By Kelsey Keener
CEDAR CITY–Southern Utah University has released information from a poll of southern Utah voters.
According to the poll, 69 percent of voters believe things in southern Utah are heading in the right direction, while 19 percent believe southern Utah is on the wrong track. Director of the SUU Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service Mary Weaver Bennett cites an improving economy, growth in jobs, strong real estate values and a mainly conservative governmental approach as reasons voters believe southern Utah is heading in the right direction.
Also, a strong majority of voters view southern Utah as the place to build a future, but few voters see personal benefit from the area’s economic growth. Voters polled named growth and economy as positive aspects of the region, but less than 40 percent said their personal financial situation is excellent or very good. Bennett says this points to low wages.
“This would seem to indicate that, despite economic growth in areas of southern Utah, individual wages are lagging behind,” she said.
Fifty-eight percent of polled voters made statements regarding good jobs being hard to find or the need for higher-paying, “family-sustaining” wage jobs so that the next generation of voters is able to continue living in the area.
In addition, 80 percent of interviewed voters said that southern Utah is a good place for young people to build a future and 85 percent of those were under the age of 45. The majority of voters (56 percent) believe growth of the technical industry has created economic benefit to the area and 47 percent said that growth has created jobs as well.
The SUU Public Policy Poll was a collaborative effort between the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service, Public Opinion Strategies, DataWise and Venture Data. The poll had a sample size of 400 registered voters, a margin error of 4.9 percent, and surveyed 13 counties (Beaver, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Kane, Millard, Piute, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Washington and Wayne).