Fifty-Nine (59) percent of Alaskans who participated in a
privately-funded survey said they would support their legislator in an
override vote of the recent veto of the legislature’s budget for the
University of Alaska. Just 16 percent say they would ask their legislator
not to override the veto while the remainder were undecided.
The survey of 600 registered Alaskan voters was conducted last week, and
asked participants about the governor’s veto to the legislature’s budget
for the university. Here are the key findings:
• When asked if they opposed or favored the governor’s line item veto of
$130 million from the legislature’s budget for the University of Alaska, 61
percent opposed it and 24 percent supported it, with the rest undecided;
• When asked which side of the budget discussion they agreed with, 49
percent said the Legislature’s side and 25 percent said the governor’s,
while the rest couldn’t say; and,
• 59 percent said they would tell their legislator to override the line
item veto to the legislature’s budget for the university.
The research also found that the University of Alaska’s public support and
credibility has increased over the last several months.
A benchmark survey in March showed the University of Alaska earned high
marks for its importance to the state and to the future of Alaska. The
March survey found that on a 1-to-10 scale with 10 being the highest score
possible, UA earned a 6.6, which was the best of the five institutions
tested. By July, the approval rating had grown to nearly 7, which is
exceptionally high. Similarly, the Alaska State Legislature score rose from
a 4.4 to 5.0. The July survey was done to determine how Alaskans feel about
the veto of the legislature’s budget, and by a margin of almost 4-1,
Alaskans said they would tell their legislator to vote to override the
governor’s veto of the legislature’s budget for the university; 72 percent
of Alaskans said the cut would be detrimental to the university.
This survey echoes previous surveys about public support for the
university. In April 2018, the McDowell Group found that 89 percent of
Alaskans believe UA is important or very important to the state’s future;
and, of seven institutions tested, including state government, Alaskans
ranked the university first in their confidence to lead our state.
Of those surveyed last week, 28 percent were registered Republicans, 17
percent were registered Democrats, 31 percent were non-partisan, 14 percent
were undeclared, 1 percent were registered Libertarian, 4 percent Alaska
Independent Party, and 7 percent Green Party/all others.
The July survey was conducted by The Cromer Group, a research firm based in
Washington, D.C., that has been doing work in Alaska since 1982.