Post poll: More D.C. residents say city headed in wrong direction

Editor’s note: More details from this poll will be released later Wednesday evening on washingtonpost.com, and in Thursday’s Washington Post.

A growing number of District residents say the city is on the wrong track, edging out those who believe it is moving in the right direction, according to a new Washington Post poll.

It is the first time a Post poll has found a plurality of D.C. residents concerned about the city’s direction since summer 2006, when the District was rocked by a crime wave, and concerns about public education and affordable housing were widespread.

Forty-five percent of respondents to the new poll say city matters are generally on the wrong track versus 40 percent who believe the opposite.

Read poll results on city’s direction .

The findings come as city politics and government have been beset by scandal and criminal prosecutions, including an ongoing probe into Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s 2010 campaign.

The numbers, while representing a significant increase in citizen unease from The Post’s previous D.C. poll in May 2o11, are nowhere near the depths plumbed in the early to mid-1990s, when 70 percent or more felt that the city was on the wrong track.

And in the past year, the poll found, residents have become slightly more confident in the city economy. Last May, 50 percent of respondents said the state of the economy was good or excellent, but that has since risen to 55 percent.

Younger residents, 30 or under, are generally more optimistic than older residents about the city’s direction. Men are significantly more optimistic than women, and white residents tilt negative, while black residents are more evenly split.

The poll reached 1,002 adult District residents between Sunday and Tuesday via both land-line and mobile phones. Results from the full survey sample have a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

More details from the poll will be released later Wednesday evening on washingtonpost.com, and in Thursday’s Washington Post.

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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