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OHIO POLL Education tops list of concerns



Published: Sat, August 18, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The past 15 state polls put education at the top of the list of problems.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Ohioans say education is the most important problem facing the state, according to a poll.

Of those questioned by the Ohio Poll, sponsored by the University of Cincinnati, 31 percent said education is the state's most serious problem. Eighteen percent of those polled specifically pointed to education funding issues. The Ohio Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of proposed changes to how the state funds its school systems.

Education has been the most common response to the question of the "most important problem facing the state of Ohio today" in each of the past 15 Ohio Polls that included that question dating back to the fall of 1996.

But the 31-percent level for education in this poll is a drop from 41 percent in the agency's last poll in April.

The Ohio Poll questioned 836 Ohio adults July 2-18 by telephone. The margin of error is 3.4 percent.

Other concerns named: Running a distant second to education is the economy/unemployment at 12 percent.

Crime was mentioned by 5 percent of those polled as the state's most important problem followed by road conditions at 4 percent. Drug and alcohol abuse, health-care problems, taxes and environmental problems/pollution followed, each with 4 percent. Race relations were mentioned by 2 percent of those polled.

Twelve percent of those polled did not list an important problem.

Locally: In northeast Ohio, road conditions, with 7 percent, were seen as a bigger problem than crime at 4 percent.

Better-educated and wealthier people taking the poll listed education as the state's biggest problem. Forty-nine percent of college graduates listed education as the biggest problem, compared with 10 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.

Also, 44 percent of those earning at least $60,000 annually mentioned education, compared with 20 percent of those earning under $20,000.

skolnick@vindy.com




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