Poll: Majority of Seattle voters unhappy with direction of city, city council

Posted on

Homeless encampment on KIRO-TV news

This story was originally published by KIRO-TV on Nov. 9, 2020.

SEATTLE — A new survey of Seattle voters found that many are unhappy with how the City Council is handling things and the direction of the city, according to EMC Research.

The survey was paid for by the Downtown Seattle Association and Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce.

After polling voters in late October, researchers found 54% of voters think things in Seattle “have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track.” A third of voters (35%) think things are “generally going in the right direction.”

In an open-ended question with no response options, 45% of voters mentioned homelessness as the issue they are most concerned about, followed by affordable housing/cost of living and police brutality/defunding the police.

Three-quarters of voters polled said they are unhappy about the growth of illegal homeless camps in many Seattle neighborhoods, city parks and playgrounds and a majority don’t agree with the council ending most encampment cleanups.

Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said people living in illegal camps should be moved inside because of safety issues, increased crime and that leaving people to live outdoors is not compassionate or sustainable.

The survey showed voters are also concerned about a possible decrease in public safety tied to defunding the Seattle Police Department budget. Results also showed the majority polled do not trust the city council to reform SPD without negatively impacting public safety.

Fifty-nine percent of voters surveyed said significant cuts to the SPD’s budget will make downtown less safe and 44% say cuts would make them feel less safe in their own neighborhood.

Sixty-one percent said they do not trust the city council “to make significant cuts to the Seattle Police Department budget in a way that will address systemic racism while keeping our neighborhoods and downtown Seattle safe.”

When it came to three options about cuts at the Seattle Police Department, there were mixed results from voters.

Forty percent said they support cutting the budget by up to 50% and directing that money to community groups.

Thirty-nine percent said they wanted reform without laying off hundreds of officers, and 18% said no officers should be cut at all.