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Boise State School of Public Service Survey Finds Optimism Among Idahoans Despite Divisions About the Pandemic



The Boise State School of Public Service conducted its Sixth Annual Idaho Public Policy Survey at the end of 2020, surveying 1,000 adults over the age of 18 who currently live in Idaho.

“Our hope is that this survey serves as a resource for leaders and decision makers throughout the state,” said report co-author Jeffrey Lyons, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science. “Having information on where Idahoans stand on a number of important policy matters can inform the choices we have before us.”

The survey’s key findings include:

  • More Idahoans believe the state is headed in the right direction than not.
  • Idahoans say education is at the top of the list of issues that the Idaho Legislature should address in the coming year.
  • A narrow majority of Idahoans would get a vaccine for COVID-19 if one were available today.
  • Idahoans are divided on how to use an expected budget surplus, with tax relief being the most popular option.
  • Idahoans are favorable toward a criminal justice system that focuses on rehabilitation and education of offenders.
  • A majority of people in the state have confidence in the security of Idaho’s elections.

Each year, the statewide survey includes a set of unique questions that focus on a current and pressing issue. The 2021 survey included questions about COVID-19. “With the continually changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to make sure to include Idahoans’ opinions regarding the pandemic to provide timely information that can aid decision makers in the state in their efforts to move Idaho through the recovery process,” said Vanessa Crossgrove Fry, interim director of Idaho Public Policy Institute and an assistant research professor in the School of Public Service.

The report concludes by noting that Idahoans are optimistic despite the profound challenges of 2020, the divisions regarding the pandemic and a pervasive belief that life will not return to normal in the next six months.

Read the full report:

Media contact:  Vanessa Crossgrove Fry,, (208) 426-2848; Jeffrey Lyons,, (208) 426-1458


About Boise State University

A public metropolitan research university with more than 25,000 students, Boise State is proud to be powered by creativity and innovation. Located in Idaho’s capital city, the university has a growing research agenda and plays a crucial role in the region’s knowledge economy and famed quality of life. In the past 10 years, the university has quadrupled the number of doctoral degrees and doubled its master’s degree offerings. Learn more at

About the School of Public Service

Boise State University’s School of Public Service is dedicated to excellence in innovative teaching, cutting edge scholarship and meaningful community outreach, serving the State of Idaho, region, nation and global communities. The School is comprised of rich and diverse academic programs, as well as talented affiliated faculty from departments and programs across the university. The mission of the School also is supported by a variety of centers and institutes that facilitate research and public engagement.