Poll: 77% prioritize jobs and economy over reducing pollution to the Chesapeake Bay

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Three-quarters of Marylanders think that it should be a higher priority of the state to take steps to create jobs and improve Maryland’s economy, compared to only 15 percent who say the state’s higher priority should be to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, according to a poll released this weekend.

The poll – by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies– also found that fewer than a third of Marylanders support enacting new taxes or fees to help the bay today, while 55 percent said the state should wait until economic conditions improve.

Gonzales Research asked the questions about jobs and bay cleanup during a statewide poll it conducted Jan. 13 to Jan. 17. The firm released some results publicly last week, including how Marylanders feel about economic conditions, and how Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Gov. Robert Ehrlich might fare in a potential rematch this fall.

Gonzales typically asks additional questions for paying clients – in this case, the Maryland State Builders Association – but does not release the results publicly, instead submitting a private poll memo to the clients. A complete copy of the poll was obtained by Center Maryland.

In terms of what Marylanders believe has the most negative impact on the Chesapeake Bay, 47 percent say that it’s runoff from agricultural fertilizers, 18 percent say runoff from home lawn treatments, 15 percent say commercial construction, and 5 percent say home construction. Six in 10 Marylanders said they would support a $5-per-application tax on fertilizer applications and chemical law treatments on residential properties to support Chesapeake Bay cleanup, according to the survey.

The prioritization of job creation in Maryland over protecting the Chesapeake Bay was consistent across political party, gender and race, according to the poll, including 84 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Republicans.

Among African-American voters, 89 percent said job creation and economic growth should be a higher priority than reducing bay pollution, while only 2 percent said the bay should be the higher priority.

While the majority of Marylanders said that any new taxes and fees for Chesapeake Bay cleanup and restoration should wait until the economy improves, about a third of Marylanders said they would eventually be willing to pay up to an extra $100 per year. Another 6 percent said they would be willing to pay an extra $250 per year, and 3 percent said up to $500 per year. The poll found that 46 percent did want any additional amount.

To read the entire 16 page poll memo, click here:
Maryland State Builders Association poll
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