Athens, Ga. – Education remains the issue that Georgians most want their state government to address, according to the latest Peach State Poll, a quarterly survey of public opinion conducted by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
In an open-ended question asking what is the most important problem facing the state of Georgia today, education was cited by a plurality of Georgians (23 percent); the economy was second (12 percent), followed by immigration (9 percent) and crime (9 percent). Thirty percent of those with children in the public school system cited education as the most important issue facing the state. Education was the issue most frequently cited by nearly all segments of the population-whites, blacks, men, women, democrats, republicans and independents.
The poll also found that the public sees a major role for the state in providing postsecondary education. College education is no longer seen as a luxury for the children of elites: 60 percent of the public believe that a college education at a public institution is a right of all Georgians, while only 37 percent see it as a privilege for students with the best grades and test scores. In addition, 58 percent view college education as a key for success that should be obtained at any cost.
Other Peach State Poll results:
- Georgia’s higher education system is rated as excellent by 17 percent of the public and as good by 52 percent. Only 4 percent of the public rate Georgia K-12 public schools as excellent, and 36 percent rate them as good.
- In the area of health care, 75 percent of the public want to see government spending on health care increased. Those who rely on the government for health insurance express levels of satisfaction with their coverage equal to or greater than those for whom health insurance is provided through their employer.
- In regard to the environment, Georgians favor protecting water quality over protecting private property rights when the two are in competition. Sixty-five percent of the general public believe that the government has the responsibility to regulate use of private property in order to ensure water quality in an area.
These data were taken from a Peach State Poll survey conducted between November 18-28, 2006. The poll included 801 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.vinsoninstitute.org/peachpoll.