Poll Shows Most Houstonians Optimistic About City’s Direction And Financial Future

Most Houstonians questioned in a new KUHF/KHOU poll are optimistic both about the direction the city's heading in and how their financial situation will fare in the next twelve months. KUHF's Shomial Ahmad went to an early voting location in southwest Houston to see what voters thought.


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Outside Bayland Community Center, there’s that typical sea of campaign posters staked out confidently in the patches of grass. But ask some voters if things will be better off for them in the next year, and they’re answers aren’t so confident.

“Uh, I’m not too sure of Romney, but I am sure of Obama.”

Early voter Joseph Yesufu

Joseph Yesufu not surprisingly just voted for Obama.

And on the other side of the red-blue divide is Romney supporter Ray Nustis. He thinks the economy will only get better if Romney’s elected. While Nustis thinks Houston’s on the right track, it’s not all good.

“It’s going in the right direction, but like prices of gas going up is holding it down. If the Obamacare comes in that’s going to be another hold down.”

But a new KUHF/KHOU poll shows that more than two-thirds of respondents say Houston’s headed in the right direction.  Rice University Political Science Professor Bob Stein, who conducted the poll, says that optimism exists regardless of party affiliation.

“Those are astounding numbers, and it’s worth noting those numbers have been consistently over two-thirds since July.  And of course our unemployment dropped recently.”

The fact that unemployment rate in the Houston region is a point and a half below the national average, Stein says, could be fueling the rosy view of the city’s course.

And then there’s another optimism indicator. Forty-four percent of those polled thought that in the next twelve months, things will be financially better for them. And that’s what Romney supporter Irv Kowenski thinks. He thinks the economy will continue to push forward.

“Things are getting better. No matter who’s going to be president in the next four year, things are going to get better.

Nesha Benjamin
Early voter Nesha Benjamin

Those better times, at least in Kowenski’s view, have been in the past three years. Obama supporter Nesha Benjamin agrees.

“I feel like I’m better off.  I’m not on food stamps. I’m not on welfare. I’ve got $5,000 in the bank, thank you Jesus, and working on a house.”

While she paused for a couple of seconds before she said the economy will go its own way, regardless of Obama or Romney.  Benjamin didn’t hesitate when she said her better economic fortune isn’t something that she needs to keep just to herself.

“You know, A through E, we need to vote for that.  You know what I’m saying? Make these parks better, you know.  People always want to keep their money to theyself. You know, we need to share and, and we need to do it.”

Benjamin was referring to City of Houston bond measures on things like parks, sanitation and libraries. One political expert says optimism about the economy could bolster support for these measures.


Tonight at 10pm, KHOU 11 news looks at who houstonians are supporting for president, and how it might affect who serves as our sheriff and our district attorney.

For election coverage, visit kuhf.org/election2012.

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