Is Seattle a “world class” city? Are we headed in the right direction? Are you most proud of Amazon, Microsoft or Starbucks? The wide-ranging survey shows us a little bit about how we’re feeling in these changing times.

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Seattle’s changing so fast it could make your head spin. So I think we can be forgiven if we seem a bit confused sometimes.

That’s the sense I got after reading the results of the new Atlantic Media/Allstate Regional Renewal poll, a survey of 400 Seattle-area residents on their perceptions about living here. It’s clear from the poll that while we’re well aware of Seattle’s current boom, we’re not quite sure what to make of our good fortune.

An alarming 70 percent of respondents said the region’s massive growth is benefiting only a few and making it too hard for average families to live here. An equal number believe we’re unprepared to handle the growth we can expect over the next several years. And 60 percent say the quality of life here has either gotten worse or only stayed the same.

Not so good.

But turn that frown upside down, because a whopping 69 percent of those surveyed also said the Puget Sound region is going in a positive direction, and 65 percent said that young folks should stay put because there are more opportunities for them here than in other parts of the country.


Other survey responses are split down the middle, further revealing our conflicted nature. That’s true of the questions about whether rapid population growth is having a positive or negative impact; if Seattle is turning into a “world class” city; and if folks feel they make enough money to live comfortably and save an adequate amount for retirement.

The pollsters also asked some questions attempting to gauge our feelings of regional pride, including our perceptions of major local companies.

Amazon may serve as a punching bag for anybody who’s angry about the way Seattle is changing — but we’re still happier to have them here than Starbucks. When survey respondents were asked to pick the corporation or institution they’re most proud to have headquartered here, the online-retail giant had a third-place showing with 12 percent. Only 5 percent selected Starbucks.

Microsoft easily came out on top with 27 percent, followed by the Gates Foundation. And nobody’s very proud of Expedia, apparently, which was dead last with 0 percent.

The survey also asked folks, if they have a friend visiting from out of town, which regional attractions they would highlight as a “must-see.” Nearly everyone — 96 percent — said no visit to the area is complete without a trip to Pike Place Market and the Seattle waterfront.

Yet again, Starbucks was snubbed. Only 30 percent chose the coffee behemoth’s first location — even though it’s in the Market — placing it second-to-last on the list.

The poll of 400 adults in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties was conducted Sept. 20-24. Half the respondents were reached via cellphone and half via landline. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9.