Exclusive: Poll shows where Alabamians land on most issues

(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Updated: Apr. 11, 2018 at 6:20 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - An exclusive poll conducted by NBC News has been released, showing what Alabamians - and Southerners in general - think about a variety of political and social issues.

The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Alabama State Poll was conducted online for two weeks, from March 12 to March 25. A sample of 1,498 adults were surveyed.

The results follow below:

President Donald Trump approval/disapproval 
Alabama survey results show that 31 percent of residents strongly approve of the way President Donald Trump is handling his job as president, while 24 percent somewhat approve. Eight percent somewhat disapprove of his performance, 32 percent strongly disapprove and four percent didn't answer.

Most important issues
Out of the seven listed issues, five percent of Alabama residents selected foreign policy, four percent chose the environment, eight percent chose terrorism, 10 percent selected immigration, 20 percent favored health care, 27 percent chose jobs and the economy, and 13 percent chose education. Eleven percent selected an issue that wasn't listed, and three percent had no answer.

U.S. Congress elections
If the November 2018 elections for U.S. Congress were being held today, 32 percent of Alabama residents said they'd vote for the Democratic Party candidate and 50 percent would vote for the Republican Party candidate. Thirteen percent said they would not vote and five percent had no answer.

Top priority for Alabama state government 
Alabama residents think jobs and the economy should be the top priority of the state government, with 34 percent selecting it. Education came in second with 28 percent in favor, and 15 percent chose healthcare. Ten percent chose infrastructure, four percent had immigration, and six percent chose an issue that wasn't listed. Two percent didn't answer.

Gov. Kay Ivey approval/disapproval
Out of the Alabama residents polled, 25 percent said they strongly approve of the way Gov. Kay Ivey is handling her job as Alabama's governor, and 50 percent said they somewhat approve. Five percent strongly disapprove of her performance and 14 percent somewhat disapprove. Six percent didn't answer.

Alabama State Legislature approval/disapproval
Five percent said they strongly approve of the state legislature's performance, while 48 percent somewhat approve. On the other hand, 26 percent somewhat disapprove and 15 percent strongly disapprove. Six percent didn't answer.

Senator Richard Shelby approval/disapproval
When asked whether they approve of how Senator Shelby is handling his job, 12 percent said they strongly approve and 41 percent somewhat approve. However, 16 percent strongly disapprove and 24 percent somewhat disapprove. Seven percent didn't answer.

Senator Doug Jones approval/disapproval
Evaluating Alabama's newest senator's performance, 18 percent said they strongly approve of how he is handling his job; 34 percent somewhat approve of his performance, while 24 percent somewhat disapprove and 16 percent strongly disapprove. Seven percent didn't answer.

Alabama's economy 
Seven percent rated the condition of Alabama's economy as very good, and 54 percent said it was fairly good; 25 percent said it is fairly bad, while ten percent said it was very bad. Three percent didn't answer.

Trust in federal government
Three percent trust the federal government to just about always do what is right, while 9 percent voted most of the time and 24 percent said about half of the time. This compares to the 29 percent who said the federal government only does what is right some of the time and 30 percent said it almost never does the right thing. Four percent didn't answer.

Trust in state government
Four percent trust the state government to just about always do what is right, and 15 percent said it'd do what is right most of the time; 28 percent voted about half the time, 29 percent voted some of the time, and 20 percent voted almost never. Four percent didn't answer.

Alabama infrastructure maintenance 
When asked how good of a job Alabama's state government is doing at maintaining roads, bridges and other infrastructure, six percent said very good, 41 percent said somewhat good, 32 percent said somewhat poor and 18 percent said very poor. Three percent didn't answer. When asked how willing they would be to pay higher taxes to improve infrastructure, 15 percent said very willing, 38 percent said somewhat willing, 31 percent said not too willing, and 14 percent said not at all willing. Two percent didn't answer.

Alabama public schools
When asked how willing they would be to pay higher taxes to improve public schools in Alabama, 21 percent said very willing, 36 percent said somewhat willing, 22 percent said not too willing, and 18 percent said not at all willing. Three percent didn't answer.

Undocumented immigrants
The majority of Alabama residents (60 percent) believe undocumented immigrants should be offered a chance to apply for legal status, while 36 percent believe they should be deported to the country they came from. Four percent didn't answer.

Same-sex marriage
Residents are split on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, with 22 percent strongly supporting it and 20 percent somewhat supporting it. Fourteen percent somewhat oppose, while 38 percent strongly oppose. Six percent didn't answer.

Race relations
Assessing race relations, 20 percent said they are getting better, 30 percent said they are getting worse, and 48 percent said they are staying about the same. Three percent didn't answer.

Confederate monuments/statues
Fifteen percent strongly support removing Confederate monuments and statues from public spaces. Fourteen percent somewhat support removal, while 16 percent somewhat oppose and 49 percent strongly oppose. Five percent didn't answer.

The error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Similar surveys were conducted across the South and the nation. On Trump approval, 48 percent approve of Trump and 51 percent disapprove across the regional South, while 43 percent of all Americans approve of how he is handling his job (55 percent disapprove).

According to the survey, only 24 percent of Americans and 27 percent of Southerners approve of the way Congress is handling its job. Regionally, 42 percent of Southerners would vote for the Republican candidate in the midterm elections, and 40 percent would vote for the Democrat. Nationally, 44 percent would vote for the Democrat and 38 percent would vote for the Republican.

Southerners are more optimistic about the national economy, with 66 percent approving of it, than overall Americans, 63 percent of whom voted they approve of it.

The poll was a project in collaboration with the Penn Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies (PORES) at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Mississippi, Vanderbilt University and Mississippi Today. Overall, more than 15,000 people were polled.

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