And so, veteran city politicos tell us, you'd expect a rough equivalence on polls when people are queried how they're doing personally and how the city is doing writ large.
But, these are interesting times. And, as any San Franciscan would tell you, we are, apparently, interesting people.
Your humble narrator obtained the above polling question, asked of 400 San Francisco voters earlier this summer.
This was a poll about much of the stuff you'll be voting on come November. But, as this was the leadoff question, recipients wouldn't have had a chance to potentially figure out what kind of answers their interlocutor was hoping to get.
The answers they gave
confound local observers.
On the one hand, this is just the attitude you'd expect: Congress is terrible, but my
Congressman is good. I'm doing great, but city government is a mess.
But on the other, a 28-percent divergence between people's perception of their own positive trajectory and their city's lack therof is jarring.
"You know, 90 percent of the time, you'd expect those two questions to track pretty well. Those two percentages should be much closer," says a veteran city pollster with decades of experience asking questions and tabulating responses. "I'm seeing a lot of apprehensiveness."
Does this indicate change is on the horizon? Perhaps — but perhaps not. Voters have to be offered something to vote for other than the status quo, after all.
Time will tell if this single answer on a poll is a canary in the coal mine — or just dust.
Either way — interesting times, interesting times.
We view the world around us through the filter of ourselves. That's inevitable. Truly objective behavior is damn near impossible to achieve.