Poll: Voters love S.F., uncertain where it’s heading

San Francisco voters are increasingly worried about criminal elements lurking in The City and how well the public transportation system runs, according to poll results released Tuesday.

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce commissioned David Binder Research for a 519-voter poll from Jan. 19-21. The results are mixed, showing voters with an overwhelming approval of life in The City but a declining opinion from 56 percent to 48 percent that The City is headed in the “right direction.”

The cash-strapped San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has been a source of constant concern for riders and public officials with the voter-mandated on-time performance goal of 85 percent still unattained.

Those polled last month said Muni was performing better, although 19 percent said it was still a “major issue” facing The City this year, an 8 percent jump from last year’s poll.

“The success of our transit system is as important to our customers as it is to us,” said Muni spokeswoman Janis Yuen.

Crime, drugs and gangs also increased in the public eye as a significant issue in The City,according to the poll. In 2007, 24 percent of voters considered it a major issue, but this year 31 percent worried about crime, making it the second-biggest issue next to homelessness and panhandling.

Since most categories of violent crimes in The City decreased in 2007 from 2006 levels, according to police data, city officials said they believed the concern about crime stemmed from the rise in homicides.

“I think it’s the attention on the homicides, appropriately, that’s driven it,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said.

And while the mayor enjoys a comfortable 67 percent approval rating — although down from 72 percent last year — fewer respondents said they approved of the job the Board of Supervisors is doing, 45 percent, according to the poll.

dsmith@examiner.com

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