Polls

Mayor Sylvester Turner gets relatively high marks from likely voters as he prepares to depart

The Houston Public Media/Houston Chronicle/UH Political Science and Population Health Poll found 49% of respondents held either a strongly favorable or somewhat favorable view of Turner’s time in office.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner at the Houston Travel Fest opening ceremony on September 29, 2023.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's support remains relatively strong as he prepares to leave office after eight years. That's the finding of a new poll of more than 800 likely voters in Houston’s mayoral runoff election.

The Houston Public Media/Houston Chronicle/UH Political Science and Population Health Poll found 49% of respondents held either a strongly favorable or somewhat favorable view of Mayor Sylvester Turner's time in office. Another 23% held neither a favorable nor an unfavorable view of Turner, while only 28% held either a somewhat or strongly unfavorable view of the outgoing mayor.

"His (rankings) are as good if not better than the last two mayors that have left office," said UH political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus, who coauthored the poll. "So, that's a good sign for him, I think because it's certainly the case that he's leaving office on a high note."

Among Black voters, Turner's positive rankings rose to 66%. For white voters, they registered 37%, and for Latino voters, 43%. When broken down by age group, Turner's highest rankings came among older voters, with those over 65 giving rating him favorably by 57%. His lowest positive ratings came from 18-34-year-olds, just 39% of whom held a favorable view of his time in office.

Looking at partisanship, 67% of Democrats polled gave Turner positive marks, compared to 41% of independents and 30% of Republicans. In the last case, a further 24% of Republicans held neither a positive nor a negative view of Turner's time in office, making an unusually strong showing for a mayor who previously served as a Democratic state lawmaker.

"When Turner came into office, his big claim was that he was going to fix the city's fiscal health," Rottinghaus explained, "and he's largely done that, and I think he gets good reward for that among Republicans."

Still, outgoing City Controller Chris Brown has warned the city is likely to face serious fiscal challenges over the next few years as federal COVID funding runs out. "Most people recognize that a lot of the problems that the city faces predate Mayor Turner," Rottinghaus said.