NEW ORLEANS - Mayor Mitch Landrieu's approval rating has dropped significantly among white voters, according to a quality of life survey by the University of New Orleans. The survey also shows that responses from voters about the future of Confederate-era monuments tracked along racial lines.
Landrieu, who has been at the front of the push to remove the four monuments from around the city and place them in a museum, has seen his approval rating among surveyed white voters drop from 78 percent in 2013 to 49 percent. His approval among black registered voters jumped by 8 percent from 60 percent in 2013 to 68 percent in 2016.
On the Confederate monument issue - 50 percent of the respondents said they should be removed, 31 percent were opposed to the removal and 19 percent did not have an opinion.
"When we controlled for the race of the respondent we found a strong relationship between opinion on the monuments and Landrieu approval among whites. In other words, among whites, approval of the mayor is largely a function of their opinions on the monument removal. For instance, among whites who support removing the monuments 67 percent approve of the mayor while 23 percent disapprove of him. Conversely, of those whites who oppose the removal 36 percent express approval of the mayor while 57 percent say they disapprove of him," said the survey.
Quality of Life
Elsewhere the survey showed a mixed bag of results from residents of Orleans and a large amount of satisfaction with the quality of life in Jefferson Parish.
The level of satisfaction of New Orleanians with the quality of life is at 66 percent, but it declined 8 points from the 2013 survey. Across the parish line, 94 percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied with the quality of life.
"This difference is what we would expect when comparing a lower income city with a more middle income suburb," said a summary of the survey.
In terms of trends, from 1986 to 2004, about 60 percent said they were satisfied with the quality of life in New Orleans, before falling to 55 percent from 2006 to 2009.
A better place to live?
"In the four surveys conducted since then, the average is 70 percent. Although the level of life satisfaction in Orleans is down from 2013, it appears that people are relatively optimistic about life in the city," said the survey.
But only 32 percent of New Orleanians surveyed said the city has become a better place to live -- a 15 percent drop from 2013. And 25 percent believe that things have gotten worse -- a 5 percent increase.
In Jefferson, 42 percent said the parish has become a better place to live. And one-in-five surveyed said things have gotten worse.
New Orleanians surveyed were not particularly optimistic about the future. Only 46 percent said they thought the city would be better in the next five years -- a decline of 8 percent from 2013.
"That number is down to 46 percent in our latest survey, the lowest percentage since 2004 when 44 percent said the city will become a better place to live," said the survey.
In Jefferson, 50 percent thought the parish would become a better place in the next 5 years -- an increase of 4 percent.
Biggest problem: Crime
In both Orleans and Jefferson, crime was cited as the biggest problem, 49 percent in Orleans and 28 percent in Jefferson, falling from 62 percent in New Orleans and increasing from 26 percent in Jefferson.
"Despite the recent reduction in citing crime as the city’s biggest problem, it continues to be the dominant issue in the city.
Next to crime, education was the next biggest problem cited -- at 7 percent. "Because the concern about crime is so dominant in Orleans, other problems tend to get crowded out," survey compilers theorized.
New Orleanians surveyed believe that crime is increasing from 50 in 2013 to 53 percent. "Regardless of the trend, residents in both parishes are at least five times more likely to say that crime in their parish has increased than has decreased," said the survey.
Most New Orleanians surveyed said they felt in their home at night, with only 36 percent saying that they didn't.
"A tangible indicator of lack of safety is hearing gunfire in your neighborhood. In 2013, 24 percent of black residents, compared to 14 percent of whites, said they heard gunfire in their neighborhood at least a few times a month or more. The current survey indicates that percentage has held steady for whites, but a higher percentage of blacks, nearly 30 percent, report hearing gunfire at a consistent rate. In fact, the percentage of blacks who say
they hear gunfire on a regular basis is twice that for the city’s white residents," said the survey.
In terms of leadership, 62 percent approve of NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro had a 55 percent approval rating. Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman said his approval rating approve to 40 percent.
"Despite the improvement in his ratings, Sheriff Gusman still finds himself underwater in how the city’s residents evaluate him. Forty-five percent disapprove of his job performance and twice as many people strongly is approve of him than strongly approve," said the survey.
The approval rating of the New Orleans City Council is 46 percent.
Sheriff Newell Normand's approval rating remains very high at 80 percent.
The condition of the streets continue to rankle New Orleanians. "Conditions of streets and roads is the most poorly rated service in New Orleans. The number rating the streets as “poor /very poor” was at 70 percent in 2013. Today that figure stands at 79 percent," said the survey.