Hoosier Opinion On Issues Facing The Indiana General Assembly

(UNDATED) – The Old National Bank/Ball State University 2018 Hoosier Survey measured public opinion regarding several issues facing the legislature in the current session.

These issues include school safety, medical marijuana, cigarette taxes, and sports betting. The 2017 Hoosier Survey measured Hoosier public opinion regarding hate crimes legislation.
A summary of survey results on these issues follows:
School Safety
In this year’s survey, Hoosiers were asked a set of questions related to school safety. The survey first asked them how worried they were about a shooting happening within their local school.
The result found a clear majority of Hoosiers, 56 percent, were at least “somewhat worried” about a shooting occurring in their local school. About 20 percent of respondents were “very worried,” with another 36 percent “somewhat worried.”
The survey asked Hoosiers their assessment of the effectiveness of five potential school safety measures: preventing people with mental illness from purchasing guns, improving mental health screening and treatment, banning assault-style weapons, having metal detectors in schools, and allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns in school.
Clear majorities of Hoosiers expressed their opinion that the mental health-related measures would be “very effective.” Nearly two-thirds of Hoosiers (64 percent) said that preventing people with mental illness from purchasing guns would be “very effective;” well over half (58 percent) rated improving mental health screening as “very effective.” Metal detectors were the third most highly rated measures with a near majority (47 percent) rating them as “very effective.” Assault weapon bans (36 percent) and arming teachers and school officials (30 percent) received the lowest effectiveness ratings.
Party polarization of opinion was most apparent for the two lowest rated options. Republicans were much more likely to view arming teachers and school officials as “very effective” than Democrats. Democrats rated the effectiveness of an assault weapons ban more highly than Republicans.
Medical Marijuana
The survey asked Hoosiers two questions related to the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. We first asked under what conditions the use of marijuana by adults should be legal. Only 16 percent of Hoosiers thought marijuana use should not be legal; 42 percent thought it should be legal only for medical use and 39 percent thought it should be legal for personal use.
Next, the survey asked Hoosiers to consider: if marijuana use is not legalized, then should people convicted of possessing small amounts to serve jail time? Only 16 percent of Hoosiers thought that jail time should be served in these cases.
Cigarette Taxes and Smoking Age
Hoosiers were asked about their views on two policies related to cigarettes and smoking – whether they would favor or oppose a significant increase in the cigarette tax if the proceeds were devoted to tobacco prevention programs for kids and for programs to improve health and well-being. They were also asked whether they favored or opposed an increase in the smoking age from 18 to 21 years of age. Large majorities of Hoosiers support both policies. The increase in the cigarette tax is favored by 72 percent of Hoosiers, compared to 25 percent opposed. The increase in the smoking age is favored by a margin of 61 percent to 34 percent. When officials examined support for the tax increase across partisan and demographic categories they found large supporting majorities in every category. For the increase in the smoking age, the only significant opposition was among Hoosiers age 18 to 34, who oppose the increase by a margin of 52 percent to 46 percent.
Sports Betting
Hoosiers were asked whether they favored or opposed sports betting in Indiana as a revenue source. A bare majority of 50 percent were opposed to sports betting, compared to 37 percent who favored it. Officials examined support across demographic and geographic categories and found the greatest support among high-income Hoosiers, those under age 55, those in urban communities, and those in Northern and Central Indiana. No group, however, exhibited majority support.
Hate Crimes Legislation
In the 2017 survey, a solid majority of Hoosiers (65 percent) favored passage of hate crime laws for the state of Indiana. Only 29 percent opposed passage. While Democrats were more supportive, with 79 percent favoring passage, a majority of Republicans (54 percent) also supported enacting hate crime laws.
For more information:
A complete report of results can be downloaded from the website of the Bowen Center for Public Affairs by clicking here.