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graph by Emma Freer

The 2020 Zandan poll found that 47% of respondents think Austin is headed in the wrong direction, which is a radical change from three years earlier

by Rich Oppel

Question No. 1 on the annual Zandan poll gets right to the heart of the issue.

Q: Thinking about Austin today, do you think things are headed in the right direction or off on the wrong track?

The answers:

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photo by Charlie L. Harper III

A homeless camp under I-35 at 7th Street on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, as sparse traffic travels overhead during what would, in normal times, be Austin rush hour. (Charlie Harper III)

Fifteen years ago when Peter Zandan would come out with an Austin poll, we would assign it to two of our very best journalists—Marie Henson and Bill Bishop—and display the resulting articles on the Austin American-Statesman's Sunday front page.

A big deal.

This year, the "Zandan Poll, Voices of the Austin Community," didn't get much press. Yet results of the 2020 poll are very striking—and tell us so much about how our great city is changing.

Here's what I found most startling:

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