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Survey says: Hoosier report finds strong support for statewide smoking ban

Friday, December 16, 2011

MUNCIE -- The Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University has unveiled the results of its 2011 Hoosier Survey. The fourth annual survey identified Indiana residents' top priorities for state government action during the coming year.

Most notably, the survey found that while Republican leadership in next year's General Assembly support Right-to-Work, they have yet to convince all adult Hoosiers. Nearly half of respondents (48 percent) are undecided on the Right-to-Work issue, and those who took a position, are nearly split with 27 percent supporting and 24 percent opposing the legislation.

"The 2011 Hoosier Survey results show that the Right-to-Work issue is not settled in the minds of Hoosiers," said Dr. Ray Scheele, co-director, The Bowen Center for Public Affairs. "Neither side has closed the sale."

In contrast, a majority (56 percent) of Hoosiers support a statewide ban on smoking in public places.

Support for the ban carries across all regions of the state, with residents of Southern Indiana expressing the highest level of support at 62 percent. Support in the northern and central counties also were strong at 55 percent.

"A statewide smoking ban has failed in the past because of disagreement over what establishments, if any, should be exempt," said Dr. Scheele. "Some legislators have suggested different ways to overcome this obstacle but clearly there is widespread public support for a statewide prohibition."

These are just two key findings reported in the 2011 Hoosier Survey by The Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University.

Additional survey findings included:

-- Thirty-three percent of Hoosiers support expanding the use of school vouchers for charter and private schools while 37 percent oppose the extension.

-- Job creation continues to be the No. 1 priority for Hoosier residents with 78 percent saying legislators should put this item at the top of the legislative agenda.

-- Hoosiers are willing to pay more for some services like fire protection and schools, but prefer cuts in service to tax hikes in support of other areas such as jails, parks and government operations.

-- About half of Hoosiers have an unfavorable view of the Affordable Care Act but they overwhelmingly support key provisions of the act, including making coverage more affordable, ensuring coverage for everyone and providing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

-- Hoosiers with medical insurance are more likely to visit a physician than the uninsured. While the insured are more likely to visit a physician than the uninsured, they also are more likely than the uninsured to have visited an Emergency Room for medical care in the last 12 months.

-- Governor Mitch Daniels' approval rating stands at 58 percent, a slight increase from last year, while the General Assembly's approval has dipped by 10 points to 39 percent.

Complete 2011 Hoosier Survey results were reported by The Bowen Center for Public Affairs at the 20th Bingham McHale Legislative Conference. The poll was conducted by The Bowen Center for Public Affairs with interviewing completed by Princeton Research International.

A random sampling of 607 Indiana households were interviewed Nov. 14-17 using both cell phones and land lines. The survey has a plus or minus 4.4 percent margin of error.

For more information about the Hoosier Survey or The Bowen Center for Public Affairs, visit www.bsu.edu/bowencenter or call (765) 285-8982.



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