The percentage of Pensacola residents who believe the city is moving in the right direction is down sharply over the past year, according to a new poll released by the Pensacola Young Professionals.
The poll — the latest in the group’s annual Quality of Life survey — was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research from June 22 to 28. Eight hundred registered Escambia County voters were interviewed by telephone for the poll. As in years past, the poll was funded by Pensacola developers Quint and Rishy Studer.
Just 45% of respondents said they felt the City of Pensacola was moving in the right direction, down from an eight-year high of 70% in 2015. Forty-three percent of those polled said they felt the city was on the wrong track, while 12% said they weren’t sure.
The job performance rating of Pensacola mayor Ashton Hayward fell even more sharply, with just 34% of respondents rating his performance as “good” or “excellent,” a 50% decline over last year’s poll, when 66% of those polled gave Hayward a positive review. Twenty-nine percent of respondents this year called Hayward’s job performance “only fair,” while 23% rated it “poor.”
Despite the drop, Hayward still maintains an overall higher rating than the Pensacola City Council, with only 27% of those polled rating council members favorably.
Hayward’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday, but city councilman Larry B. Johnson said it was “no surprise” that the council’s approval ratings were so low.
“I believe that this council is focusing on so many negatives and not on positive accomplishments,” said Johnson. “When I first came on council we focused on positive things like curbside recycling, a tree ordinance, and a new form of government. But I can’t think of a single thing we’ve accomplished under the current council president other than growing government. I’m looking forward to next year when we have one less council member and can hopefully be more successful.”