Poll: Philadelphians are pessimistic about the city’s future

philadelphia skyline
A poll released Wednesday by The Pew Charitable Trusts found Philadelphians have a pessimistic attitude toward the city.
Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro

A poll released Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts indicated Philadelphians’ pessimism toward the city is growing.

“On the whole, residents gave the city lower ratings than at any time over the five years Pew has been polling in Philadelphia,” directer of Pew’s Philadelphia program Larry Eichel said.

The biggest shift was in residents’ view of the future, with the proportion of Philadelphians expecting the city to improve in five years dropping to 52 percent this year, from a high of 68 percent in 2009.

“I think there’s no question that the education issue looms large in this poll,” Eichel said, noting the survey was conducted in late July and early August, when Superintendent William Hite said he was unsure whether schools would open on time.

“So certainly there was a lot of concern about education, and I think there was no question that influenced the mood of the city and everything in the poll.”

Mayor Michael Nutter’s approval ratings also plummeted to the lowest recorded by Pew, dropping 21 percentage points in just one year.

The report further found the level of optimism fell among two groups that have tended to view the city in a particularly positive light – residents with family incomes above $100,000 and those who have lived in the city for 10 years or less.

The percentage of those demographics who felt the city was on the right track fell 9 points, though the sentiment dropped only 2 percentage points among all respondents.

“As to why long-term residents have a more pessimistic view, I can’t really tell you why that is,” Eichel said.

“It’s certainly a phenomenon we’ve noticed throughout our polling. Another way of looking at it is people who have been here a shorter amount of time are more optimistic. That’s been a clear trend that persists throughout this survey, as well.”

But the poll showed the most negative views of the city came from Northeast Philadelphia residents, with 44 percent of them saying Philadelphia was worse off than five years earlier, compared with 37 percent of Philadelphia residents overall.

Thirty-eight percent of Northeast Philadelphians said they expected the city to get worse in five years, compared to 27 percent citywide.

Despite the negativity, 60 percent of Philadelphians said they considered the city a good or excellent place to live – roughly the same proportion as in previous years.

“It’s certainly possible that someone could take the ‘right direction, wrong track’ question as more of a short term question and then when they’re asked whether they think the city is a good place to live, they may think of that from a longer, broader viewpoint,” Eichel said.

“And despite the fact that they think the city may not be as good as it was and maybe it’s on the wrong track, but it’s still a good place to live – I don’t think there’s an inherent contradiction there.”

By the numbers

45% of respondents said the city was “off on the wrong track” and 37% said it was “headed in the right direction,” compared to 37% and 46% in 2009

37% of respondents said the city had become a worse place to live over the past five years and 25% said it became better, compared to 27% and 33% in 2009

52% of Philadelphians said they expected the city to improve in the next five years and 27% said they did not expect it to improve, compared to 68% and 14% in 2009

39% of residents said they approved of the mayor’s job performance and 52% disapproved, compared to 60% and 30% in 2012



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…