Only about one-quarter of Seattle residents approve of the job our city council is doing, according to an October 14 SurveyUSA poll, and yet voters seem unwilling to support two ballot measures that would fix problems with the way we elect council members—measures that would encourage more challengers and promote more competitive races.
The survey, which questioned 557 likely Seattle voters in the upcoming election, found that only 28 percent of respondents "approve" of our city council's job performance. By contrast, controversial mayor Mike McGinn has an approval rating of 36 percent—making him more popular. But while McGinn is losing in polls to retain his job against a well-funded, politically pedigreed opponent, of the four council incumbents up for reelection this year, Richard Conlin is arguably the only one facing a serious challenge, from socialist Kshama Sawant (and even that is a long shot).
Why are poor-performing council members not attracting viable challengers?