9/7/04 David Granger, 334/844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)


AUBURN - A majority of Alabamians "strongly support" the public display of monuments to the Ten Commandments, but most state citizens also think the controversy has received too much attention.

These are among the findings of the first Ask Alabama poll, conducted by the Center for Governmental Services at Auburn University. Ask Alabama will release monthly results of polls on topics of interest to Alabamians.

According to Ask Alabama's June telephone surveys of 609 voting-age Alabamians, 54 percent "strongly support" the display of monuments to the Ten Commandments in public or governmental buildings. An additional 15 percent of those surveyed "mildly support" such display, while only 19 percent either strongly or mildly oppose the monuments.

While the majority of Alabamians favor such displays, 58 percent of those polled also said the issue -- brought to light by former Justice Roy Moore's refusal to remove such a display from the Alabama Supreme Court building -- has received too much attention. Just over 30 percent said the issue had received too little attention.

"The results indicate that Alabamians are torn between support for values that they treasure and becoming part of the agenda of some political leaders," Ask Alabama pollster Jim Seroka said. "There may also be some recognition that our political leaders need to be more focused on the practical policy issues facing the state."

Alabamians responded similarly to questions on gay and lesbian marriages. Almost 57 percent would favor a state constitutional amendment banning marriages between gay and lesbian couples. At the same time, just over 50 percent would support state laws making it illegal to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Other findings of the Ask Alabama poll on the relationship between religion and public life include:

Fifty percent of Alabamians would oppose the public display of material from a non-Christian religious text, such as the Torah or the Koran; only 29 percent would support such a display;

A slim majority of Alabamians would oppose the allocation of state funds for social services run by religious organizations. Fifty-two percent would oppose such use of funds while 38 percent would support it.

Almost 50 percent of the poll respondents believe religion will have a greater influence on politics and public life in the future. Only 20 percent believe religion's influence will lessen.
Complete results of the Ask Alabama poll on religion and public life can be found at www.askalabama.org.

The poll includes a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

Ask Alabama telephone surveys on issues of interest to Alabamians will be conducted quarterly. Each survey will include questions on three distinct topics and Ask Alabama Poll results will be released monthly.

Auburn University is a comprehensive research institution with more than 23,000 students and 6,500 faculty and staff. Ranked among the top 50 public universities nationally, Auburn is Alabama's largest educational institution, offering more than 230 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs.
# # #


CONTACT: Jim Seroka, 334/844-4781 or jseroka@auburn.edu.