Sunday, March 25, 2012

House Poll: 58 percent support ACES changes

by Alaska Journal of Commerce

A new in-depth poll by Dittman Research & Communications released by the Alaska House Majority Caucus March 20 carries data on a number of issues before the Legislature, from oil taxes to film incentives, to coastal zone management and education funding.

Dittman Corp. surveyed 1,000 Alaskans during the first week in March, asking 45 impartial questions, in order to secure a low 3.1-percent margin of error. The caucus traditionally commissions a poll to help inform members and the public on priority issues before the legislature, but this poll was more in-depth than previous surveys.

On oil taxes, a contentious issue before the Legislature now, 58 percent of the respondents feel the present state production tax should be repealed or modified. Of those who support modification or repeal of the current tax, 89 percent said it should be done this year.

"The data shows that a majority of Alaskans are feeling good about the state of the state: our leadership, our economy, and future opportunities. Alaskans are willing to invest in large projects like the in-state gasline and other mega-projects, and on education funding and film incentives - provided there's accountability," leaders of the Majority caucus said in a joint statement. "We're pleased with the work done by Dittman Research and staff and will use this information as we enter the home stretch of the legislative session when these issues come before us."

The survey showed 70 percent of the respondents feeling that the state’s economy is “good” or “quite good,” with 27 percent feeling it is “not good” and 3 percent unsure. On current levels of state spending, 44 percent of all respondents felt spending was “about right,” with 30 percent feeling it is “too high” and 11 percent “too low,” and 15 percent unsure.

Those percentages were similar across all regions of the state in the survey sample. However, in a subset of political affiliations, Republicans were evenly split, with 44 percent saying spending was “about right and 40 percent saying “too high.”

Democrats and unaffiliated respondents voiced similar opinions, 45 percent and 46 percent saying spending was about right, 25 percent (Democrats) and 27 percent (non-partisan) saying it was too high, and 10 percent (Democrats) and 16 percent (non-partisan) saying it is too low.

On the question of a large natural gas pipeline project, 74 percent of the respondents said they now have no confidence in the state’s Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, or AGIA, strategy developed by former Gov. Sarah Palin, and 48 percent of respondents blamed a “failure of leadership” by state officials as to why a gas pipeline is not underway. Within that sample, 17 percent felt the AGIA strategy itself is to blame, and 22 percent blame “market conditions.”

The press release is at

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