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Hoosiers Think State is on the Right Track, but Economic Insecurity Lingers

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Improving Highways and Environmental Protection Rise as Priorities.

Dr. Joseph Losco
Bowen Center for Public Affairs

The 2015 WISH-TV/Ball State Hoosier Survey found that 51% of Hoosiers believe that Indiana is headed in the right direction while thirty-six percent say the state is on the wrong track.  There is wide variation by party affiliation but little difference by region. However, only 26% say they are financially better-off today than they were four years ago.  A plurality (45%) believes their financial condition has not much changed over the last four years.

 

Perhaps a sign of continued economic insecurity, 70% of Hoosiers place job creation at the top of the legislative agenda for lawmakers.  And a majority (64%) supports an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.  Support is greatest among Independents and Democrats but nearly 46% of Republicans also support the measure.

Issues rising in importance included improving highways and roads (up 11 percentage points from last year) and protecting the environment (up 5 percentage points from last year).  When asked the preferred source of increased funding for roads, a near majority (45%) said money should come from the general fund.  Only 14% supported an increase in the gasoline tax and only 7% wanted the funds to come from a mileage tax as has been proposed by some lawmakers.

Increased concern for environmental protection seems to track economic performance.  During the depths of the recent Great Recession, environmental protection dipped in significance for Hoosiers.  As employment ticked-up, so did interest in environmental protection as the chart below indicates.

 

The Hoosier Survey was conducted for WISH TV/Ball State University by Princeton Survey Research International during the period October 8-13, 2015.  Results are based on 602 completed interviews with 362 landline respondents and 240 cell phone (including 137 adults with no landline) respondents. The margin of error is ±5.2%.  Complete findings and methodology are available here.