More News:

March 25, 2015

Poll: More Philadelphians optimistic about city's future

Views of Philadelphia Police differ among racial, ethnic groups, poll reveals

Polls Pew Research
050115_Mummers _Carroll-45.jpg Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Philadelphians gather at the 115th Mummers Parade.

New skyscrapers, restaurants and hotels are popping up throughout Philadelphia. Public spaces and parks are being renovated.The Pope and the Democrats are each making highly publicized visits. 

And, apparently, Philadelphians are feeling more optimistic about their city.

A poll released Wednesday by The Pew Charitable Trust found more Philadelphians hold a positive outlook about the city since Pew began polling residents six years ago.

Forty-eight percent of surveyed residents said Philadelphia is heading in the right direction, up from 37 percent in 2013. Another 33 percent said Philadelphia is on the wrong path, but that figure also marked the lowest in the poll's history.


The poll found 67 percent expect Philadelphia to improve within the next five years. Another 70 percent said they would recommend Philadelphia as a place to live.

Forty-one percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 said they are likely to be living in Philadelphia in another 5 to 10 years, a 10 percent increase from 2013.

The number of respondents who said they "definitely will not" be living in Philadelphia dropped from 21 percent in 2013 to 13 percent in 2015.

The positive vibes extended to City Hall, where Mayor Michael Nutter's approval rating increased by 13 points to 52 percent. But city police did not receive the same confidence.

The poll revealed a divide between the way racial and ethnic groups view the Philadelphia Police Department's ability to treat everyone equally.

Sixty-eight percent of whites said they have "a great deal or fair amount" of confidence that Philadelphia Police will treat whites and blacks equally. Only 47 percent of blacks and 45 percent of Hispanics shared that view.

Overall, 55 percent said they have "a great deal or fair amount" of confidence in police to treat everyone equally.

The poll results came on the heels of the Department of Justice issuing a series of recommendations aimed at fixing deficiencies in the way the Philadelphia Police Department utilizes lethal force. Police were involved in an average of one shooting per week between 2007 and 2013, according to the report. 


Another 67 percent of respondents said they have "a great deal" or "a good amount" of respect for Philadelphia police. That question also revealed a racial divide, with 81 percent of whites expressing that level of respect. Only 56 percent of blacks and 58 percent of Hispanics held that level of respect. 

The survey also revealed that 45 percent of respondents did not have an opinion on the sale of Philadelphia Gas Works. Seventeen percent approved of its sale while 38 percent disapproved.

The survey was conducted by telephone from Jan. 28 to Feb. 19, using a random sample of 1,603 residents ages 18 and older. Interviews included 640 landline users and 963 cellphone users.

The margin of error for the poll is listed at plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.