BOSTON — A new poll shows that while Boston Mayor Thomas Menino remains widely favored, city residents are divided over whether he should run for an unprecedented sixth term.
The poll (PDF), conducted for The Boston Globe by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, found that while the mayor holds a 74 percent approval rating, just 43 percent said they want him to run again, compared to 36 percent who do not want him to run.
Sixty percent cited the mayor’s recent health issues, which left him hospitalized for nearly two months last year, as a reason they were less likely to vote for him. Menino — who has until May 13 to decide whether to apply for nomination papers — has said he doesn’t want to be “just a mayor sitting at a desk.”
“I want to have the energy,” Menino told WBUR’s Bob Oakes earlier this month. “I want to have the where-all of making sure the city continues to move forward.”
The poll also showed that Menino could easily defeat City Councilor John Connolly, who declared his bid for mayor last month, 50 percent to 21 percent in a head-to-head match-up, with 26 percent of voters undecided.
“If Menino ran again, he would probably win handily, but I think there’s a desire among a lot of people to have a new mayor,” Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center, told the Globe. “It’s not that they are unhappy with Menino. Voters just think it’s time for new blood at the top.”
Nearly three in four residents said they think the city is on the right track, but 45 percent said they would be less likely to vote for Menino because he has already served for 20 years.
In an annual address to businesses leaders on Monday, Menino did not address whether he would run again, but he did outline several new initiatives for the city, including projects to improve school quality and build new housing units in the city.
According to the Globe, the poll of 440 adults was conducted on both land lines and cellphones from March 20 to March 26. The results were weighed by gender, race, neighborhood and other factors and has a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percentage points.