Aug 3, 2023 - Politics

UH poll: Mayoral election voters prioritize crime, flooding

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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Voters think the next mayor should prioritize crime, flooding, road conditions and the economy, according to a University of Houston survey released this week.

Why it matters: The UH Hobby School of Public Affairs poll shows the issues that are the greatest concerns for likely voters ahead of November's mayoral elections.

Context: This report follows a UH poll from last week that indicated that Sen. John Whitmire and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee were frontrunners of the race, with Whitmire poised for a lead in a likely runoff.

What they found: The new survey asked 800 likely Houston voters which of eight issues should be the next mayor's top priorities.

  • Crime took the lead, with 83% believing it should be a top priority. Flooding was next (72%), followed by road and street conditions (65%), the economy and jobs (65%), and affordable housing (44%).
  • Meanwhile, other likely voters said trash collection and recycling (34%), parks (16%), and animal adoption and control (12%) were top priorities.

Between the lines: Latino and Black respondents were about twice as likely as white respondents to highlight how issues including crime, illegal dumping, and the lack of parks negatively impact their quality of life.

  • Separately, millennials and Generation Z were far less likely to say violent crime had a major negative impact on them.

What they're saying: "We found a significant divide between communities of color and people living in predominantly white neighborhoods, which suggests that both perceptions and the reality of city services may vary depending on where people live," Renée Cross, senior executive director of the Hobby School, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Houston saw a decrease in violent crime in 2022 from 2021, although the numbers were still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Other findings:

  • The majority of likely voters (54%) opposed converting motor vehicle lanes into dedicated bicycle lanes.
  • The three political figures with the highest very favorable ratings were Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo (30%), Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (27%) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (25%).
  • The highest very unfavorable ratings were for suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton (60%), U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (58%) and Gov. Greg Abbott (54%).
  • 57% of the population surveyed said the Astros were their favorite Houston professional sports team, followed by the Texans (10%) and the Rockets (7%); 20% did not have a favorite team.

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