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Poll: Charlotteans Overwhelmingly Oppose Four-Year Terms For City Council

City of Charlotte
The Charlotte City Council is considering whether to switch from two-year terms to four-year terms.

A Charlotte City Council committee on Tuesday said that voters should decide whether they switch from two-year terms to four-year terms.

But a poll suggests voters would say no.

Pro-business group Forward Charlotte polled 385 active voters in late October and found that 62 percent said they oppose longer terms. Twenty-eight percent said they support the longer terms, while 10 percent were undecided.

Forward Charlotte was formed before the 2017 mayor's race, in part to oppose then Democratic mayor Jennifer Roberts. Mark Knoop, the group's executive director and a Republican strategist, said the group's main mission is to support the city's business community.

"It's wildly unpopular," said Knoop about four-year terms.

The same poll found that the same voters approved of City Council's job performance, 39 percent to 38 percent.

It also found that voters generally approved of the council member who represents them. Voters had a favorable opinion of their council member in all but two of seven council districts - districts 5 and 7.

On Tuesday, four members of the council's budget committee said voters should decide on whether the city moves to four-year terms.

Democrats Dimple Ajmera and Greg Phipps supported a referendum on longer terms, as did Republicans Ed  Driggs and Tariq Bokhari. Driggs and Bokhari are opposed to four-year terms, however.

Democrat LaWana Mayfield, who supports four-year terms, said she would prefer that council approve the change without a referendum.

If the issue is placed before voters, it would have to be on the November election, when Mayor Vi Lyles and the full City Council are on the ballot.

Mecklenburg Commissioners asked voters to approve four-year terms in 2015., but voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea.

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.