What do State College, Pa., Grand Forks, N.D., and Boulder, Colo., have that Bradenton doesn't?
A. Joe Pa's dynastic football program.
B. Bitterly cold winters.
C. The Rockies.
All true, but they weren't the reasons Bradenton, ranked No. 1 last year in the Soul of the Community Gallup poll, came in fourth this year, albeit out of 26 American cities.
Commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami, the report surveys how citizens of a community feel toward where they live, what it offers them and what they give back.
State College, Grand Forks and Boulder went 1-2-3, though only by hundredths of a point.
On the upside, after last year's poll cited unemployment as the area's No. 1 issue, this year's poll showed the perception is the local economy is getting better and so is hiring momentum.
That, said Mayor Wayne Poston, is central to how people feel.
"There are an awful lot of people unhappy about a lot of things, but the economy is the issue," he said. "This is the worst economy we've had in years and a bad economy gets reflected in a lot of ways — philanthropical giving, cultural venues can't get done. It impacts a lot of people.
"So we dropped from first to fourth, big deal. I'm not moving to any of those places."
Read more of this story at Bradenton.com