A Vanderbilt University poll released Tuesday shows Mayor Megan Barry’s approval rating has dropped by 11 percentage points since a poll one year ago but a political science professor said it also reveals there is “strong public support” for her.
A release from the university said the poll puts the mayor’s approval rating at 61 percent, which is down from 72 percent last year.
With the controversy surrounding Mayor Barry’s admission of an extramarital affair with her former head of security Rob Forrest, a university spokesperson said “this year’s poll included questions about how much the mayor’s personal life impacted their view of her performance.”
The university reported 59 percent of those polled believe the mayor’s personal life has little or no impact on their perceptions of her job performance.
The survey of 800 Davidson County residents was conducted by phone between Feb. 8 and Feb. 19th. The margin of error is reportedly 4.6 percent.
“These data indicate strong public support for Mayor Barry, despite the recent revelations,” said John Geer, who is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science. “Everyone should have expected a drop from 72 percent last year, given the controversial issues she has tackled, such as transit and the proposed changes for Nashville General. Any elected official would be very happy with a 61 percent approval rating, and there is little reason to believe the most recent news about photos and text messages would change the underlying support Nashvillians have for the mayor.”
Minutes after the poll was made public, Mayor Barry responded on Twitter: “Thank you to the people of Nashville for standing with me. We’ve come a long way, but still have a lot of work to do. I’ll keep fighting my heart out for you everyday. Let’s keep Nashville moving forward. #VandyPoll”