Oh, partisan politics, how it doth color our views.
Whether Idahoans believe the United States and Idaho are going in the right or wrong directions basically swings on who is in charge of the governments, and whether you stand behind them politically or not.
A new statewide public opinion poll shows that overall most Idahoans (being Republicans and/or political conservatives) believe the United States is going in the wrong direction, while Idahoans (being Republicans and/or political conservatives) are split over whether the state itself is going in the right direction, Republicans on one side, Democrats and independents on the other.
The survey was conducted for Idaho Politics Weekly, a new weekly political/business newsletter in the state being sponsored by Zions Bank.
Here are the numbers found in the new Dan Jones & Associates survey:
-- Only 20 percent of Idahoans believe the United States is going in the right direction; 71 percent said our nation is going in the wrong direction and 9 percent didn’t know.
-- 43 percent of Idahoans say the state is going in the right direction, while 44 percent say it is off track and going in the wrong direction. Thirteen percent didn’t know – a rather high number of undecided on such a simple public opinion question.
When you break out the questions by partisanship, the differences are clearer.
Jones finds that:
-- 84 percent of Republicans say the United States is going in the wrong direction. Only 9 percent think the nation is going in the right direction under the leadership of Democratic President Barack Obama and (when the poll was taken) a GOP-controlled U.S. House and a Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate.
-- 52 percent of Idaho Democrats believe the U.S is going in the right direction, 39 percent say the wrong direction.
-- Two-thirds of political independents say the U.S. is going in the wrong direction, only 24 percent say going in the right direction.
Asked about Idaho itself:
-- 65 percent of Republicans say it is going in the right direction under the leadership of GOP Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and a Republican-controlled Legislature.
-- 22 percent of state Republicans believe the state is going in the wrong direction.
-- Only 20 percent of Democrats believe Idaho is going in the right direction; 78 percent say it is going the wrong way.
-- 55 percent of Idahoans say the state is headed in the right direction; 31 percent say no, it’s going the wrong way.
Questions like which way is a government/state/nation going, says Jones, shows the general optimism and pessimism of the people and how they feel about their political leadership.
The responses to such questions, especially around election time, indicates whether incumbents have an easier route to re-election, or if they have to do some real work to get citizens’ votes.
The 2015 Idaho Legislature started last week. And with a 43 percent right/44 percent wrong direction feeling among voters, it shows that Otter and the Republican-controlled Legislature has their work cut out for them this spring as they adopt a new state budget and otherwise deal with any number of important state issues.