A slight majority of Alabamians oppose building new prisons, but an overwhelming majority support expanding rehabilitation and re-entry programs for people leaving prison, returning nonviolent offenders to the community, and spending more on education.
These are among the key findings of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama’s Public Opinion Survey: 2019 Edition, released today.
The survey, conducted in partnership with Samford University and led by Dr. Randolph Horn, again found high levels of agreement on critical issues facing the state.
Alabamians value education, rating it a top priority among major state services. State residents say education investment should be increased, as too little is now spent on education. While not agreeing on the source of revenue, a majority of residents are willing to pay more in taxes to increase funding for education.
There is some evidence that the current tax system is seen as regressive: majorities of residents say low-income residents pay too much, and those with higher incomes pay too little.
Consistently high percentages of Alabamians feel that they have no say in Montgomery or that state officials do not care what they think suggests that Alabamians do not believe state government is responsive to their concerns.
- 86% support expanded rehabilitation and re-entry programs for people in prison.
- 83% support moving people with nonviolent convictions back to the community.
- 58% oppose building new prisons to address overcrowding.
- 54% believe only violent offenders should go to prison.
- 74% believe the state spends too little on education.
- 69% support increasing taxes to support education, but no single option garners majority support.
- 45% say they pay the right amount of taxes.
- 45% say lower-income earners pay too much.
- 52% say upper-income earners pay too little.
Trust in Government
- 82% support keeping the General Fund and Education Trust Fund separate.
- 69% believe state government officials do not care about their opinions.
- 57% believe they have no say in state government.
The survey of 410 randomly selected Alabamians was conducted between January 28 and March 3,