Apr 19, 2023 - News

Poll: Nashville thinks Nashville is on the wrong track

Data: Vanderbilt University; Chart: Axios Visuals

A growing majority of Nashvillians think the city is headed in the wrong direction, according to a new Vanderbilt University poll.

Driving the news: The poll found 56% of residents have a negative view of the city's path, up three points since last year.

Why it matters: This is the second consecutive year that most respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the city's trajectory. Satisfaction sat at 44%, an all-time low since Vanderbilt started polling on city issues in 2015.

  • The survey also showed the public's increasingly sour outlook on growth and its impact on the changing city.

Zoom in: 47% said Nashville's growth had made day-to-day life worse in recent years, a significant jump from 25% who felt that way in 2017.

  • Only 24% of the respondents this year said Nashville's growth had improved their quality of life, while 29% said it didn't have much impact.

Yes, but: Residents had a rosier outlook on some elements of the city.

  • 59% approved of outgoing Mayor John Cooper, who is leaving office later this year.
  • The Metro Council's approval is at 57%, and schools director Adrienne Battle's is at 61%.

State of play: The General Assembly didn't fare as well, with an approval rating of 34%.

  • State lawmakers have pursued several measures that interfere with city business, including the ongoing effort to shrink the council and moves to assert control in the airport and sports authorities.
  • 89% of Nashvillians listed "dealing with the state legislature" as important or a top priority for the next mayor.

Of note: The survey was conducted from March 13-April 6, which means The Covenant School shooting on March 27 might have influenced some respondents.

  • "Given this timing, we can only glean a few things from the impact this tragic event had on the public," Vanderbilt Poll co-director John Geer said in a statement. He added that the shooting will be considered as they consider questions for an upcoming statewide poll.
  • "The one finding we can report is that the public's approval of the Metro Nashville Police Department jumped," Geer said, noting officers were praised for their response. "It was 66% prior to the shooting and 79% after it."
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