Nashville residents are becoming more uneasy with the city's rapid growth, according to a new poll from Vanderbilt University taken ahead of citywide elections this summer.
The survey by the school's Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions found that a slim majority of city residents still believe Nashville is on the right track, but the share that disagrees has nearly doubled since 2015.
The biggest driver of dissatisfaction seems to be growth. More than three-quarters told pollsters that too many people are moving in too fast, and nearly as many say the city is being too generous with tax incentives. They also complained about the pace of construction.
Another source of unease is education. Most Nashvillians say they disapprove of the school board's job performance, as well as that of recently ousted superintendent Shawn Joseph.
But Nashvillians remain positive about the city's economy. Eighty-two percent of respondents rated it as either "very good" or "fairly good."
Meanwhile, two-thirds of respondents told Vanderbilt that they're satisfied with incumbent Mayor David Briley's performance. Residents were not asked their opinions of other candidates.
Vanderbilt's Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions interviewed residents age 18 and older on a range of topics between March 5 and April 3. Their findings include:
- 53% think Nashville is moving in the right direction, down from 72% in 2015.
- 45% believe the city is moving in the wrong direction, up from 22% in 2015.
- 78% of respondents think Nashville’s population is growing too quickly.
- 64% think the construction of new buildings and properties is growing too quickly.
- 74% would rather see taxpayer money spent on something other than tax incentives to keep or attract businesses to the city.
- 32% rate the city's economy as “very good,” and 50% rate it as “fairly good.”
- 37% approve of the job the school board is doing; 52% disapprove.