Poll: Nutter's rating up despite growing concern

Posted: February 14, 2012

Mayor Nutter's job approval rating is up to 60 percent, the highest level in the past three years, but most city residents continue to describe crime, the state of the public schools and lack of job opportunities as major problems that have improved little over the past five years.

That's the conclusion of a new public opinion poll released Tuesday by The Pew Charitable Trusts, based on 1,600 telephone interviews with Philadelphia adults, from Jan. 4 through Jan. 19.

Just one out of three people, 37 percent, said they felt completely safe in their homes at night, and less than one out of six, 16 percent, felt completely safe walking in their neighborhoods, the study found.

More than half, 53 percent, reported that someone in their household had been without a job and looking for work sometime over the past 12 months.

Despite Nutter's reelection last year and his overall approval ratings, only 23 percent of Philadelphians say the city is better off than it was five years ago, and 35 percent say it is worse.

When Pew's Philadelphia Research Initiative began asking about Nutter's job performance in early 2009 - close to the bottom of the national recession - 47 percent said they approved of Nutter's record and 39 percent disapproved.

Nutter's standing improved to 60 percent approval, 30 percent disapproval, in last month's polling.

He scored highest among whites (69 percent approval), households with income above $100,000 a year (77 percent approval) and college graduates (67 percent approval), and lower among blacks (52 percent) and younger residents (52 percent among persons 18 to 34 years old.)

The two areas of achievement in which Nutter scored highest were in "making Philadelphia a greener city that is more environmentally friendly and energy efficient," with 74 percent saying they saw major or minor improvement, and in "making city government less corrupt and more open" (57 percent noting improvement).

Mark McDonald, Nutter's spokesman, took the poll results as "an indicator that Philadelphians appreciate the hard work the mayor has put in over the last four years."

McDonald added: "I believe the mayor would be the first to say we're far from satisfied . . . Unemployment remains at very high levels. There is hunger in the city and violent crime continues to tear at the fabric of our neighborhoods. . .Philadelphians want city government to address crime and education, which we are attempting to do."

Contact staff writer Bob Warner at 215-854-5885 or warnerb@phillynews.com.

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