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Poll: Disapproval in San Antonio politicians rising, city council favorability under 50 percent

Aerial view of downtown San Antonio illuminated at dusk with Tower life building (Getty Images)

BEXAR COUNTY, Tex. (KTSA News) — The political leaders of San Antonio and Bexar County are seeing their favorability ratings fall and disapproval ratings rise, according to the latest Bexar Facts Poll done by KSAT-TV and San Antonio Report.

Overall, all of the local politicians had a boost of public opinion in the heat of the coronavirus pandemic with more people developing opinions about San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff in April.

Nirenberg, Wolff, the San Antonio City Council, and the Bexar County Commissioners Court all saw a dip in disapproval in April.  The city politicians have seen their disapprovals bounce back to pre-pandemic levels in the subsequent surveys, but the county politicians have seen their strongly disapprove numbers double and then triple in that time.

The survey questioned 600 registered Bexar County voters and has a margin of error of 4 points.

San Antonio City Council

On the City of San Antonio front, the San Antonio City Council was the least liked government body or politician considered in the poll.

More people strongly disapprove the work the city council is doing than strongly approve it — 12 percent strongly approve and 18 strongly disapprove.

The overall favorability for the council fell to 49 percent in the September poll; down from 55 percent in June, 60 percent in April, and basically flat from the 48 percent in February.

The overall disapproval rate rose from 21 percent in April and 31 percent in June to 36 percent in September.

Within that 49 percent approval rate, only 12 percent strongly approved the work the council was doing.  That is down from 20 percent in April, though even with the 13 percent it had in February.  The somewhat favorable score has been fairly steady in the 35 to 40 percent range this year.

Bexar County Commissioners Court

The Bexar County Commissioners Court has a similar approval rating to the San Antonio City Council, but a much lower disapproval rating with nearly a third of respondents not knowing or having any opinion on the court.

The total approval rate has ranged from 46 percent to 52 percent this year with the September poll giving the commissioners court a 48 percent approval rate.

The disapproval rate jumped from 16 percent in February and 12 percent in April to 21 percent in June and 23 percent in September.  The percentage of people disapproving the work of commissioners court doubled from April to June.  The strongly disapprove numbers tripled in that time period.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg has the highest approval rating of the politicians and political bodies inquired about, but that support has eroded since April.

The September survey gave him 65 percent total approval — 40 percent strongly approve and 25 percent somewhat approve — and 28 percent total disapproval — 8 percent somewhat disapprove and 19 percent strongly disapprove.

Compared to June, those numbers are fairly even with a couple points moving from strongly approve to strongly disapprove.

The total approval numbers are still 9 points higher than pre-pandemic and the total disapproval numbers are in the same range of his February numbers.  The biggest change is the number of respondents who answered ‘Don’t know’ in February went from 15 percent to 7 percent in the surveys after.  Most of those numbers moved into the strongly approve in April.

The strongly approve numbers have been fairly steady since April, but the somewhat approve numbers have been cut by a third and moved into the strongly disapprove side.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff has grown steadily more unpopular since April and more people have become aware of him since February.

The county judge currently has a 60 percent approval rating — 31 percent strongly approve and 29 percent somewhat approve — and a 27 percent disapproval rating — 9 percent somewhat disapprove and 19 percent strongly disapprove.

His approval numbers were steady in September compared to June, but down from the COVID-19 bump all of the politicians got.

Wolff’s disapproval numbers have doubled since April and his ‘Don’t Know’ number has been cut in half.

While his somewhat disapprove numbers have been steady this year, his strongly disapprove rate has gone from 6 percent in February and 7 in percent in April to 19 percent in September.  That disapproval number is now comparable to San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, but the mayor is viewed more favorably than the county judge.


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