You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

From traffic to tacos, poll gauges diverging Austin attitudes


Highlights

The latest Zandan polls shows that Austinites are most concerned about transportation and affordability.

The wide-ranging survey, the fifth by the Austin pollster, also looks at food and presidential preferences.

Austin is a pain to get around in, things cost too much, and there are too many people when you do manage to get there. But what a great place to live!

That’s the takeaway from the latest Zandan Poll, a wide-ranging look at Austin-area attitudes about everything from transportation to tacos, from gentrification to guacamole, and from President Donald Trump to, well, Trump’s border wall.

Transportation and affordability, as they were in a similar 2015 survey by pollster Peter Zandan, remain the greatest concerns of the 800-plus people who were interviewed online in March for the poll. Asked to name the three most important issues facing Central Texas, 74 percent cited traffic and roads and 46 percent pointed to some combination of affordability, the cost of living, affordable housing and gentrification.

Coming in next on the worry list: population growth and overcrowding at 22 percent; jobs, wages, unemployment, poverty and homelessness at 21 percent; and crime, security, safety and drugs at 17 percent.

Just 6 percent pointed to public transit, and 5 percent were concerned about water, preserving the environment and green spaces. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Zandan, global vice chairman at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, who has conducted (at his own expense) five such Austin-area polls since 1997, said what caught his attention is that the city still fares well in comparison with other cities. This rosy view is particularly strong among those under 35 and those relatively new to the city.

RAW DATA: Explore the results of the Zandan Poll in interactive charts

“What caught me by surprise is that, although Austinites are very aware of the problems, eight of 10 believe the city lives up to the publicity,” Zandan said. “And when you look at the right direction/wrong direction measure, it’s overwhelmingly that we’re headed in the right direction.

“Looked at through the lens of someone who is coming here to start a family or who is aspirational in their work, Austin is one of the coolest places in the country,” he said. “And this is where they want to come.”

But Central Texas residents, especially older longtimers, are nervous about Austin losing — or having lost entirely — the qualities long associated with it as the city has risen in size and prominence.

For example, just over a third say Austin is “doing a good job of remaining unique from other major U.S. cities,” and 55 percent say, “Austin is at risk of losing it appeal because of the rising cost of living.”

What specifically has Austin lost over the past year because of growth? A lower cost of living, according to 32 percent; “ease of transportation,” said 26 percent; and a “small town feel,” 11 percent said.

Among other interesting results in the 44-question survey:

• Almost 60 percent said they had never taken a ride-hailing service trip, despite all the civic effort and angst over the question of how to regulate industry leaders Uber and Lyft.

• An impressive 47 percent said they had voted in the May 2016 election, fueled by big spending by Uber and Lyft, over an alternative city ride-hailing ordinance the corporations preferred. Poll respondents appear to have molded their memories, however. Just 17.4 percent of the city’s registered voters voted in that election.

• Guacamole or queso? Cheese beat avocado, 53 percent to 41 percent. That means that somehow 7 percent of Central Texans don’t like either. (Just leaves more for the rest of us.) As for breakfast tacos, about two-thirds of those polled eat them between “several times a week” and “a few times per month.”

• A long ride to the Salt Lick prevailed over a long wait at Franklin’s in a question about the “best BBQ in Austin.” The longtime favorite near Driftwood (and now at other places) was rated first by 20 percent, with Franklin’s at 16 percent. Eight percent said they don’t like barbecue. See the item just above.

• Asked about Trump, 28 percent had a favorable opinion, 54 percent an unfavorable opinion and 16 percent were neutral. That leaves 2 percent that apparently just didn’t want to think about the question. Former President Barack Obama had a 57 percent favorable rating, Gov. Greg Abbott was at 32 percent and the Congress was rated “favorable” by 23 percent.

• As for the proposed border wall — or rather, an extension of the existing fences and walls along the Texas-Mexico border — just 24 percent of Central Texans polled support building it.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Monarch butterflies tagged on Gulf Coast for migration research
Monarch butterflies tagged on Gulf Coast for migration research

A burst of color welcomes visitors to Quintana Beach County Park, orange-and-black butterflies dotting the vibrant hues of red, pink and purple that make up the pollinator garden. The microscopic monarch butterfly eggs aren’t easy to spot among the flowers, but Patty Brinkmeyer has an eye for this sort of thing. “Once you’ve looked...
Authorities: North Texas mother left 2 kids in hot car as punishment
Authorities: North Texas mother left 2 kids in hot car as punishment

A North Texas woman told investigators that she left her 2-year-old daughter and 16-month-old son in a hot car where they died last month to teach the girl a lesson and that they didn’t lock themselves in, as she initially reported, according to sheriff’s officials. Cynthia Marie Randolph, 24, was being held Saturday on two counts of causing...
Anti-bullying program for students draws praise
Anti-bullying program for students draws praise

Damion Govea, 12, knows the good kids from the bad at Metro Elementary School of Design. He’s been in class with them long enough to tell them apart, he said. Damion is a good kid. And for his good behavior, he was cherry-picked from his homeroom class to participate in an anti-bullying program that grouped them all together for one hour, once...
Weekend storms cool down Central Texas after Friday’s record heat
Weekend storms cool down Central Texas after Friday’s record heat

Cloud cover and a significant drop in temperature made Friday’s record-setting 104-degree heat at Camp Mabry just a memory on Saturday, with thunderstorms and a forecast in the 80s expected for the rest of the weekend. For Sunday, scattered thunderstorms are expected throughout the day with a low of 73 and a high of 89 with an 80 percent chance...
Deion Sanders partners with Koch brothers in anti-poverty campaign
Deion Sanders partners with Koch brothers in anti-poverty campaign

Retired football star Deion Sanders is partnering with the conservative Koch brothers to help fight poverty in Texas. The unlikely partnership, announced Saturday, will raise $21 million over the next three years to fund anti-poverty programs in Dallas. Sanders joined Koch donors at a weekend conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., to help raise money...
More Stories