The Center for the Study of Local Issues recently (October 14-17) conducted a survey focusing on Anne Arundel County residents’ views concerning the following issues:
- The impact of sequestration and the federal government shutdown on county residents
- Right/wrong direction of the county, state and nation
- Economic conditions and experiences
- Consumer confidence
- County infrastructure priorities
- County’s ability to deal with various problems
- Anne Arundel Community College’s image and rating
- Mental health services in Anne Arundel County
- Presidential and Congressional job approval and trust in political parties.
The Center for the Study of Local Issues at Anne Arundel Community College conducts surveys of Anne Arundel County residents each March and October, offering students a valuable learning experience while providing the county community with public opinion findings. A summary of our findings for this October is provided below.
Summary of Findings:
Impact of Sequestration and Federal Government shutdown on residents: A majority (57 percent) of residents claimed to have experienced a negative impact from sequestration or the federal government shutdown. Furloughs and income losses were the most commonly cited impacts.
Most important problem facing county residents: 16 percent cited the economy, 19 percent said taxes. Government as inefficient, corrupt or unethical was cited by 17 percent, up from 11 percent in March 2013.
Perceptions of the economy: Fifty-three percent viewed the county’s economy as excellent or good – up a bit from last spring when it was 49 percent; 40 percent said the same for Maryland’s economy (up 10 points) and 14 percent favorably rated the national economy, up 2 points.
Right direction/wrong direction: The percentage of those saying that the county was moving in the right direction was largely unchanged (from 49 to 50 percent). Smaller numbers felt that the state (35 percent – unchanged) or the country (10 percent – down 14 points) was heading in the right direction.
Economic conditions experienced by individuals: Various measures have been tracked since March 2008. The fall 2013 survey found only small changes: a 4 percentage point increase in concern about taxes and a 5 percentage point decrease in the number saying that they had received a salary or income increase lately. On a positive note, there was a 4 percentage point decrease in those saying that they were delaying a major purchase.
Consumer confidence: Continuing a pattern first seen last spring, indicators again pointed to a drop in consumer confidence, with all four indicators (unemployment, growth, inflation and personal financial situation) down compared to spring 2013.
County infrastructure priorities: The highest priorities were on schools and roads; the lowest priorities were on libraries and public parks.
County ability to deal with various problems: The public noted net negative percentages in most areas such as “improving ethics,” “reducing traffic congestion,” and “keeping taxes low.” Only “improving the academic performance of our children” and “improving the overall quality of life in the county” had net positive scores.
AACC’s image and rating: Common word associations with Anne Arundel Community College’s image included “good reputation” and “affordable.” Eighty percent rated the college as either “excellent” (50 percent) or good (30 percent). Eleven percent had no opinion.
Mental health services: Only 16 percent claimed any experience with mental health services in Anne Arundel County. Similar percentages agreed and disagreed with positive statements such as “services are affordable” or “services are high quality.”
Presidential job approval: President Obama’s job approval dropped 4 points to 40 percent.
Congressional job approval: Only 6 percent approved of the job being done by Congress.
Which party do you trust? The percentage favoring Democrats dropped slightly from 37 to 34 percent since last spring. The percentage favoring Republicans dropped 9 points from 32 to 23 percent. A record number (37 percent) said “neither.”
Methodology: The survey polled a random sample of 503 county residents who were at least 18 years old. It was conducted October 14-17, 2013 during evening hours. Phone numbers were derived from a database of listed landline numbers, cell phone numbers as well as computer chosen, randomly assigned numbers. There was about a 4.3 percent statistical margin of error for the overall sample; the error rate was higher for subgroups such as “Democrats.” The dataset was weighted by gender and political party to better represent the general population. College students were trained and used as telephone interviewers.
Here is the full (and detailed) survey results: