DAY OF CARING – Kelsi Kubik, left, and Denise Gossman of GCI take a break from volunteer work to look at the bears feeding on salmon at the Fortress of the Bear Monday during the United Way Day of Caring. Volunteer groups from Sitka businesses did volunteer work at non-profits, including the Fortress of the Bear, Sitka Fine Arts Camp and the SAFV shelter during the annual event. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Polls Show Public Supports University

    ANCHORAGE – Fifty-Nine percent of Alaskans who participated in a privately-funded survey said they would support their legislator in a vote to override the governor’s veto of the legislature’s budget for the University of Alaska, the university announced in a news release Monday.
    Just 16 percent of the responders said they would ask their legislator not to override the veto, while the remainder were undecided.
    The survey of 600 registered Alaska voters was conducted last week by the Cromer Group, a Washington, D.C.,-based research firm.
    The key findings:
    • When asked if they opposed or favored the governor’s line item veto of $130 million from the legislature’s budget for the University of Alaska, 61 percent opposed it and 24 percent supported it, with the rest undecided.
    • When asked which side of the budget discussion they agreed with, 49 percent said the Legislature’s side and 25 percent said the governor’s, while the rest couldn’t say.
    The research also found that the University of Alaska’s public support and credibility have increased over the last several months.
    A benchmark survey in March showed the university earned high marks for its importance to the state and to the future of Alaska. The March survey found that on a 1-to-10 scale with 10 being the highest score possible, UA earned a 6.6, which was the best of the five institutions tested. By July, the approval rating had grown to nearly 7, which is exceptionally high, the polling firm said.
    Similarly, the Alaska State Legislature score rose from a 4.4 to 5.0. The July survey was done to determine how Alaskans feel about the veto of the legislature’s budget, and by a margin of almost 4-1, Alaskans said they would tell their legislators to vote to override the governor’s veto of the Legislature’s budget for the university; 72 percent of Alaskans said the cut would be detrimental to the university.
    In the press release, the university said the results echo other recent surveys. In April 2018, the McDowell Group found that 89 percent of Alaskans believe UA is important or very important to the state’s future, and of seven institutions tested, including state government, Alaskans ranked the university first in their confidence to lead our state.
    Of those surveyed last week, 28 percent were registered Republicans, 17 percent were registered Democrats, 31 percent were non-partisan, 14 percent were undeclared, 1 percent were registered Libertarian, 4 percent Alaska Independent Party, and 7 percent Green Party/all others.
    The Cromer Group, which conducted the July survey, has been doing work in Alaska since 1982, the university said.

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