Women in Suburbia Are Not Too Worried About Its Ruin, Polls Say
Category: News & PoliticsVia: john-russell • one month ago • 15 comments
President Trump has sought to fan fears about lower property values and crime, but polls suggest his general statements are not resonating locally.
President Trump's effort to court suburban women by promising to protect their neighborhoods is encountering one sizable hitch: Most suburban women say their neighborhoods aren't particularly under threat.
At least, not in the ways the president has described.
Their communities feel safe to them, and they're not too concerned about poorer neighbors moving in, according to polls in some key battleground states by The New York Times and Siena College. They say in a national Monmouth University poll that racial integration is important to them, and unlikely to harm property values or safety. In interviews, many have never heard of the federal fair-housing rule encouraging integration that the president has often cited by name in arguing that Joe Biden would abolish the suburbs.
They're not even all that worked up about the idea of new apartments nearby, sullying suburbs dominated by single-family homes.
"Nope, not at all. I have no concern whatsoever about it," said Diane Wonchoba, an independent in the Minneapolis suburb of Blaine. She pointed to an apartment recently built half a mile from her house. "It's beautiful. Way to go. We built our home, so we were the new people on the block 20 years ago."
"I don't even think about it," said Judy Jones about a series of apartment buildings half a block from her home in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington. She sounded surprised that she was supposed to be troubled by them. Even for the traffic they cause? Or the strain they put on local schools?
"Oh, no," she said.
Ms. Jones, 72, grew up in Bloomington, when the local junior high and high school had no African-American students she could recall. "And now I go to my grandchildren's school, and there is such diversity," she said. "It's just amazing."
Demographic change and new development in the suburbs have no doubt unnerved some longtime residents (and studies suggest those unnerved residents speak the loudest in local politics, often blocking housing that would make communities more integrated and affordable). But those anxieties are hardly proving a decisive force in the presidential election.
If Mr. Trump hopes that fanning fears of suburban decline, following a summer of urban unrest, will help coax back some of the suburban women who have turned away from the Republican Party over the past four years, there is little evidence that it's working.
In last week's Times/Siena College polls in Minnesota and Wisconsin -- two states particularly affected by unrest -- Ms. Wonchoba, Ms. Jones and a majority of other suburban women said they would not be concerned if new apartments, subsidized housing developments or new neighbors with government housing vouchers came to their neighborhoods.
They also said, by a two-to-one margin, that they support government vouchers for lower-income families to live in more affluent communities. (On these questions, suburban women were relatively similar to suburban men.)