NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — In his final year as Mayor, John Cooper is seeing an increase in those who approve of his tenure at the helm of Metro Nashville-Davidson County.

According to the Vanderbilt Poll—Nashville, 59% of people approve of Cooper’s work as mayor, compared to 40% who disapprove of how he’s doing. The rating is higher than last year, when the same poll found only 56% of people approved of how he was doing. Additionally, fewer people disapprove of how he’s doing compared to last year, when 43% did not like how he was performing.

The increase in approval comes as more than half of respondents have for the second year in a row felt that Nashville was on the wrong track. From the start of the Nashville poll in 2015 until 2021, Nashvillians viewed the city as on the right track. Last year was the first year the poll found respondents generally viewed Nashville as headed in the wrong direction with 53% of respondents answering negatively.

This year saw an increase in those who viewed the city’s direction negatively—up to 56% this year. This trend is amplified by a plurality of respondents indicating the growth of the city is making their quality of life worse, rather than better or having no effect, according to poll results.

However, other measures within the poll could indicate the sources of dissatisfaction are more complex than the issues that may first come to mind.

“While the trend toward concern for the future of Nashville is clear, the origins of the concern are not,” said Josh Clinton, co-director of the Vanderbilt Poll, who holds the Abby and Jon Winkelried Chair and is a professor of political science. “Even though 56% think the city is on the wrong track, 59% also approve of the job Mayor John Cooper is doing.  This suggests that concerns beyond the mayor’s control and likely related to concerns about growth, public education, and the increasing tension between Nashville and the state government are affecting people’s optimism about the future of our city.”

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The 56% who think the city is on the wrong track is more than double those who thought the same in 2017. Similarly, 47% say Nashville’s growth is making their day-to-day life worse—just under double the number in 2017.

According to the results, the majority of respondents—48%—felt the next mayor should make major changes but not completely overhaul the city’s priorities. The things people felt the next mayor should focus on were improving public education (74%), reducing crime (64%), dealing with the state legislature (62%) and dealing with the problems of low-income people and those in need (62%).