A majority of Baltimore's most engaged Democrats approve of how Sheila Dixon handled her job as mayor.

But they're not keen for a comeback.

Dixon, who is barred from running for office this year as part of a plea deal to settle corruption charges, has said she might campaign for mayor in 2015.

But while 53 percent of respondents to the Sun Poll said they approve of her work for the city from 2007 to 2010, 54 percent said they would not consider voting her back into the office.

"She never really said she was sorry for anything," said Mary Ross, a former supporter.

The mixed feelings on Dixon reflect an electorate torn between what many see as a successful tenure as mayor and her dramatic resignation as part of a plea deal to settle charges that she stole gift cards meant for the needy and committed perjury.

As Dixon now edges back toward city politics, advising several challengers to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, likely voters in the Democratic primary next month are nearly evenly divided in their opinion of her: Forty-six percent said they had an unfavorable view of Dixon; 43 percent said they had a favorable view.

That compares with the 68 percent who expressed a favorable view of Rawlings-Blake, the former Dixon ally who succeeded her last year.

Ross said she voted for Dixon in 2007 and appreciated the job she did as mayor — especially her green initiatives and her choice of Frederick H. Bealefeld III as police commissioner.

But she said Dixon blew it with the "sneaky Pete stuff." She said it was "extremely unlikely" that she could vote for her again.

Still, the former mayor retains a base of support, thanks to residents like Carolyn Brown-Coby.

The West Baltimore woman, who turns 67 on Monday, thought the state prosecutor unfairly targeted Dixon in the corruption investigation.

"I think it was wrong for them to go into her personal life," Brown-Coby said. "To me, she seemed to do a good job, that's all."

If Dixon were to run in 2015, Brown-Coby said, she would back her enthusiastically.

Ella Butler, who lives in Coppin Heights, isn't bothered by the gift card theft, either.

"She didn't do nothing that the rest of them didn't do," she said. "She just got caught."

Butler, 60, plans to vote for Sen. Catherine E. Pugh in the primary Sept. 13 but says she'd jump at the chance to help Dixon win again in 2015. She noted Dixon's attentiveness to potholes and other quality-of-life ills in West Baltimore.

"I'll be right out there, if I'm still walking, rooting for her and voting for her, because she was a good mayor," she said.

As African-Americans, Brown-Coby and Butler are part of an important base for Dixon. Fifty-six percent of African-American poll respondents said they had a favorable view of her. Only 33 percent said they had an unfavorable view.