Ryan Briggs Ryan Briggs is a staff writer and connoisseur of City Hall intrigue, business dealings, neighborhood gossip and local lore. Ryan has studied, worked and resided in Philadelphia since 2004, covering politics and development issues for Hidden City, Next City and Metropolis, amongst other fine publications.
Despite recent gains, most Philadelphians thought the city had gotten worse over the last five years
According to a study released today by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphians' love for their city and their mayor has plummeted, erasing years of positive momentum built on political reforms and population gains. A survey of 1,605 city residents revealed that despite a locally robust housing market and a recovering economy, only 37 percent of Philadelphians thought the city was headed "in the right direction," the lowest percentage recorded in five years. Only 25 percent of those surveyed thought the city "had become a better place to live in the last five years".
Mayor Michael Nutter's approval rating also hit an all time low of 39 percent, down from a high of 60 percent, with decreases recorded in every racial and socio-economic demographic surveyed. City Council's approval rating also fell to 30 percent, although this was not as dramatic of a decrease over past years.
These results are almost exactly the inverse of responses to the same questions five years ago.
Larry Eichel, director or Pew's Philadelphia Research Initiative, said this survey was conducted alongside last week's survey of the school crisis and that the results were inseparable.
"I think there's no question that the education issue looms large in this poll," he said. "The survey was conducted in late July and early August when there was a lot of focus on education. ... I think there's no question that that influenced the mood of the city and everything in the poll."
The idea that these negative ratings are tied to recent school crises was supported by Philadelphian's generally optimistic outlook for the future and the city as a whole. Only 27 percent of respondents thought conditions in the city would get worse over the next five years, and three out of five residents polled considered the city to be a good or excellent place to live, about the same amount as in previous surveys.
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