Iowa Poll: Health care, education are cited as top issues for the next governor to address


HR King
May 29, 2001
Iowans say health care and education are the most important issues for the next governor to address, a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll found.

When asked to identify one or two top issues, 51 percent of Iowans say health care, including Medicaid and mental health, is most important. Forty-seven percent cite education, including quality and funding for K-12 programs and the state's public universities.

Economic issues, such as budget management, taxes and jobs, rank third, at 27 percent, and immigration policies are fourth, at 19 percent. Fifteen percent of respondents cite environmental issues, such as water quality and flood protection, while 11 percent cite abortion policies. Two percent aren't sure, and 1 percent choose none of the six issues offered. The answers exceed 100 percent because multiple responses were accepted.

Health care has been a big issue for Iowans because of controversy over the state's privatization of Medicaid for low-income and disabled people, efforts to improve the state's mental health system and legislation to approve the sale of non-Obamacare health coverage in the state.

The future of education has also been a hot topic at the Iowa Capitol. Democrats say a lack of state funding is shortchanging K-12 public schools and hurting Iowa's public universities. Republicans say education funding is at an all-time high and that efforts are underway to increase the percentage of Iowans who attend college or receive vocational training after high school.

What poll respondents say
Wayne Jones of Albia, 59, a Republican who's a disabled maintenance worker, is concerned that health care is "so much more expensive" than it used to be.

"As soon as they did Obamacare, my insurance went up — my costs tripled," he said. He's also concerned about Iowa's privatized management of Medicaid, suggesting state government could do a better job of supervising the program.

More: Iowa Poll: Share of Iowans who want to continue Medicaid privatization drops to 28 percent

Chris Riley of Des Moines, 58, a Democrat who works as a construction project manager, is worried that Iowa's education system is slipping.

"I think we've cut too much money," Riley said. "When I was growing up, if you even mentioned cutting the education budget, you couldn't get re-elected. You know, we were No. 1 in education, and we still should be."

Democrats cite health care (68 percent) and education (62 percent) as their top issues, and independents cite the same two, but at lower levels of agreement: health care, 52 percent, and education, 48 percent.

Republicans, however, differ in one area they see as most important: economic issues, such as budget management, taxes and jobs, at 41 percent. That's followed by health care, at 36 percent.

More: Iowa Poll: Democrat Fred Hubbell narrowly leads Republican Kim Reynolds in governor's race

Patricia Weltzin, 53, of Lake Park, in northwest Iowa, describes health care and economic issues as her top concerns. She said she had a brain aneurysm on Halloween in 2000 and ended up owing $350,000, which forced her to file for bankruptcy.

"It was awful. I survived it. But they should have given me a medal or something," said Weltzin, a political independent who has worked as a cook, factory worker and telecommunications employee. "Doctors go to school for a long time, and they have all these loans to make up. But I think there should be more Medicaid that covers everything for disabled people and things like that."

Poll respondent Sam Zoske of Marshalltown, 39, a Republican who owns a business in the pharmacy industry, said the health care system is broken. "Just generally speaking, it needs an overhaul," he said.

Zoske also feels strongly about abortion. "I am definitely pro-life. I believe life begins at conception. For me, it is non-negotiable," he said.

Miriam Kashia of North Liberty, 75, a Democrat who's a retired psychotherapist, said her top issue is the climate. Four years ago, she was among a group of climate activists who participated in the transcontinental, 3,000-mile Great March for Climate Action. The group walked from California to Washington, D.C., holding rallies and meetings at communities along the way.

Kashia blames climate change for flooding, hurricanes and wildfires. "Those who are in denial are not paying attention to science," she said. "This isn't just about our children and grandchildren. It is happening now. People are suffering all over."

The Iowa Poll was conducted Sept. 17-20 by Selzer and Co. It surveyed 801 Iowa adults, including 555 likely voters in the 2018 general election. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

About the poll
The Iowa Poll, conducted September 17-20 for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, is based on telephone interviews with 801 Iowans ages 18 or older, including 555 likely voters in the 2018 general election for governor and other offices. Interviewers with Quantel Research contacted households with randomly selected landline and cell phone numbers supplied by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were administered in English. Responses were adjusted by age, sex and congressional district to reflect the general population based on recent census data.

Questions based on the sample of 801 Iowa adults have a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. This means that if this survey were repeated using the same questions and the same methodology, 19 times out of 20, the findings would not vary from the true population value by more than plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Results based on smaller samples of respondents — such as by gender or age — have a larger margin of error. Questions based on likely voters in the 2018 general election have a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

Republishing the copyright Iowa Poll without credit to The Des Moines Register and Mediacom is prohibited.
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HR Legend
Oct 31, 2005
And... more bad news for Reynolds, it is now being reported the sexual harassment claims against her good friend, Jamison, are more widespread than originally reported. And apparently the victim was intimidated by Reynold's associates to not report the complaints.

This is getting worse for the current Governor. Those top two concerns by Iowa voters are her primary weaknesses. The economy in Iowa is pretty good, outside of agriculture, but it's only the third biggest concern.

I suspect the next poll will see Hubbell up by 3-5%.
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