Poll: Georgians would spend for education, not stadiums

Most Georgians would be willing to pay higher taxes to improve education, but don't want to spend public money on a new stadium for a pro sports team.

The Peach State generally opposes President Obama's health-care law -- although most blacks and Hispanics support "Obamacare" and most whites oppose it.

And nearly 60 percent of Georgians disagree with the state's decision not to expand Medicaid under the health care law.

Those are some of the findings of a State of the State poll of 500 Georgians conducted for Georgia College's Department of Government and Sociology.

According to the college, the poll was conducted Feb. 5-18 by the SSI polling company. Its margin of error is 4.4 points.

Some of the findings:

  • Most Georgians, 51 percent, said the state was heading in the right direction. They ranked jobs, education and health care as the most important issues. But Hispanics and blacks also said racism and immigration were important issues to them.
  • Gov. Nathan Deal was the most trusted Republican; former Gov. Roy Barnes the most trusted Democrat.
  • Georgians were split over which branch of government they trusted most: Blacks and Hispanics, liberals and moderates put their faith in the federal government; whites and conservatives trusted their county government the most.
  • Nearly one out of three people, 31 percent, said their families had been affected by state budget cuts. Women were more likely to be affected than men.
  • Most Georgians, 53 percent, said they would pay higher taxes to improve public schools. Blacks and Hispanics overwhelmingly said yes. But among whites, 46 percent said no, 53 percent said no.
  • Just 19 percent of the people polled said public funds should be used to fund a new stadium for a professional sports team like the Braves or Falcons. 76 percent were opposed.
  • About 45 percent of Georgians approved of the federal Affordable Care Act, with 51 percent opposed. Women were evenly divided, but men generally opposed it. Just 27 percent of whites favored it, but 86 percent of blacks and 57 percent of Hispanics supported the law.
  • The poll said 30.2 percent of Georgians strongly agreed, or agreed somewhat, with state Republican leaders' decision not to expand Medicaid under the new health care law.

Medicaid is the program that funds health-insurance for low-income people.

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, states have the option of expanding Medicaid coverage. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost for the first two years and 90 percent after that.
The poll says 65 percent of women, 52 percent of men, 51 percent of whites and 83 percent of blacks supported expanding Medicaid in Georgia.


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