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Idaho Public Policy Survey shows increased concern about direction of state, economy

Idahoans continue to grow more pessimistic about the direction of the state and the economy, in general. That’s according to the annual Idaho Public Policy Survey, released in January, 2023 by researchers with Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute.

The gap between the number of Idahoans who believe the state is heading in the right direction (44%) versus those who believe it is on the wrong track (41%) fell within the margin of error for the first time in this survey’s eight-year history. This pessimism extends to the economy, as most Idahoans expect the state’s economic condition to either worsen (37%) over the next two years or stay the same (36%). Additionally, 43% of Idahoans worry about paying their bills “always” or “frequently.”

The survey was conducted Nov. 10-17, 2022, and surveyed 1,000 adults who currently live in Idaho. The sample is representative of the state’s population, both geographically and demographically, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. The survey covered a wide variety of topics, including the economy, state budgeting, taxes, education, growth, housing, the environment and crime.

“Whether it’s due to economic expectations or the state’s overall direction, the results of this year’s statewide survey show Idahoans are increasingly concerned about the future,” said Matthew May, report co-author and survey research director for the School of Public Service. “Recognizing this rising concern and how Idahoans’ opinions on some issues have changed over time is useful as Idaho’s leaders and decision-makers evaluate policy options.”

This year’s survey shows Idahoans’ top legislative priority remains education, followed by jobs and the economy. Housing took the third spot for the first time, overtaking healthcare. Property tax is a major concern of Idahoans compared to previous years, jumping income tax as the top priority for tax relief over the past two years. A majority of Idahoans (56%) feel that property taxes are too high.

A full copy of the report can be found on the School of Public Service website.