2023 EOTR Survey Summary

Major issues include neighborhood crime & safety, school quality

Washington, DC – Today, ElectED DC, a community organization dedicated to empowering students, residents, and communities east of the Anacostia River, announced the release of its second annual East of the River Survey, the only independent survey of the aspirations, priorities and needs of communities East of the River.  

The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling from November 15-17, 2023 gathered responses from 624 registered voters in East of the River communities in Wards 7 and 8. Key findings include:

  • Widespread dissatisfaction: Only 17% of respondents say they are generally satisfied with the current state of affairs east of the river. At 63%, more than half of the respondents say they are generally dissatisfied with the current state of affairs east of the River while the remaining 20% said they were not sure.   This is a slight increase from last year’s 60% who answered dissatisfied. 
  • Crime and safety top overall issue: Neighborhood crime and safety was the top priority among respondents (49%), followed by housing costs and rising prices (18%), and DC statehood (13%).  
  • Strong desire for more high-quality schools: 53% of respondents strongly or somewhat believe there are NOT enough high-quality schools in Wards 7 and 8. 
  • East of the River schools need real strengthening: 49% of respondents say they strongly or somewhat disagree with the statement that Wards 7 & 8 schools provide pathways to good jobs and financial stability. 19% said they were not sure. 
  • Less than a third of respondents would choose to send their kids to a Ward 7 or 8 school: 31% of respondents say they would be willing to send their child to a school in wards 7 or 8, 34% say they would not, and 34% said they were not sure or do not have children. 
  • Economic optimism is extremely low and dropping: 51% of respondents say they are pessimistic about their community’s economy today–a 12% increase from last year.  The number who responded that they feel optimistic fell from 33% in 2022 to 24% this year. 
  • However, fully 65% say they feel that they can play a role in shaping their community: Despite a decrease from last year’s figure, this supermajority demonstrates that East of the River residents overwhelmingly feel empowered and capable of impacting matters that matter to them in their community and in their city. 

ElectED Executive Director Erika Harrell called the results a vital testament to the sentiments of East of the River communities. 

“The survey underscores the pressing need for enhanced public safety policies and increased investments in public education, particularly in the face of a concerning rise in carjackings allegedly involving middle and high school children,” said Harrell. “The findings are a call to action for the District to do more to address the challenges faced by residents East of the River. As a resident of Ward 7 and a parent, I am confident in the potential for positive change in our community. Residents possess the desire, belief, leadership, and talent necessary for that improvement. However, achieving this potential requires not only the support and empowerment of our residents but also active collaboration from District leaders. Together, we can create safer neighborhoods, foster equitable schools, and promote more prosperous economies in our communities East of the River.”

A summary of the full results of the survey is attached.  

Reporters wishing to speak with Harrell may contact Alicia Prince at 215-284-0565. 


ElectED DC was founded to empower students, residents, and communities East of the Anacostia River by equipping advocates with resources, vital information, and access to political power. The organization focuses on identifying, recruiting, and developing leaders and prospective candidates for office, and supporting their work to advance key policies. ElectED DC believes in a comprehensive and holistic change agenda geared towards dramatically improving outcomes for DC students. For more information, visit electEDdc.org.