POLL: Detroiters say crime #1 issue; hope EM Orr will make city better

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit's high crime rate is by far the number one concern among Detroit residents, according to a new and exclusive WXYZ/Detroit Free Press poll. 

Forty-six percent of the 400 eligible Detroit voters surveyed say that crime; drugs, gangs and violence are the biggest problems facing them in their neighborhoods. Abandoned buildings and vehicles ranks number two at 10 percent, and the local economy and jobs comes in third at 9 percent, followed closely by city services.

However, Channel 7 pollster Bernie Porn says, "There is guarded optimism among Detroiters that their biggest problems will improve under the leadership of Governor Rick Snyder and Kevyn Orr, even though they don't welcome an emergency manager in Detroit."   

Fifty-two percent of the respondents oppose Snyder's decision to appoint Orr to manage the city's $18 - $20 billion of debt. Thirty-seven percent welcome Orr to the job and 11 percent aren't sure how they feel about an emergency manager in place.

When asked if it was necessary to begin Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings, half of the poll takers said the crisis could have been resolved a different way. Thirty-seven percent said bankruptcy was the right course of action, 13 percent were undecided.

To date, only 14 percent believe Detroit has improved under Orr compared to 69 percent who think the city will remain the same.

But that number drops significantly when asked if Detroit will be improved when the emergency manager has completed his 18 month job. Thirty-six percent said the city will be the same, 35 percent think it will improve, 11 percent say it will get worse, and nearly one-fourth aren't sure which way things will go.

Perhaps the most telling number in all of this is that in a WXYZ/Detroit Free Press poll taken in May, 55 percent thought Detroit was headed in the wrong direction. Today, 44 percent say the city is going down the wrong path. 

The survey was conducted September 17 – 19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent. Twenty percent who answered the polling questions did so on their cell phones.  


Overall, would you say that the City of Detroit is headed in the right direction, or, have things pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?

Right direction – 36%
Wrong track – 44%
Undecided/refused to answer – 20%

There are many problems Detroiters say THEY are concerned about. Which one problem from the following list are YOU personally concerned about the most?

Crime, drugs, gangs and violence – 46%
Abandoned buildings and vehicles – 10%
The local economy and jobs – 9%
Basic city services – 8%
City taxes and fees – 5%
The city budget deficit and bankruptcy – 5%
The emergency manager – 4%
The quality of Detroit schools – 4%
Poverty and homelessness – 3%
Poor quality of city roads and transportation services -2%
Undecided/Refused to answer – 4%

Do you favor or oppose the decision by Governor Snyder to appoint Kevyn Orr to serve as emergency manager with the authority to manage Detroit finances for up to 18 months, or until the city budget is balanced?

Favor – 37%
Oppose – 52%
Undecided/Refused to answer – 11%

Do you think it was necessary for Kevyn Orr, the Emergency Manager, to begin bankruptcy proceedings to resolve the financial crisis in the City of Detroit, or, do you think the Detroit financial crisis could be resolved without declaring bankruptcy?

Financial crisis could be resolved without declaring bankruptcy – 50%
Bankruptcy was necessary to resolve financial crisis – 37%
Undecided/Refused to answer – 13%

Since the emergency manager began his work, do you think that city services in Detroit are improving, getting worse, or, are services unchanged and pretty much remain the same?

Remain the same – 69%
Improving – 14%
Getting worse – 10%
Too early to tell – 4%
Undecided/Refused to answer – 3%

When the emergency manager has completed his job in another year, do you think his actions will result in an improvement in city services, will his actions make city services worse, or, will they remain the same?

Stay the same – 36%
Improve city services – 35%
Make city services worse – 11%
Undecided/Refused to answer – 18%

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