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The Idaho Policy Survey is a continuing program in the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs at Boise State University. Its primary purpose is to examine public opinion on issues that are currently the subject of debate or that civic leaders have identified as potentially important on the state's agenda.

Polling has become commonplace in contemporary American life. When designed and administered properly, po.lls are an effective way to gauge beliefs, attitudes, and opinions on a range of prominent issues. Although the Idaho Policy Survey provides an overview of citizen concerns and preferences, it does not make policy recommendations. We recognize that surveys are only one way of gathering information about public opinion, and that public opinion is just one consideration that goes into policymaking.

This volume of the Idaho Policy Survey builds upon its predecessor by asking many of the same questions that were posed to last year's respondents. Our intent is to build a longitudinal data-base so that trends in public opinion can be traced over time. In addition to the questions that we repeat from year to year, each volume of the Idaho Policy Survey a particular year. Thus the reader is given information that allows over-time comparisons of enduring issues, as well as focused case studies of hot topics.

Volume 2 of the Idaho Policy Survey contains six sections. The first section examines citizens' opinions on the quality of life in Idaho and what problems now facing the state are seen as the most important.

The next section looks at the preferences of Idahoans toward the projected state budget surplus, and explores the degree of their support for state spending increases in thirteen broad service areas.

The third section focuses on attitudes toward the national, state, and local levels of government. It also depicts the perceived fairness of different types of taxes and the extent to which Idahoans back term limitations on state elected officials.

The fourth section moves on to consider such social issues as child abuse, homeless people, illiteracy , drug abuse, AIDS, tolerance of minority groups, and abortion.

The fifth section portrays the views of Idahoans toward crime and punishment. Confidence in the state's criminal just system, the amount of support for capital punishment, and the public's faith in rehabilitation programs for violent criminals are all assessed.

Finally, the last section examines the environmental concerns of Idahoans. It analyzes how residents of the Gem State weigh the trade-offs between environmental protection and economic growth, as well as how they feel about proposals to divert water from the Snake River Basin to California.

The report concludes with a methodological appendix that summarizes the procedures used to draw the sample and conduct the interviews.



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