Athens, Ga. – A substantial plurality of Georgians believes that the drought is the most important problem facing the state today, according to the latest Peach State Poll. Forty-one percent of the public says that the drought is the most important problem facing the state, followed distantly by crime (11 percent) and education (9 percent). Since the start of the Peach State Poll in September 2001, no single issue has ever been cited by more than 30 percent of the public as the most important problem until this latest poll.
While Georgians express high levels of concern about both water quality and the availability of water in the future, the concern about availability is greater. Eighty-one percent of the public say that they are very concerned that Georgia may not have enough water in the next 10 years. In response to this concern, Georgians across the state are taking measures to conserve water in their homes by washing only full loads of laundry or dishes (61 percent), and using faucets less (59 percent), among other measures. Georgians who live in the northern counties with the more severe drought conditions (level four) are even more likely to be taking measures to conserve water in their homes (see figure below).
The Peach State Poll is a quarterly survey of public opinion conducted by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
Other Peach State Poll results:
- Seventy-one percent of Georgians say that the drought affects their daily activities either a great deal (37 percent) or some (34 percent).This is even more pronounced among residents of the northern counties, where 41 percent say that the drought affects their daily activities a great deal, and another 36 percent say that it affects them some.
- On the matter of water quality, a majority of the public rate Georgia’s lakes, rivers, and streams-those waters used for drinking and recreation-as either fair (38 percent) or poor (31 percent).Twenty-five percent rate the quality of water as good, and only 3 percent rate it as excellent.
- Twenty percent of the public say that they would not oppose an annual fee of up to $50 to improve the quality of the water used for drinking and recreation in the state.Nearly two-thirds of Georgia adults (66 percent) say that they would not oppose a $5 dollar annual fee for such a purpose, 49 percent would not oppose a fee as high as $10 dollars, and 30 percent would not oppose a fee as high as $25.
These data were taken from a Peach State Poll survey conducted between Nov. 19 and Dec. 2. 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.vinsoninstitute.org/peachpoll.