Is Mayor Ashton Hayward losing the African-American vote?

September 9, 2013

The IN August Poll found that only 43.4 percent of city voters still believe that the city of Pensacola is on the right track. Twenty-two percent believe Mayor Ashton Hayward is doing an excellent job and 34.6 percent said he is doing a good job—which gave Hayward an overall positive rating of 56.5 percent.

However, when we drilled down into the demographics of the respondents, the IN found that Hayward is losing support in the African-American community. In 2010, the precincts in those neighborhoods overwhelmingly voted for the newcomer Hayward, putting him into office over incumbent Mike Wiggins.

When asked if the City of Pensacola is on the right track, only 26.2 percent of the black voters said the city was headed in the right direction–the lowest percentage of any demographic group.

When asked about the mayor’s job performance, only 15.9 percent of the black respondents gave Hayward an “excellent” rating, compared to 23.8 percent among Whites.

Is the city better run under Mayor Ashton Hayward than the city-manager form of government?
Whites 36.2 percent strongly agreed that it is; Blacks 28.6 percent strongly agreed.

Would they vote for Hayward if the election for mayor was held today?
Whites 49.1 percent; Blacks 42.9 percent

If a strong challenger is able to split the white vote–as what happened in 2010 between Wiggins and Hayward, the African-American neighborhoods will decide the next mayor again. Hayward and his campaign team need to figure out how to shore up their minority base.

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