Education tops the priority list, but the latest figure is an all-time low.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Less than a year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a state poll shows that only 1.1 percent of Ohioans list the threat of terrorism as the state's most important problem, placing it behind issues such as the environment, road conditions and drug and alcohol abuse.
Education, with 21 percent, remains at the top of the list of the most important problems facing the state in an Ohio Poll released Friday. Education has been the No. 1 choice in the poll, sponsored by the University of Cincinnati, since the question was first asked in 1996.
But it is not the priority it once was.
The percentage of those who see education as the state's top priority has decreased by 20 points in the past 15 months. The latest figure is the all-time low for education in the Ohio Poll.
The Ohio Poll questioned 828 Ohio adults by telephone June 17-30 about the state's most pressing problem and has a margin of error of 3.4 percent.
Concerns about the economy and unemployment were listed as the second most important problem in the poll, with 14.4 percent of the vote. The state's budget problems finished in third with 6 percent.
Other issues cited
Taxes were the fourth most important issuing facing the state with 5.8 percent, followed by crime with 4.3 percent, drug and alcohol abuse with 3.9 percent, road conditions with 3.4 percent, environmental problems with 3.1 percent, race relations with 2 percent, the cost of higher education with 2 percent, lack of morality with 2 percent, and health care problems with 1.8 percent.
Only poverty with 0.9 percent scored lower than terrorism, which received 1.1 percent of the vote.
Concerns about terrorist attacks were seen as the state's most pressing problem by 8.7 percent of those participating in the November 2001 poll, the first state poll taken after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that asked Ohio residents about the most important issue in the state. But during the next poll, in April, that figure plummeted to 0.4 percent.
Those with annual household incomes of $40,000 and more, and high school and college graduates list education as the state's most important problem in the poll. Those with annual household incomes below $40,000, and those who did not graduate from high school say the economy and unemployment are the most pressing issue.