Who supports CodeNEXT?

A pro-CodeNEXT sign from Evolve Austin in my South Lamar neighborhood.

From the Statesman:

This scientific survey of 501 Austin residents found 45 percent favored CodeNext and 36 percent opposed it. With 19 percent unsure, a decision could swing either way.

Most notably, the poll shows a stark difference in support for CodeNext based on how long people have lived in Austin. Support for CodeNext is 63 percent among those here less than a decade, and just 27 percent among those here more than 35 years. The opposition counts just 23 percent of the less-than-10-years crowd — and more than half of the folks here longer than 35 years.

…The poll showed Democrats supported CodeNext 2-to-1, while only a third of Republicans did. Predictably, support was stronger among the folks who said they believed in planning for future growth, and tepid among those who would prefer no growth at all.

AustinPolitics.NET power user Julio Gonzalez also shared some interesting thoughts on Twitter:

“This column’s focus on how long one has lived in Austin may obscure that said question is a proxy for age. Simply put: younger folks rent and don’t have assets, older folks are homeowners and landlords. Also: the results by party were very interesting!”

There are a number of reasons to take the poll with a significant dose of salt, however. First, it was conducted way back in December. Second, the description of CodeNEXT in the poll: “to rewrite the land development code and rezone certain areas of the city … in order to create more diverse housing options and increase density.” I think that description is fair, but it’s also very possible that some people who said they supported the idea would change their opinion if presented with arguments made by CodeNEXT opponents.  I would like to see a poll that shows how CodeNEXT fares after people are presented with the most common arguments for and against.

At the very least, however, this poll shows that the community is hardly united in opposition to CodeNEXT, in contrast to claims by the Austin Neighborhood Council, Community Not Commodity and, most recently, a resolution approved by the Zoning and Platting Commission.

The fact that Republicans are more likely to oppose CodeNEXT (again, grain of salt …the margin of error by political sub-group were huge) is indeed ironic, but also not surprising. It simply underscores what the 2016 GOP primary showed: Republican voters don’t give a crap about the free market. Just like Dems, they’re united by a cultural ethos, not any set of economic principles. And their ethos is largely shaped by a suburban/rural lifestyle. Indeed, the modern GOP is largely based in suburban communities that have used single-family zoning to keep people with less money and more melanin out.

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