DURHAM, N.H. -- New Hampshire is becoming increasingly concerned over the state budget. However, residents are split on the causes of the budget shortfall, as well as the best way to balance the budget.
These findings are based on the latest WMUR Granite State Poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Five hundred four (504) randomly selected New Hampshire adults were interviewed by telephone between April 15 and April 26, 2011. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.4 percent.
As the economy recovers, New Hampshire residents remained concerned about the state’s economy and unemployment, but at a lower level than in recent months. A lack of jobs and a weak economy is still seen as the most important problem (31 percent), but concerns about the state budget have increased to 23 percent from 18 percent in February.
A significant change is that 7 percent say the newly elected Republican legislature is the most important problem facing the state. Other concerns are high taxes (5 percent), education funding (4 percent), and the quality of education (4 percent). Thirteen percent of Democrats and 4 percent of Independents said the GOP-controlled legislature is the most important problem facing the state.
New Hampshire residents are significantly more informed about the budget problems facing the state: 39 percent say they have heard a lot about the state budget, 48 percent have heard a little, 11 percent have heard nothing at all, and 2 percent don’t know. In April 2008, only 17 percent of state residents said they had heard a lot about problems with the state budget. Awareness of the state’s budget problems is bi-partisan.
The budget problem facing the state is seen as very serious by 43 percent of New Hampshire adults, somewhat serious by 45 percent, and not very serious or not serious at all by 4 percent. Eight percent are unsure. Republicans, Manchester-area residents, and readers of the Union Leader are most likely to think the budget problems are very serious.
The New Hampshire is split as to the main cause of the state’s budget problems: 40 percent believe it is because of too much spending, 39 percent believe it is due to a lack of revenue, 17 percent believe it is a mix of both, and 3 percent are unsure. Republicans are most likely to believe it is due to too much spending (62 percent) while Democrats are most likely to blame a lack of revenues (59 percent).
For complete tabular results, visit http://www.unh.edu/survey-center/news/pdf/gsp2011_spring_budget050211.pdf.
The UNH Survey Center has conducted survey research projects at the University of New Hampshire since 1976. The center has grown rapidly during the past 30 years and now conducts approximately 40 to 50 major survey projects each year. More information: http://www.unh.edu/survey-center/.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.
Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center.