Poll: Nutter still popular, with 71 percent approval rating

Despite the brouhaha over city library, pool and fire company closings, Mayor Nutter is viewed favorably by 71 percent of city residents, according to a survey released this morning by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

In the first credible poll since the mayor's announcement in the fall that Philadelphia was facing a budget crisis and life as we know it would have to change, the mayor was found to still be popular, and Philadelphians still optimistic about the city's future.

"But Philadelphians are unhappy about how the mayor has handled the budget crisis thus far. By an overwhelming margin, 65 percent to 27 percent, they oppose the announced cutbacks in city services involving libraries, fire companies and swimming pools - some of which did not take place," stated a press release.

The mayor's lowest ratings in the poll came from African Americans, non-college graduates, and people earning less than $30,000 a year. His highest ratings: from whites, college grads, and those with $100,000-plus salaries.

Among other findings, 44 percent of those surveyed were opposed to Nutter's decision - backed by City Council - to suspend planned reductions in wage and business taxes for the upcoming years.

Those surveyed were also almost evenly divided about whether to raise taxes and increase services, or lower taxes and cut services.

Nonetheless, residents are looking forward with a smile.

"They know about the city's financial situation and persistent problems with crime, education and job creation. And yet 63 percent of them said they think Philadelphia is a good or excellent place to live and even more, 68 percent, said it will be better five years from now.

That sort of optimism is a "sea change" from similar polls taken in the final years of the Street administration.

The poll was conducted by phone between Jan. 2 and Jan. 19 among a random sampling of 1,600 city residents who at least 18 years old. Most of the polling was completed before Nutter's Jan. 15 announcement that the city faced an additional $1 billion shortfall. The margin of error is about 2.5 percent.

The entire survey can be read through a link here.

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