By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Results from the Alabama Political Reporter‘s first Influentials Poll are in, and some of the state’s most prominent political minds believe the state needs to chart a course for growth that doesn’t neatly fit into either party’s public persona.
APR asked its exclusive list of lawmakers, public officials, consultants, association leaders, media analysts and lobbyists to rank the most important issues facing the state as it moves into 2018.
With over 50 percent of the list responding, infrastructure, encouraging new industry and workforce development came in first, second and third, respectively.
Perhaps, unsurprisingly, the lowest ranking priorities by a wide margin are building new prisons and school choice/charter schools.
Rounding out the middle were budget reform and increasing taxes with strengthen/clarify ethics reform in the lower third.
“How should these topics rank in priority?”
Encouraging New Industry
Strengthen/Clarify Ethics Reform
School Choice/Charter Schools
Build New Prisons
APR also asked its influentials to compare the 2018 election cycle to the previous one. Those polled graded the intensity of the coming primaries.
“From a challenge or finance perspective — how intense do you believe the primaries will be?” (1 being not intense; 10 being extremely intense)
The influentials split the intensity level right down the middle scoring it at an average of 5.2
Legislative leadership is hoping to wrap-up the 2018 Session before Spring Break – March 26.
“Do you believe the Alabama Legislature will adjourn sine die for the 2018 regular session before Spring Break (March 26)?”
Participants, here again, were divided, but those who believe the Session will not end before the end of March was a substantial majority.
Yes, probably: 41.38 percent
No, unlikely: 44.83 percent
No way! 13.79 percent
Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed believe Alabama’s healthcare system is at risk from under-funding and even collapse given the uncertainty surrounding CHIPS, Medicaid and Obamacare.
“Do you believe the healthcare system in Alabama is at risk with uncertainty related to CHIPS, Medicaid, and Obamacare repeal/changes?”
Yes: 79.31 percent
No: 20.69 percent
Survey respondents’ votes were cast anonymously with only their field of expertise being revealed. The poll was sent to lawmakers in a proportionate representation of Republicans and Democrats. Legislators made up over 20 percent of those who answered the survey with political consultants being the largest class at close to 38 percent, with lobbyist/association representatives, other elected officials and media personnel around 40 percent.
“What best classifies you and your role?”
Political consultant: 37.93 percent
Lobbyist/associations: 27.59 percent
Legislator: 20.69 percent
Media: 10.34 percent
Other elected officials: 3.45 percent
APR will continue to periodically poll its list of influentials to distill the critical issues facing the state.