Dr. Joseph Losco, Director
Ball State University
Despite an improvement in the state’s economy, the number of Hoosiers citing job creation as the number one priority for the Indiana General Assembly ticked up four percentage points over last year. Reducing crime (67%) and improving public schools (66%) followed in second and third places respectively with little change from a year ago.
These are among the findings from this year’s WISH TV/Ball State University Hoosier Survey. The survey was conducted for WISH TV/Ball State University by Princeton Survey Research International during the period October 10-16, 2016. Results are based on completed interviews with 803 registered voters (642 landline and 161 cell phone users).
Improving highways and roads saw the steepest decline year over year, dropping from 48% describing this as a top priority last year to just 39% this year. Improving environmental quality and investment in public transportation also saw declines in support as compared to last year. Given the wide attention paid to full day kindergarten in the 2016 Gubernatorial campaign, we found only 29% of Hoosiers thought this should be a top priority. There was little change in the number of Hoosiers citing illegal immigration as a top concern (37% this year compared to 36% a year ago).
Regional differences surfaced with regard to environmental protection with 47% of Hoosiers in Northern counties saying this is a top priority as compared to 40% of Hoosiers in southern counties. Forty-three percent of Hoosiers in central counties cite environmental protection as a top priority. Somewhat smaller regional differences appear with regard to highways and roads and illegal immigration. Whereas 37% of Hoosiers in central Indiana see road improvement as a top priority, 39% of Hoosiers in northern counties and 43% of Hoosiers in southern counties do so. Illegal immigration appears to be a greater concern for Hoosiers in southern counties with 43% calling this a top priority while 35% of respondents in northern and central counties see this as a top concern.
Significant differences in ranking priorities surface when we examine party affiliation. While Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to see environmental protection and full day kindergarten as top priorities, many more Republicans see the need to curb illegal immigration as a top concern.
Full results of the 2016 survey, including our methodology report, are available at www.bowencenterforpublicaffairs.org.