Georgians report growing dissatisfaction with federal government

ATHENS, Ga. – While Georgians continue to feel positive about their state, their dissatisfaction with the federal government is up from previous polls. In August 2005, 13 percent of Georgians indicated dissatisfaction with government when asked what is the most important problem in the nation; in November 2005, 17 percent referenced dissatisfaction with government-the highest percentage since the Peach State Poll began in September 2001. National security, including the war in Iraq, remains the most often cited problem facing the nation (25 percent) followed by the economy (17 percent) and dissatisfaction with government.

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

Only 9 percent of respondents to the November 2005 poll expressed dissatisfaction with government when considering problems facing the state, and 63 percent said that they are either very satisfied (15 percent) or somewhat satisfied (48 percent) with the way things are going in Georgia. Additionally, although a minority of Georgians rate the state’s economy as either excellent (4 percent) or good (38 percent), ratings of the economy in the fall of 2005 are comparatively better than in the fall of 2002, 2003 or 2004. “All in all, the dissatisfaction with government that Georgians expressed when considering national problems are not nearly as pervasive when considering life within the state,” says poll director Rich Clark.

Other Peach State Poll results:
· Independents (25 percent) are more likely than either Democrats (16 percent) or Republicans (14 percent) to cite the economy as the most important problem facing the nation.

· Twenty-two percent of Georgians cite education as the most important problem facing the state today, followed by jobs and the economy (18 percent).

· Seventy-four percent of Republicans say that things in Georgia are heading in the right direction, as compared with only 44 percent of Democrats. Nevertheless, Democrats are still more likely to say that things in the state are heading in the right direction than to say that they are on the wrong track (37 percent).

· Satisfaction with state services remained relatively stable since the August poll, with 46 percent saying that they are either very satisfied (10 percent) or somewhat (36 percent) satisfied with the delivery of state services generally.

These data were taken from a Peach State Poll survey conducted between October 25 and November 3, 2005. The poll included 803 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.