A public opinion survey conducted in early March by Dittman Communication Corporation of over 1,000 Alaskan voters statewide revealed 59 percent of respondents support major reform of Alaska’s oil production taxes to attract new industry investment to boost production, while only 23 percent believed no changes should be made.
The Dittman poll asked dozens of questions relating to Alaska’s economy and big potential projects, including an instate gas pipeline, the Susitna hydroelectric project, and the Knik Arm Bridge.
Tracking polls over the past year by Dittman show increasing support among Alaskans for oil tax reform. In less than a year, support for repealing ACES is up six points while support for modifying the tax structure has increased seven points. The number of Alaskans opposing changes to ACES has declined seven points.
While respondents leaned toward supporting the Senate’s methodical process in considering modifications to the tax structure, 89 percent think oil tax reform is either extremely important or somewhat important this year. The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.
On the issue of state taxes, 54 percent believe lower taxes will generally result in greater business investment in Alaska.
Support for major oil tax reform was highest in urban areas, including Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Southcentral. In Anchorage, 67 percent of respondents supported reform, but only 49 percent of Southeast did, however, only 34 percent there wanted taxes to remain as high as they are today.
On other major issues, 53 percent of Alaskans statewide support construction of the Susitna hydroelectric dam, while 28 percent oppose it. Support was strongest in the Interior where 63 percent support the project, while 54 percent in Anchorage are supportive.
With regard to the proposed Knik Arm Bridge, the poll revealed 37 percent of Alaskans support immediate construction while 32 percent believe the state should wait until later to build it. Only 26 percent think it should never be built. Among those provided with additional information on the bridge, support grew to 65 percent for immediate construction, 19 percent said wait until later, and 13 percent remained in opposition.
On the Pebble project, Alaskans were nearly split on the project moving into the permitting process. Support for the permitting process was strongest in urban areas, with 55% of Interior residents supportive, followed by 53 percent of Anchorage residents. Only 34 percent of Interior residents were opposed to the project moving into permitting while 41 percent of Anchorage respondents did not approve. Support for the project was weakest in rural areas where 62 percent of respondents were opposed to the project going into the permitting phase.
On the issue of coastal zone management, the largest percentage of Alaskans, 49 percent, agreed that a program should involve local communities at the advisory level only. Forty-four percent felt local communities should have the ability to put conditions on or stop proposed projects. See poll results at:
housemajority.org/chenault/pdfs/27/2012_ Alaska_State_House_Survey_Presentation_ Final.pdf
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