Idahoans favor greater state spending on their public colleges and universities, but they oppose a tax hike to provide that extra money, a new Idaho Politics Weekly survey shows.

Also, the poll, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates, finds that Idahoans are mixed over whether their public higher education institutions adequately prepare students to find work.

And by large margins Idahoans believe the cost of a public college education is currently too high.

It’s the old dilemma – “We believe a college education costs too much, tuition is too high, but we don’t want to raise our taxes to lower the cost of a four-year or two-year degree.”

Here are some numbers out of Jones’ latest survey:

  • 58 percent of Idahoans “strongly” or “somewhat” oppose raising taxes for public colleges and universities, 39 percent support it.
  • Two-thirds, or 66 percent, of Republicans oppose such a targeted tax hike, 33 percent would support it.
  • 52 percent of Democrats support a college tax hike, 35 percent oppose.
  • 59 percent of political independents oppose a tax hike for colleges, 36 percent support it.

Asked if they support or oppose greater state funding for public higher education, 69 percent said yes, only 24 percent said no.

  • Republicans support higher college funding, 68-24 percent; Democrats support more state funds, 85-12 percent; political independents support it 65-29 percent.

Just don’t raise taxes to do it, say all Idahoans, especially the Republicans and independents.

Still, something needs to be done because the cost of college is too great:

  • 59 percent of Idahoans believe the cost of a college education is too high, 33 percent said “it is about right,” while 1 percent say the cost of college is too low.
  • Among those 18-29 (who are facing those costs now, or paid for a college education recently), 58 percent say the cost of college is too great, 38 percent say it is about right, and 0 percent say it is too low.
  • For those 50-59 years old – whose children are facing those costs now – 69 percent said college costs too much, 28 percent said the cost is about right, and 0 percent said the cost is too low.

Finally, Jones measured whether Idahoans believe that a four-year bachelor’s degree and a two-year associate degree adequately prepare a person for the workplace.

Better news for Idaho colleges and universities on these questions:

  • 42 percent said a four-year degree from an Idaho university does an excellent job of preparing a person for the workplace.
  • A third were in the middle of that question – such a degree is only adequate.
  • While 16 percent said Idaho colleges does a “poor” job of preparing a student for the workplace.

Asked the same question of a two-year Associate degree: 39 percent said such a degree is excellent preparation for the work environment, 33 percent said it is only adequate, and 16 percent said it is “poor” preparation for getting a job.

Jones polled 508 adults from Aug. 20-31; with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.35 percent.