Contact: Dan Nataf, Director, Center for the Study of Local Issues
Anne Arundel Community College
Oct. 27, 1995
POLL SHOWS COMMUNITY COLLEGE BEST BUY, CITES
CRIME, EDUCATION AS TOP PROBLEMS
A recent poll shows county residents rate Anne Arundel Community College the best buy for tax dollars spent out of all county government services.
The telephone survey of 386 residents was conducted Oct. 16-19 by the Center for the Study of Local Issues at Anne Arundel Community College.
Respondents were read a list of county government services and asked to rate the value received for their tax dollar: "a good buy," "an okay buy" or a "poor buy. Overall, the majority of respondeAts termed county government services a "good" or an "okay" buy.
Anne Arundel Community College topped the list as a "best buy," with 88 percent of respondents describing it as a "good buy." Fire department services and public libraries tied for second (79 percent), followed by trash collection (72 percent), police department services (68 percent), parks and recreation (63 percent), while water and sewer services tied with senior citizen services (61 percent).
Public health services were cited by 53 percent and cultural arts by 39 percent.
"When we asked respondents ‘why’ they thought services were a ‘poor buy,’ those citing health seem to be commenting about more general problems with the health care system than simply those things done by the local Health Department" said Dan Nataf, CSLI director.
"Often, respondents mentioned that they knew of no cultural arts in their area provided by the county," Nataf said, "or they thought it was a waste for money."
Asked what they see as the top problem facing the county, crime was No. 1, according to 26 percent of respondents. This continues a trend set in previous CSLI polls. Nataf reports tat the last four semiannual surveys found crime the prime problem identified by 20-25 percent of respondents.
Also holding constant were problems such as overcrowded schools and the quality of public education, cited by a total of 14 percent of respondents; taxes, 13 percent; growth, 11 percent and general government inefficiencies, 11 percent.
Respondents were asked if they had heard about the county’s effort to update its General Development Plan used by planners to direct land use and zoning decisions. The majority, 70 percent, had not. Newspapers and word of mouth (friend, coworker, neighbor or other) were the source of information for those who knew about the county’s effort. Asked if the county should make additional efforts to contact citizens, 91 percent of all respondents said yes.
The poll also asked respondents’ opinions of what issues planners should pay attention to in updating the county General Development Plan.
Traffic congestion topped the list of planning issues, with 41 percent of respondents rating it a "very serious" problem and 43 percent terming it "somewhat serious." Development came second, cited by nearly 40 percent of respondents as "very serious" and 38 percent as "somewhat serious." School overcrowding was third, with 37 percent of respondents terming it a "very serious" problem and 33 percent terming it a "somewhat serious" problem.
On state issues, respondents were told, "The governor has said that Maryland should not cut taxes much until the impact of federal cuts are clear; other leaders have said taxes should be cut significantly next time the legislature meets." They were asked "at this time," did they favor cutting taxes "a lot, only a bit or not at all."
A large majority agreed that taxes should be cut "only a bit," 42 percent of respondents, or "not at all" (31 percent) rather than "a lot" (26 percent).
On national issues, respondents were asked for whom they would vote if the 1996 presidential election were held today and the candidates were Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican front-runner Bob Dole. The result was a virtual tie with Clinton receiving 52 percent to Dole’s 48 percent. But the spread between the two is within the survey’s margin of error. A majority of respondents, nearly 89 percent, were registered to vote.
Interestingly, in a three-way race with retired Gen. Colin Powell, respondents broke into thirds with Powell the slight favorite (35 percent)," Nataf said. Results are within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
Other survey findings:
Respondents were divided exactly in half on the issue of whether it is more important to "leave Medicare alone" (50 percent) or "reduce the deficit" (50 percent).
Asked if changes sought by Clinton or the Republicans in Congress were "mainly right," majorities agreed with the president (51 percent) and Congress (56 percent.)Respondents gave Clinton an approval rate of 44 percent for the way he is handling the presidency.
Most respondents did not favor the introduction of casino-style gambling in Maryland (70 percent). This confirms for Anne Arundel County what other state surveys have said about Marylanders’ views on the issue.
Asked whether they agree or disagree with the jury’s verdict in the O.J. Simpson case, 74 percent disagreed; 26 percent agreed.