During the four years from 1996 to 2000 voters in New Orleans were increasingly positive about the quality of life in the City. Today that trend has reversed. Although the overall perception is still positive, fewer voters than in 2000 say that the quality of life is getting better. Jefferson voters continue an upward trend in evaluations of their parish. Every year since 1994 more voters say the quality of life is getting better. In contrast to previous surveys when crime was clearly dominant as the "biggest problem" facing New Orleans, today nearly as many mention economic problems as mention crime. In Jefferson, crime is still mentioned spontaneously as the most important problem, followed by traffic/growth. However, New Orleans voters are noticing the actual increases in crime that have recently occurred. Two years ago only 15% responded that crime was increasing; today that figure is 30%. Consistent with this response, Orleans voters are less positive about the police, and more African Americans report hearing gunfire than two years ago. Furthermore, Orleans voters feel less confident about their personal safety than they did two years ago. The largest opinion shift on a specific city service has been a decline in evaluations of the streets in New Orleans. In contrast, voters in Jefferson see improvement in the quality of their streets. Voters in both parishes are less optimistic about employment prospects than they were two years ago, probably reflecting both the impact of the national recession and the rhetoric of the recent New Orleans mayoral campaign. Mayor Marc Morial is leaving office with a high approval rating of 64%, which is essentially unchanged since 2000. Chief Pennington's approval rating remains extraordinarily high (80%) despite losing the mayor's race and the increasing concern about crime in New Orleans. Jefferson Parish President Coulon and Sheriff Lee both enjoy very high popularity - about 80%.
Howell, Susan E., "2002 Quality of Life Survey - Orleans and Jefferson Parishes" (2002). Survey Research Center Publications. Paper 15.