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Mayor Phil Hardberger
Mayor Phil Hardberger

UTSA survey says majority likes mayor's performance

By Alison Beshur
Public Affairs Specialist

(Nov. 3, 2005)--Area residents' opinions of Mayor Phil Hardberger's job performance vary according to age, ethnicity and political affiliation, a University of Texas at San Antonio poll shows.

UTSA students and three faculty research associates at the Culture and Policy Institute conducted a survey sampling of 592 respondents to rate Hardberger's job performance as "excellent," "good," "fair" or "poor."

The 2005 survey, conducted Oct. 7-23, indicated that 55.6 percent of area residents rate Mayor Hardberger's job performance as "excellent" or "good." Nearly 13 (12.9) percent of respondents ranked Hardberger's performance as "fair," while 2.1 percent viewed it as "poor." Nearly one in three (29.4 percent) of the respondents, however, could not judge the mayor's performance, declaring that not enough time had elapsed or simply that they did not know or did not have an answer to the question.

"On the one hand and in general, area residents view Mayor Hardberger's job performance favorably," said Arturo Vega, UTSA associate professor of public administration. "On the other hand, a good number are unsure about his performance."

Perceptions of the mayor's job performance were found to vary by age, race and ethnicity, partisan affiliation and political views.

Only one third (33.1 percent) of the respondents between the ages of 18 and 35, for example, rated the mayor's job performance as "excellent" (10.1 percent) or "good" (23 percent). Twenty-seven (26.6) percent of the respondents in this age category, however, were equally as likely to rate the mayor's job performance as "fair" or "poor," and an additional one-third (32.8 percent) declared that not enough time an elapsed to judge his performance or simply could not give answer.

In contrast, a simple majority (50 percent) of the respondents between the ages of 36 and 49 ranked the mayor's job performance as "excellent" or "good," while seven in 10 respondents (69.5 percent) between the ages of 50 and 64, and 65 and older (69.9 percent) gave the mayor an "excellent" or "good" rating. One-third (33 percent) of the respondents in the age category 36-49 were uncertain of how to rank the mayor; this is in contrast to one in five of respondents in these latter age categories (50-64: 19.5 percent and 65+: 19.4 percent), who also could not rate the mayor's performance.

Non-Anglo respondents differed significantly in the evaluation of the mayor's job performance as well. While strong majorities of Anglos (65 percent) rated the mayor's job performance as "excellent" or "good," Latino, African Americans and respondents of "other" races or ethnicities were more evenly split in their rating of the mayor.

More than four in 10, Latino and African American respondents, for example, rated the mayor's job performance as either "excellent" or "good" (43.9 percent for Latinos and 44.7 percent for African Americans), while a slight majority of "other" respondents (52 percent) gave the mayor a similar rating.

African American and Latino respondents (42.1 percent for African Americans; 35 percent for Latinos) were next more likely to be uncertain how to rate the mayor, citing not enough time to judge or simply not having an answer to the question.

Twenty-eight percent of "other" respondents were more likely to give the mayor a "fair" or "poor" rating, while one-fifth (20 percent) could not rate the mayor. Finally, the mayor's job performance varied significantly by partisan affiliation and political views.

Strong majorities of Republicans (62.5 percent) and conservatives (54.3 percent) were more likely to rate the mayor's performance as "excellent" or "good." Democrats, independents, liberals and moderates were slightly less enthusiastic about the mayor.

Only 51 percent of the Democrats and 48 percent of the Independents, for example, shared the Republicans' view of the mayor. Similarly only 50 percent of the liberals and 52 percent of the moderates ranked the mayor as "excellent" or "good. No significant differences were found among men and women or among respondents of different levels of education or income.

The San Antonio Survey 2005 (SAS 2005) is an annual survey conducted by UTSA students in the combined research methods courses of sociology, public administration and criminal justice. It is conducted through the university's Culture and Policy Institute. Surveys were conducted Oct. 7-23, 2005.

The SAS 2005 data are based on a random probability sample of individuals with telephones and consist of 592 responses from the Bexar County metropolitan area. The standard error of the entire sample is +/- 4.2 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.

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