Lowman S. Henry

Robert W. Keibler
Vice Chairman

Jane R. Gordon

Board Members

Jerry Bowyer
Allegheny Institute

James Canova
Canova Electric

LeGree S. Daniels
U.S. Postal Governor

Joseph Geiger
PA Assoc. of Non
Profit Organizations

Hilary Holste
PPG Industries

Charles L. Huston, III
Huston Foundation

Doris O'Donnell
Allegheny Foundation

Albert Paschall
King of Prussia
Chamber of Commerce

James Trammell
Sun Company, Inc.


Survey Consultant
Albert E. Sindlinger
Sindlinger & Company

Focus Group Moderator
Charles L. Kennedy
Penn State University

July 16, 1999


CONTACT: Lowman S. Henry / (717) 671-0776

Philadelphia Voters Speak Out on the Issues

     Harrisburg (PA) – Voters in Philadelphia want City Hall to pay more attention to neighborhood problems while at the same time continuing the economic development projects which attract jobs and tourists to the city.

     As Philadelphians prepare to elect a new mayor this November, a recent Lincoln Institute Pulse Poll found growing concern over personal safety – with 44% saying they feel less secure in their own homes than they did a year ago – and voters are anxious for solutions to the city’s educational and economic woes.

     “The next Mayor of Philadelphia will have to walk a tightrope between continuing the rejuvenation of center city begun by Mayor Ed Rendell and coming to grips with neighborhood problems – particularly crime and drugs,” said Lowman Henry, Chairman of the Lincoln Institute.  “Voters feel strongly that their neighborhoods have been neglected, yet at the same time they ascribe a high degree of importance to economic development and the promotion of tourism.”

     Two thirds of the city’s voters (66%) said they do not feel the right balance
has been struck between improving center city and improving neighborhoods.  Those voters were nearly unanimous in saying too much emphasis had been placed on center city. Just 28% said the current administration had struck the right balance of working to improve center city and the neighborhoods.

     A total of 88% feel re-development of the Philadelphia shipyard is important to the future of the city’s economy (58% Very Important, 29% Somewhat Important).  Efforts to bolster tourism were viewed as even more critical -- 91% said tourism promotion is vital for the city’s future economic well being.

     New stadiums for pro football’s Eagles and pro baseball’s Phillies are in the offing for Philadelphia.  In the current debate over where to site the new baseball stadium, the Pulse Poll found voters supporting a South Philadelphia site over a center city location.  Forty-three percent said the Phillies’ new stadium should be near its present home, while 21% said the baseball team should move into center city.  Nearly a quarter of the electorate (24%) felt there was no need for a new stadium.

Many Philadelphia residents still do not feel safe in their own neighborhoods.  An overall plurality, 44%, said they currently feel less safe in their neighborhood than they did a year ago.  Safety is a particular concern of Republican voters, 60% of who said they felt less safe than a year ago; female voters (50%) felt less safe; and older voters (57% of voters aged 55-64 and 44% of voters over the age of 65) felt less safe.  Concerns over personal safety cross racial lines.  Forty-six percent of white voters and 42% of black voters felt less safe in their neighborhood than they did a year ago. 

     Drugs continue to be a problem in many Philadelphia neighborhoods.  Fifty-seven percent cited drugs as a problem in their neighborhood.  More Democrats (60%) than Republicans (46%) cited drug concerns.  Drugs also are a bigger issue among black voters, 77%of whom said they had a drug problem in their neighborhood compared to 48% of whites who express concern over the issue.

     Despite concerns over crime and personal safety, Philadelphia voters gave high marks to the city’s police department.  Sixty-five percent of those polled said the Philadelphia Police Department is on the right track when it comes to combating crime in their neighborhood.  Twenty-seven percent felt the police were on the wrong track and 8% offered no opinion.
     Support for the police department runs stronger among white voters (70%) than among blacks (57%), while both Republicans (64%) and Democrats (65%) feel the Philadelphia Police Department is on the right track.

     Philadelphians place the blame on the city’s tax rates when asked what factor is most responsible for the out-migration of businesses from the city.  A solid majority (58%) cited taxes, while 19% said crime, and 3% blamed city schools.  Another 16% said a combination of all three factors contributed to business decisions to relocate outside of the city.
     When it comes to reducing taxes, 45% of voters participating in the Pulse Poll said they want the city wage tax to be cut.  Twenty-two percent felt property taxes should be reduced.  An equal number, 13%, picked business and real estate taxes as the levy they would most like to see reduced.

     When asked if property taxes had to be replaced by either a local earned income tax or a local sales tax, which would they choose, 42% said they would rather pay an additional sales tax while 26% said they favored a local income tax.  Twenty percent said they didn’t like either option.

     Philadelphia voters are willing to give the private sector an opportunity to provide city services if they can do so at a lower cost than public employees.  Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed in the Pulse Poll said they favor allowing private businesses to provide services that are currently provided by city government if those private business can do so at a lower cost.  Twenty-two percent said the private sector should not be given that opportunity and 9% offered no opinion.
     Although urban centers are viewed as strongholds for organized labor, 70% of Philadelphia’s voters surveyed said they would support the enactment of a Right to Work law, where a worker’s employment is not based on either joining or not joining a labor union.  Twenty-six percent oppose the adoption of a Right to Work law, while 4% gave no opinion.

     Philadelphia voters also feel union workers should not be required to pay dues to a labor union which then uses that money for political purposes.  Sixty-eight percent said unions should be forbidden from deducting money from union workers’ pay without their permission, then using that money for political purposes.  Twenty-eight percent said they favored the practice and 4% held no opinion.

The Lincoln Institute’s Pulse Poll of voters in the City of Philadelphia was conducted on June 3 and June 7, 1999 by Precision Marketing, Inc. of Easton, Pennsylvania.  A total of 316 registered voters in the city were surveyed.  The poll has a margin of error of +/-5.5% at a 95% confidence level.  Complete numeric results of the survey can be obtained by logging onto the Lincoln Institute’s website at www.lincolninstitute.org.

     The Lincoln Institute is a non-profit educational foundation based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.