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Ph. D., Department of Political Science, University of New Orleans;Associate Professor, Department of Public Affairs and Civil Education, National Changhua University of Education.
Governance Performance, Racial Factor, and the Mayor’s Approval Rating: The Case of New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina Download
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U.S. political scientists have long been attracted to the issue of how citizens evaluate their chief executive, both in central and local governments. Some scholars claim that people’s perception of the quality of their life makes a huge impact on their approval of the chief executive while researchers of other schools indicate the racial factor is the one playing the most important role in it.
This research compares a racial model to a performance model in
explaining the approval of the mayor of New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina, analyzing the dynamics of job approval of the black mayor, Ray Nagin. By analyzing the 2004, 2006 and 2007 Quality of Life study survey data offered by the Survey Research Center, University of New Orleans, we concluded the findings suggest that the mayoral approval rating is affected by both the factor of race and governance performance.
However, the racial model makes an even greater impact on the case of Mayor Nagin than performance model does. The dramatic change of Mayor Nagin’s racial support base before and after Hurricane Katrina demonstrates that race is a crucial factor in influencing New Orleans residences’ approval of their mayor.