Professor, students conduct survey on Nashville issues

By Janel Shoun-Smith on 3/22/2014

  
  

schwerdt, marcAn analysis of the 2015 Nashville mayoral race and various quality of life issues such as education, transportation and downtown development were part of a survey that Marc Schwerdt, assistant professor of political science, and 16 undergraduates students carried out in the fall.

To see the complete survey click here.

Hired by GCA Publishing, the publisher of 13 neighborhood newspapers and guides in Nashville, Schwerdt and the students designed a phone and e-mail survey quizzing Nashville residents on the city’s public school system, development of a new minor league baseball stadium and the city-owned fairgrounds as well as their opinions about the city’s new convention center, a proposed rapid bus transit system and potential tax changes, among other topics.

“This project allowed the students to see how research is done in the marketing, journalism or political science sectors,” said Schwerdt, whose areas of academic expertise include American politics and political research methods. “They have now seen how a political consultant gathers and analyzes information. They now know how to carry out a project on this scale from beginning to end.”

The results of the survey – that a majority of Nashvillians see the city as better off or about the same as it has been in the past and that the mayoral race is wide open – received local media coverage.

Other results showed sharply divided support of the city’s approved plan to build a new baseball stadium, strong support for the proposal to redevelop the city’s fairgrounds with public money and strong support for the rapid bus transit system.

“The burden for any potential (mayoral) candidate is to articulate a vision of Nashville that incorporates pro-growth strategies while providing for the consequences of that growth,” Schwerdt wrote in the report.

Schwerdt has worked on fundraising for two state congressional campaigns.