Georgians see Economy as most important problem facing the State according to UGA’s Peach State

ATHENS, Ga. – While concern about the war in Iraq was first on the minds of Georgians in March 2003, they now see the economy as the most pressing problem at home, with primary concern about the state budget and taxes. In the latest Peach State Poll, one in four Georgians cited the economy and jobs as the most important issue confronting the state. Seventy percent of the public rate the current economic conditions in the state as either fair (51 percent) or poor (18 percent).

Blacks in Georgia are far more likely than whites to express dismay with economic conditions in the state, according to the recent poll. Thirty-seven percent of blacks in the state cited the economy as the most important problem, as compared to 22 percent of whites. Twenty-five percent of blacks rate current economic conditions in the state as poor, as compared to only 15 percent of whites.

The Peach State Poll is a statewide quarterly survey of public opinion conducted by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Other survey results:

* Education remains an important concern for Georgians, with 20 percent of the public citing education as the most important problem facing the state.

* The proportion of Georgians expressing dissatisfaction with the government was considerably higher in March 2003 than in the previous two quarters (17 percent in March 2003 in contrast with 8 percent in December 2002 and 6 percent in September 2002). This higher level of discontent is primarily due to concern about taxes and the state flag issue, which escalated in prominence.
* General satisfaction with life in Georgia is up 7 percentage points from the previous quarter. In the December 2002 Peach State Poll, only 54 percent of the public expressed satisfaction with life in Georgia as compared with 61 percent in the most recent poll.

* Forty-eight percent of Georgia’s public favor life imprisonment without parole over the death penalty for convicted murderers. This number is up from September 2002, when the Peach State Poll found only 42 favoring life imprisonment over the death penalty.

These data are taken from a Peach State Poll survey conducted between March 31 and April 6, 2003. The poll included 800 telephone interviews of randomly selected adults in Georgia. For a sample of this size, the margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/- 3.5 percent.

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government, a public service and outreach unit of the University of Georgia, has as part of its mission to provide policymakers with systematic, objective research to inform policy decisions. In accordance with that mission, the Peach State Poll aims to give voice to the public on important policy matters and issues pertaining to political, social, and economic life in Georgia.

For more information on this survey or other Peach State Poll results, see www.cviog.uga.edu/peachpoll.