The number one reason people say they live in Idaho is family and quality of life, but for some it’s politics.
This is according to Boise State University 2022 Idaho Public Policy Survey. The survey of 1,000 Idaho residents found that 5.4% of respondents said the political climate was the main reason for staying in the state, ahead of factors such as the cost of living. , school or taxes.
This may not seem like a lot (about 45% answered “family”), but the political climate was the fifth most frequent answer. “People identify Idaho’s political culture as appealing,” said Jaclyn Kettler, an associate professor of political science at Boise State.
Republicans hold all statewide positions and supermajorities in the state legislature, and former President Donald Trump won Idaho in 2020 by nearly 64%. The state is such a conservative beacon in the area that a group of rural, conservative Oregonians are trying to join.
“Historically I understood a lot of people didn’t move to another state for political reasons, that’s something we’re starting to see people say,” Kettler said.
Idahoans are more politically active than the average American. The Boise State survey found that 22% had donated money to a cause or political party in the past year, eight points higher than the national level, 32% had contacted a public official over the past year, nine points above the national level.
“There were several high-profile issues in last year’s legislative session, education being one of them, debates about funding critical race theory, public education in general , but we also focused a lot on things like COVID vaccine mandates and masking,” Kettler said.
The 2022 legislative session in Idaho opened earlier this month, and the top issue voters would like lawmakers to address is education, according to the survey. More than a quarter said they would like the state to use a $1.5 trillion surplus to raise teacher salaries.
In his State of the State address, Idaho Governor Brad Little called education one of two top priorities, along with infrastructure. He also called for $47 million in continued funding for literacy programs and $50 million in parent grants for computers, tutoring and other student needs.
Idaho grew 2.9% last year, the fastest rate in the country, and residents seem torn. The Boise State survey found that 71% think Idaho is growing too fast, but nearly 60% think Idaho should continue to bring companies with well-paying jobs to the state. , even if it means population growth.
“We want growth and how it can bring benefits and help us move forward, but at the same time we’re really grappling with the consequences of rapid growth,” Kettler said.
The survey was conducted November 13-21, 2021 among 1,000 adults living in Idaho.