the mayor added.

e-mail: bmeyer@buffnews.com

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