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Idaho survey: Treasure Valley growing too fast, fewer say Idaho on right-track, Idahoans anxious/nervous

The vast majority of Treasure Valley residents say the area is growing too fast. That’s one of the headlines from a new scientific survey from Boise State.

The Idaho Public Policy Survey from the School of Public Service, conducted by GS Strategies asked 1,000 Idahoans a broad array of questions. It was indexed to the demographics of Idaho’s population and conducted in a representative manner across all 44 of Idaho’s counties. The survey has an overall margin-of-error of 3.1%.

It paints a picture of attitudes about the state, including a declining number of folks who think the state is on the right track, a large number of Idahoans who feel anxious/nervous and continued concern about growth.

2019 survey: Growth a top concern; Many newcomers from California, but they’re like existing residents

Growing growth concerns

Treasure Valley residents got a question specifically about growth: “Would you say that the Treasure Valley is growing too fast, too slow or about right?”

A whopping 78.3% of respondents said they thought the pace of growth was too fast, with just 1% saying too slow. Another 17.9% said about right.

The numbers put hard data behind the conversations many people have at the kitchen table – or in city halls or county commission hearing rooms around the valley.

Surveyors also asked Treasure Valley residents if the cost of housing started to put strain on their personal finances. For now, a slight majority – 50.6% – said no. But 47.2% said yes, with 23% saying “Yes, a lot.”

[Moving companies provide differing pictures on Idaho’s popularity: Number 1… or Number 30?]

If you’ve ever gotten a card from a real estate agent telling you how much your home is worth if you would just sell now – and you thought ‘but where would I move?’ – you aren’t alone.

The survey asked “If you had to move out of your home today for whatever reason, how likely is it that you would be able to find a similar home for the same amount?”

  • 82.3% of folks said “Unlikely.”
  • 15.7% thought they could make that happen.

Right track/wrong-track & the legislature

Idaho right-track/wrong-track
Idaho right-track/wrong-track. Courtesy Boise State

Back to statewide results, the survey also found that more people than at any time in the survey’s six-year history said the state was on the wrong track – growing to 37.2% from 30.2% in 2019.

More Idahoans think the state is on the right track – but that number dipped under a majority to 48.6% from 55.6% last year.

[New report from Brookings says Boise adding jobs and wages are rising, but there are challenges]

The survey asked how important it is that the legislature address an array of issues. Idahoans ranked education first at 71.9%, followed by jobs/economy at 66.2% and healthcare third at 59.3%.

Top issues Idahoans think the legislature should address. Via Boise State University

The survey posed questions about m the state’s ballooning budget surplus of more than $530 million at the time of the survey.

  • 42.9% said the money should go to tax relief
  • 33.5% said it should go to education and transportation
  • 18.6% said it should move to the rainy day account

Pandemic opinion

The survey asked a number of questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. One, about vaccines, shows a majority of Idahoans would get the shot when offered – 55%. However, it’s important to note that the survey took place right after Thanksgiving, from November 29th through December 3rd. The survey took place just as vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer announced high efficacy rates over 94%. National polling data shows a large increase in Americans willing to get the vaccine in the nearly two months since the vaccine efficacy announcements were made.

Surveyors asked Idahoans if they experienced any anxiety or nervousness over COVID-19 in the past week.

  • A plurality, 40.7% said not at all, or for less than a day.
  • 22.9% of Idahoans said they’d been anxious or nervous one to two days,
  • 13.6% said three to four days
  • 19.1% said five to seven days in the past week.

Remote working quickly took hold in the state – 55.6% of those surveyed said they were doing at least some of their work remotely. And, in a key number for the future of office working in Idaho, 50.3% said they expected to keep teleworking even after the pandemic ends.

A majority of Idahoans said they would support a statewide mask mandate to fight COVID – 57.9%. The numbers drop somewhat when asked if folks support a mask mandate with a fine attached – but a smaller majority of 51.2% would support the action.

Eight percent of survey respondents said they had been diagnosed with COVID. Nearly three-quarters said they know at least one “friend or family member” who had COVID this year – 73.4%.

  • 44.3% know 1-5 friends/family
  • 15.6% know 6-10 friends/family
  • 13.5% know 10 or more friends/family

The survey also asked about other issues, including education and criminal justice reform. You can read the School of Public Service’s recap here, see the topline data here, or the cross tabs here.

Don Day - BoiseDev editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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