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January 2024

Projects

Project Spotlight: Ninth Annual Public Policy Survey

Matthew May, Lantz McGinnis-Brown, Vanessa Fry, Elijah Kuisachor

May presents survey

In January, IPI publicly released the results of its Ninth Annual Idaho Public Policy Survey. Conducted each year, the Idaho Public Policy Survey interviews a representative sample of 1,007 adults who currently live in Idaho, asking about a wide variety of public policy issues including the economy, taxes, elections, education, growth, housing, and public safety. Key findings of this year’s survey include:

  • Education, jobs, and the economy, and housing remain Idahoans’ top 3 legislative priorities.
  • For the first time in the survey’s history, more Idahoans (43%) feel the state is off on the wrong track.
  • Idahoans remain reserved about the economic outlook of the state– split between things staging the same (38%) and getting worse (36%).
  • Idahoans continue to be concerned with a range of housing issues and how they affect their own financial situations.
  • Newcomers to Idaho within the last 10 years are more likely to identify as Republicans (+11 points) and less likely to identify as independents (-10 points).
  • A majority of Idahoans favor expanding exceptions to Idaho’s abortion law, though they disagree on what those exceptions should be.
  • Idahoans trust public libraries and librarians (69%) to choose the books that are made available in them.
  • Idahoans favor a primary election (74%) over a caucus (13%) and for U.S. presidential and Idaho state primaries to be held on the same day (74%).
  • Idahoans generally favor a top-four primary system but oppose a ranked-choice voting system– only 29% said they would favor both.

The survey was conducted in November 2023 and results have a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. For more information, you can read IPI’s full report here

Project Spotlight: SHIBA Program Effectiveness Study

Ben Larsen, Cheongsin Kim, Emily Pape

SHIBA medicare information booth

Each state and four territories operate State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) to provide free Medicare counseling to eligible beneficiaries, as well as a variety of other services that vary by state. Idaho’s SHIP is the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) Program. The Idaho Department of Insurance (DOI) partnered with Idaho Policy Institute (IPI) to conduct a study on the effectiveness of the SHIBA program. This report analyzes four aspects of Idaho’s SHIBA program: program operations, certified Medicare counselor and volunteer management, marketing and outreach, and community partnerships. Data was collected through a variety of methods including surveys with Medicare counselors and past SHIBA beneficiaries and interviews with SHIP staff in other states, Idaho SHIBA staff, and community partner organizations. Key takeaways from the research include:

  • SHIPs are supported by dedicated staff and volunteers who are integral to the success of the program. Providing a greater variety of volunteer opportunities could help Idaho’s SHIBA program increase the accessibility of volunteering for more folks.
  • Word-of-mouth outreach and referrals from other organizations are the primary way both beneficiaries and volunteers find out about SHIBA. Both are necessary to increase brand recognition and rebuild previous community partnerships.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant declines in certified Medicare counselors, volunteers, and community partners for Idaho’s SHIBA program and most states interviewed for this report.
  • Increasing the annual number of BCFs relies on recruiting more certified Medicare counselors and building more formal community partnerships.
  • It would be beneficial to continue providing both in-person and phone counseling options that are currently available, while developing a plan to expand virtual counseling options to meet the demand of new retirees and increase resources in languages other than English.

Student Involvement

Idaho Office of Emergency Management Project

During the Fall semester, McAllister Hall and Patty Chelini began working on a project for the Idaho Office of Emergency Management (IOEM). This semester, Kristi Spalding joined the project to help complete it. This project required team members to research how to increase sheltering capacity for counties and tribes across the state in the event of an emergency. IPI did this by communicating with emergency managers and doing research on examples from other states as well as recommendations from The American Red Cross. The report includes a Tableau dashboard demonstrating the current sheltering capacity across the state and an analysis of the dashboard.

Spring 2024 Interns

This spring IPI is working with two interns. Patty Chelini is continuing her work with IPI and will be working with Kristi Spalding. Kristi is a social work major who is interested in social work on the macro level. Her specific research interests include policy evaluation, legislative process, state and local government, social systems evaluation, and social work.

Chelini Headshot
Patty Chelini continues her work with IPI
Spalding Headshot
Kristi Spalding joins IPI for the Spring semester

Month in Review

First IPI Survey Salon

May presents survey results

On January 24, 2024, IPI hosted the first of three salon-style events to share the results of the 9th annual Statewide Public Policy Survey. The event was hosted at Holland & Hart and attendees included members of the legislature, lobbyists, state agency heads, and others. This salon was made possible by a generous gift intended to better engage local decision-makers with the results of the survey

12 presentations on Statewide Survey

As part of its rollout of the Ninth Annual Idaho Public Policy Survey results, IPI researchers Dr. Matthew May and Lantz McGinnis-Brown conducted 12 separate presentations in January to audiences that ranged from legislative leaders, statewide elected officials, House and Senate committees, School of Public Service faculty, community leaders, press, and members of the public. May and McGinnis-Brown also completed multiple media interviews as part of this process, including an appearance on Idaho Public Television’s Idaho Reports program.

Other IPI Announcements

Group photo from Lantz Defense

On January 22, 2024, IPI Research Associate Lantz-McGinnis Brown successfully defended his dissertation, titled “Narratives on Homelessness Investigating the Connections Between Organizational Language and Learning”. Congratulations to Dr. McGinnis-Brown on this wonderful achievement!

Photo from Madela Washington retreat


Idaho Policy Institute Director Vanessa Fry joined School of Public Service colleagues at the 2024 Mandela Washington Fellows Institute Planning Retreat in Washington, DC. The Fellow will be visiting Boise State for the program over the summer. While in Washington, Fry, along with SPS faculty Heidi Reeder, Nisha Bellinger, and Ashley Nichols, met with Political Science students and Idaho Congressional Delegation.

  • Director

    Associate Research Faculty

    Vanessa Fry, Ph.D.

    Vanessa Fry, Ph.D.

  • Research Scholars

    Cheong Kim, Ph.D.
    Benjamin Larsen, Ph.D.
    Matthew May, Ph.D.

    Cheong Kim, Ph.D.
    Benjamin Larsen, Ph.D.
    Matthew May, Ph.D.

  • Research Associates

    McAllister Hall, MA
    Lantz McGinnis-Brown, MPA
    Emily Pape, MPP

    McAllister Hall, MA
    Lantz McGinnis-Brown, MPA
    Emily Pape, MPP

  • Management Assistant

    Valerie Hayes

    Valerie Hayes

  • Research Administrator

    Britney Whiting-Looze

    Britney Whiting-Looze

  • Graduate Research Assistant

    Elijah Kuisachor

    Elijah Kuisachor

  • Interns

    Patty Chelini
    Kristi Spalding

    Patty Chelini
    Kristi Spalding

  • Work-Study

    Eliza Chaffin

    Eliza Chaffin