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Politics & Policy

SF voters turn on Breed as confidence in City Hall slumps further

Mayor London Breed speaks about monkeypox and the city’s state of emergency during a press conference at City Hall in San Francisco, California on Thursday, July 28, 2022. | Josh Edelson for The Standard

The latest San Francisco Standard poll is showing a continued decline in approval of the people and institutions that run the city, from Mayor London Breed and the police department to public schools. 

Approval of Mayor London Breed’s job performance has dropped by 13% since The Standard’s last poll was conducted in May. Respondents pointed to homelessness and crime as top issues, voicing a lack of confidence in City Hall leadership. 

Among poll respondents, 64% strongly or somewhat disapprove of Breed’s job performance —an increase of roughly 12% over The Standard’s last poll in May. Meanwhile, 36% strongly or somewhat approve of the job Breed is doing, down from 49% in May. 

If it’s any consolation for the mayor, attitudes toward the Board of Supervisors fared even worse. 

Forty-six percent of respondents said they strongly disapprove of the board in October versus 34% in May. Only 23% of respondents strongly or somewhat approve of the Board of Supervisors’ performance, with just 1% voicing strong approval of the policymaking body. 

“I’m fed up with the pettiness and ineffectiveness of most members of the BOS,” said one voter.

The fall SF Standard Voter Poll surveyed 944 registered voters in English and Simplified Chinese about their opinions on the city, its government and its challenges.

When asked who or what deserves the most blame for the current homelessness situation, 52% of respondents blamed “poor management at City Hall for many years,” 50% blamed city agencies and 50% blamed Breed and the Board of Supervisors collectively. Sixty-three percent of respondents agreed that City Hall “doesn’t understand how to solve the problem.” 

“The streets are disgusting, people are dying daily, and there’s no real solution happening to fix the drug problem,” said another voter who participated in the poll.

San Francisco residents weigh in on Mayor London Breed in video interviews conducted on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.

Respondents’ declining trust in City Hall also extends to the one institution that had a positive rating in the last survey: Overall approval of the San Francisco Police Department dropped 11 points from 52% to 41% since May. 

Likewise, respondents’ confidence in public schools also fell: Only 31% strongly or somewhat approve of the performance of the city’s public schools, compared with 39% in May. Sixty-nine percent of respondents now generally disapprove of the job public schools are doing, compared with 61% in May. 

The only public figure or institution with a net positive rating was District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, with 56% of respondents either strongly or somewhat approving of her job performance. Jenkins is currently polling ahead of her competitors to remain DA following the November election.

A staggering 59% of respondents told The Standard that they feel they can trust City Hall “only some of the time,” while 25% of respondents said they never trust SF’s leaders. Just 13% of respondents say they trust their local government most of the time or nearly always—a figure that stands at 21% nationwide.

“San Francisco is a great place but nothing is a given. Our leaders need to do a better job of working together and actually responding to our problems,” said another respondent.  

Liz Lindqwister contributed additional research for this story.