2/22/05 Contact: Jim Seroka, 334-844-4781 (jseroka@auburn.edu)
David M. Granger, 334/844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)

POLL SHOWS ALABAMIANS UNIFORMLY SUPPORT LOCAL OFFICIALS, BUT SPLIT ON PRIORITY OF COMMUNITY ISSUES

AUBURN – More than 70 percent of Alabamians have confidence that their local elected officials are leading their communities in a positive way, but their opinions vary on what issues are of most concern to their communities.

This is among the findings of the winter Ask Alabama public opinion survey, conducted by the Center for Governmental Services at Auburn University. Ask Alabama releases monthly results of polls on topics of interest to Alabamians.

According to Ask Alabama’s January-February telephone survey of Alabama residents, the majority of Alabamians not only have confidence in local leadership, but also 85 percent believe their individual community has improved or retained its quality of life during the past year.

Poll director Jim Seroka says Alabamians “have faith in their local leadership to do the right thing and to steer their communities in a way that benefits the public.”

However, the priorities on which citizens wish their local officials to focus vary by community. In the combined ranking of urgent issues, education and law enforcement lead the list at 80 and 77 percent respectively. But when response to issues is broken down by minority status, different priorities emerge. For example, jobs and health care are urgent priorities to more than half of minorities polled, but only 22 to 25 percent of non-minorities rate these issues as urgent.

“In Alabama, one size does not fit all,” says Seroka. “Different constituencies have different needs and priorities. Minorities in Alabama look to their local officials for support and assistance in resolving such issues as securing jobs and assuring access to health care.”

Other findings of the Ask Alabama poll on Alabamians and their local communities include:

* Few respondents (16 percent) believe that the quality of life in their local community is deteriorating.

* Seventy-four percent believe that honesty of local elected officials is an urgent or high priority.

Complete results of the Ask Alabama poll on Alabamians and their local communities can be found at www.askalabama.org. The poll has a sample size of 629 resident Alabamians 19 years of age or older, and an estimated margin of error of +/- four percent. Telephone interviews were conducted from January 24 to February 3, 2005.

(Contributed by Jim Seroka.)

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