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Anne Arundel Community College/CSLI Fall 2014 Semi Annual Survey Results

Press Release: The Center for the Study of Local Issues recently (October 13-16) conducted a survey focusing on Anne Arundel County residents’ views concerning the following issues:

  • Vote for governor and county executive, main factors shaping vote
  • Right/wrong direction of the county, state and nation
  • Economic conditions and experiences
  • Consumer confidence
  • Support for state and local issues related to storm water fees, taxes, speed cameras, small high schools, Crofton high school
  • Presidential job approval and trust in political parties

You are receiving this emailed press release because you were on a list provided to us by Anne Arundel Community College’s Public Relations and Marketing department. If you believe that you should NOT be on this list, please notify us and you shall be removed.

Recipient: The Center for the Study of Local Issues at Anne Arundel Community College conducts surveys of Anne Arundel County residents each March and October, offering students a valuable learning experience while providing the county community with public opinion findings. A summary of our findings for this October is provided below. The actual (much longer and detailed) press release is attached as a pdf document. You may also find a copy of the press release as well as all other press releases for CSLI surveys since 1995 at our website:www2.aacc.edu/csli.

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Summary of Main Findings:

Most important problems facing county residents: Twenty-eight percent said taxes, 18 percent cited the economy. Education was mentioned by 11 percent.

Perceptions of the economy: The survey found that 44 percent viewed the county’s economy as excellent or good – down from last fall when it was 50 percent; 28 percent said the same for Maryland’s economy (a drop of 12 points) and 16 percent favorably rated the national economy, down 5 points.

Right direction/wrong direction: The percentage of those saying that the county was moving in the right direction was nearly unchanged (49 percent). Smaller numbers felt that the state (27 percent – down 4 points) and the country (23 percent – down 4 points) were heading in the right direction.

Economic conditions experienced by individuals: Various measures have been tracked since March 2008 although this section removed some items subject to previous tracking and added two new items. The fall 2014 survey found three notable changes since the March 2014 survey: a 9 percentage point increase in concern about taxes; a 6 point increase in the percentage saying that wages or salaries were not rising as fast as the cost of living; and a 14 point increase in those saying that “Health care insurance is unavailable, too expensive or inadequate.” A high percentage (45 percent) said that it was “Hard to afford the cost of education” – asked for the first time in the fall 2014 survey.

Consumer confidence: There were only small changes in economic expectations over the next twelve months with slightly more optimism about employment and inflation, but slightly less about personal financial situation and growth.

County and state proposals: There was little support for increasing the salary of the next county executive or increasing the county’s income tax to pay for a high school in Crofton. There was some support for doubling the number of county high schools and shrinking their size. Respondents were divided on the fee level associated with the storm water runoff fee, with a slight majority saying that it was about right or too low. There was a somewhat greater preference for cutting property taxes than adding to public safety or education.

 Elections and voter preferences for governor and county executive:

  • Interest in the upcoming elections was greater among Republicans (61 percent saying “very interested”) than Democrats (51 percent). Republicans were slightly more likely to vote (84 percent) than Democrats (77 percent). Overall, information levels for the race for governor was at 38 percent saying “very informed” – with Republicans at 44 percent compared to Democrats at 33 percent. By contrast, in the race for county executive, information levels were nearly half as large with only 20 percent saying “very informed.”
  • Asked which candidate they are more likely to support for governor, Republican Larry Hogan carried a 29 point advantage (51 percent) over his opponent Democrat Anthony Brown (22 percent) although 24 percent were still undecided. Respondents felt that Brown would ultimately win the election in Maryland (53 percent) against Hogan (23 percent). Taxes were the dominant issue in this race, although Hogan supporters were three times more likely to cite taxes as the main factor shaping their voting decision than were Brown supporters who tended to focus more on education, the environment and women’s issues. Brown was more likely to be favored by those saying “party affiliation” than was Hogan.
  • For county executive, Republican Steve Schuh maintained a sizable lead (40 percent) over Democrat George Johnson (26 percent). By nearly equal numbers, respondents thought Schuh would beat Johnson. As in the race for governor, the Republican candidate was supported by voters concerned with taxes – the top cited issue – while the Democrat’s supporters focused on education, more services, the environment and party affiliation. Similar results were found when asking respondents about the “highest priority for the next county executive.”
  • When asked how they obtained information about county executive candidates, respondents pointed first to newspapers and television, along with direct mail, as their main methods.

Officeholders’ job approval: Both Governor Martin O’Malley (27 percent saying “approve”) and President Obama (32 percent) saw their job approval percentages slide 6 or 7 points since the CSLI survey last spring. County executive Laura Neuman (50 percent) also experienced a 4 point drop.

 Which party do you trust? The percentage favoring Democrats rose slightly from 32 to 34 percent since last spring. However, the Republican percentage rose more dramatically from 31 to 39 percent, with the percentage saying “neither” dropping 7 points to 21 percent.

 Methodology: The survey polled a random sample of 411 county residents who were at least 18 years old. It was conducted October 13, 14, 15 and 16, 2014 during evening hours. Phone numbers were derived from a database of listed landline numbers, cell phone numbers as well as computer chosen, randomly assigned numbers. There was about a 4.8 percent statistical margin of error for the overall sample; the error rate was higher for subgroups such as “Democrats” or “likely voters.” The dataset was weighted by gender and political party to better represent the general population. College students were trained and used as telephone interviewers.

Contact Dan Nataf, Ph.D., center director, for additional comments or questions at 410-777-2733 or ddnataf@aacc.edu. Check the CSLI website for results for this and previous surveys: www2.aacc.edu/csli.

 

 

 

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