A new Vox and Data for Progress poll suggests voters increase support for building more homes when presented with an economic case for it.
Convincing Americans to build more housing is the only way to begin solving the national housing crisis. A new Data for Progress/Vox poll suggests one way to convince them: say it will help the economy.
The poll, conducted February 19-22 among 1,551 likely voters, found that making a strong economic case for changing zoning laws to allow for the construction of multifamily homes may be able to shift voters’ opinions. Zoning changes were net 10 percentage points more popular when paired with an economic case than with a racial justice argument, with fewer voters opposed.
As housing supply reaches record lows, many Americans are fighting over the dwindling stock of homes, and millions are losing hope that they will even be able to find an affordable place to rent, let alone own. Generally speaking, multifamily housing is the most affordable option, especially in high-opportunity cities and suburbs. The same amount of land can be used to build one house or several, allowing multiple families to live on a single plot of land. But building more of it is frequently unpopular (in practice, if not in theory).
Many people try to block new development near their properties, often by enacting restrictive zoning rules at the local level. They cite reasons ranging from worries about changing neighborhood character to insufficient parking spaces and congestion, and sometimes express blatant hostility to low-income and minority communities who might become their new neighbors.