mirkarimi_defendantsname.jpgResults of a poll released Wednesday by a group of domestic violence victim advocates found that nearly two-thirds of San Franciscans think suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi should be removed from office, but an attorney for the sheriff dismissed the poll as biased.

The survey of 500 San Franciscans, commissioned by the advocates and carried out by the North Carolina-based company Public Policy Polling, found that 61 percent of those surveyed think Mirkarimi should be removed from office, while 31 percent said he should not and 8 percent said they were not sure.

Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi without pay on official misconduct charges in March following his misdemeanor conviction stemming from an incident in which he grabbed his wife’s arm during an argument, causing a bruise.

The charges were upheld by the Ethics Commission in a 4-1 vote last week and will now go to the Board of Supervisors, which will ultimately decide whether to permanently remove Mirkarimi from office.

Joyce Newstat, one of the advocates who spoke at a news conference this afternoon, said the group “wanted to know what the people of San Francisco were thinking.”

The poll, which cost the advocates $2,000, broke down the results by gender, race, political party and supervisorial district and found that men, as well as white and Asian residents, were among the most likely to feel that Mirkarimi should be ousted as sheriff.
About 69 percent of men thought he should be removed, versus 55 percent of women. Whites and Asians were at 64 and 69 percent, respectively.

The supervisors whose district constituents most strongly felt Mirkarimi should be removed were Mark Farrell, Carmen Chu and Jane Kim.

Mirkarimi served for seven years as District 5 supervisor before being elected sheriff, and only 51 percent of voters in that district thought he should be removed. Even fewer — 50 percent–thought so in District 8, represented by Scott Wiener.

“We think this is great information to have,” said Beverly Upton, executive director of the Domestic Violence Consortium, a coalition of 17 different advocate groups. “Certainly every supervisor wants to know what their district thinks.”

Mirkarimi’s attorney David Waggoner criticized the results of what he said was a “twisted, biased poll” that asked leading questions.

Waggoner said, “The poll was funded by individuals who have been on record in opposition to the sheriff and his family, so it’s hardly surprising that the results of the poll would be what it is.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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