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2022 Citizen Perception Survey Shows ABQ Holding the Line

Perception of City services stays relatively stable while national sentiment plummets.

Today, the City of Albuquerque’s Citizen Perception Survey was released, showing Albuquerque holding the line against widespread national challenges. As required by City ordinance, each year the City conducts a survey of residents to measure their feelings about quality of life, their perception of government’s responsiveness to community needs, and their level of awareness of government programs and services.

As is the case with every poll, the findings represent a snapshot of the specific time the survey was conducted, in this case between June 12 and June 26, 2022. Major events have taken place in the months since the survey which could affect public sentiment, including the announcement of the closure of the Coronado Park homeless encampment, the suspension of a portion of the City’s DOJ settlement agreement monitoring requirements, a string of shootings of Muslim men, the apprehension of the primary suspect, and a national drop in inflation and gas prices.

In spite of widespread challenges, the public’s attitude towards Albuquerque City government’s overall responsiveness to community needs remained stable. Since 2011, responses have averaged around a 3.0 on a 1-5 scale. 76% of respondents give the City a positive (60%) or neutral (16%) rating in its response to the COVID-19 crisis, and 78% rate the quality of life in Albuquerque as either positive (48%) or fair (30%).

Over the past year of economic uncertainty, political tensions, and post-pandemic spikes in crime and homelessness, national attitudes on the direction of the country have turned for the worse. While attitudes toward City government haven’t been immune to these realities, Albuquerque residents see the city in a more positive light. According to aggregate polling from RealClear Politics, only 18% of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction. In Research & Polling’s survey of Albuquerque, 43% of residents are still hopeful for the future of the city and 62% of responders said the city was confronting challenges the same (50%) or better (12%) than other American cities.

The survey also found that when residents were aware of City government’s efforts, their attitudes towards issues were more positive. When they reported to be unaware of existing government work on an issue, their view of the government response was lower. In a bright spot for Albuquerque families, awareness of the City’s youth programs that help keep kids safe and engaged has improved from 40% to 53%.

Homelessness is one of the leading challenges Albuquerque faces. Nationally, the unhoused population has risen by 30%, with major cities across the country wrestling with housing instability. Albuquerque has launched major investments and initiatives to address the urgent challenge. The survey showed a clear recognition of the issue of rising homelessness, but also revealed the low levels of awareness of government action to address it. A full 38% reported they had not heard of the Gateway Center, a shelter that will move hundreds off of the street each year.

Likewise, the City received modest marks on its work on sustainability issues, despite major advances this year including reaching 88% renewable energy, leading the nation in solar energy installations per-capita, and introducing electric buses to the City fleet. On this topic, 16% of responders reported they did not know enough to express an opinion.

“While the results of the survey may not be a surprise in these challenging times, it is important that City government keeps its finger on the pulse to best meet the needs of our community. While 400 residents were surveyed in this poll, the City collects input from those we serve in so many different ways throughout our day-to-day operations and will continue to make sure everyone can have their voice heard,” said Lawrence Rael, Chief Administrative Officer. “Albuquerque is not alone in the challenges we face, and making progress on these issues is our priority. The survey also shows us areas that we need to improve information sharing about key initiatives, like our work on homelessness and environmental sustainability.”

The survey was conducted by the local firm Research & Polling Inc., collecting responses from residents between June 12 and June 26, 2022. It recorded the responses of 400 randomly selected Albuquerque residents. There is a margin of error of 4.9%.

The full survey is available here.