The research-oriented Utah Foundation is releasing a series of 10 policy briefs this month on what Utah voters view as the most important issues election year, starting with immigration. Utah Foundation Research Director Morgan Lyon Cotti says this is the 4th election cycle they’ve surveyed voters, and says this year’s number one issue is jobs and the economy.
“In the years in which the economy is struggling or people are struggling with their own pocket books we see that that is the top issue. And it’s been a top or near top issue in 2004, 2010, and 2012. When we completed the survey early in 2008 just before recession started and the economy was still doing really well, it wasn’t even a top ten issue,” she says.
The foundation’s immigration brief released Monday notes that Mexico is the place of origin for more than 45 percent of Utah’s foreign-born population, 32.7 percent of whom have less than a high school diploma, compared to 9.4 percent of the total population.
Cotti says the list represents what Utah voters view as the important issues, instead of just those highlighted by politicians.
“For the first time this year we saw poverty be a top ten issue, we have never seen that on the list. And that means people are still struggling with the economy. We also saw partisan politics for the first time ever that we’ve done this survey. And that indicates that people are really getting tired of the partisan nature of politics in the United States and the rhetoric and polarization of some of the parties,” she says.
The 10 Utah Foundation briefings are being released over 10 days.