Fox 5 Atlanta is out with a poll from Insider Advantage that tries to tap the mood of registered voters leading up to the start of the legislative session on Monday. Many of the questions focus on what could be done to improve transportation in the Peach State, which is likely to be one of the major items considered by lawmakers, given that a joint study committee released the results and recommendations on how to fund the construction and maintenance or roads and bridges. Some say there is a shortfall of between one and five billion dollars annually.
37% of respondents agreed with the report’s conclusion that transportation spending must be increased, compared to 34% who disagreed, and 29% who were undecided. When asked how additional transportation spending might be funded, 32.7% preferred a 1% statewide sales tax increase, except in the areas that passed the TSPLOST tax in 2012. 19% wanted an increase in the motor fuel excise tax, while 48% wanted to fund transportation some other way.
In fact, the transportation issue was far from being the most top of mind issue for Georgia voters. That honor fell to education, which was top priority for 41%, followed by government ethics at 20% and crime reduction at 14%. Only 11% looked at transportation as being the most important issue, behind “Other” at 14%.
A story in the Augusta Chronicle by Walter Jones had this from Insider Advantage Chairman Matt Towery:
He noted that Georgia voters don’t rank transportation as a top issue for the legislature to tackle, and they’re generally not in the mood to pay more taxes for it. Education ranked first when voters were asked what single issue was most important, with 41 percent, followed by government ethics with 20 percent, reducing crime at 14 percent, “other” at 14 percent, and transportation as the bottom of the choices listed, at 11 percent.
“I don’t understand why leaders in the state don’t do a better job of explaining to the voters why transportation is important to them,” Towery said. “…The average voter has gotten used to the traffic congestion they have to face, and they simply schedule the needed time to deal with it, and they don’t understand why business groups are so focused on it.”
In other issues surveyed, 63% voters supported the legalization of the non-psychoactive oil derived from marijuana to treat patients suffering from seizures and other illnesses. Voters oppose the religious freedom bill proposed by Rep. Sam Teasley and Sen. Josh McKoon by a 35-25% margin, although 40% are undecided. However when asked if they would support the religious liberty bill if it enhanced the rights of Muslims, support dropped to 18%, with 54% in opposition.
The survey of 444 registered voters was conducted on January 6th and 7th, and was Weighted for age, race, gender and political affiliation. The survey’s margin of error is 4.6% at the 95% Confidence level.