EBR Survey: Residents support consolidation of police, sheriff; less opposed to gay marriage

EBR Survey: Residents support consolidation of police, sheriff; less opposed to gay marriage
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Monday, June 10, 2013 - 8:29pm

East Baton Rouge Parish residents support a consolidation of the police and sheriff’s office, believe the planet is in a period of global warming and want the government to control greenhouse emissions. A majority would use a toll road to bypass Essen Lane and College Drive traffic, and more of them favor same-sex marriage than oppose it.

Those are some of the findings in the annual CityStats report, which is produced by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to measure the quality of life in East Baton Rouge Parish. In its fifth year, CityStats reveals where the parish has been, how far it has come and where it needs to go.

CityStats includes more than 70 indicators that provide insight into the EBR economy, infrastructure, education, arts, environment, public safety and more.
Key findings in the latest report:

  • 60% support consolidating East Baton Rouge Police department and the sheriff’s office. A majority across all demographics – race, age, gender, income, education- support consolidation. Only 27% were against consolidation; 13% were undecided.
  • 57% said they would pay a toll to use a road to avoid traffic on Essen Lane and College Drive. In FutureBR, the parish’s comprehensive strategy for growth, planners recommend building a road to connect Kenilworth Parkway to Corporate Boulevard along the back edge of the Burden Center.
  • 58% of respondents believe the planet is in a period of global warming. What’s more, 56% says human activity is either “primarily” or “partly” responsible for global warming. 63% want the government to do more to regulate emissions that are responsible for global warming.
  • 49% oppose legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, 45% were for it. A strong majority under the age of 34 support legalization, while nearly seven of 10 over 65 are against it. Two states – Colorado and Washington – last year approved the private cultivation, sale and possession of marijuana.
  • For the first time in the three years the question has been asked, more people in the parish were for legalizing same-sex marriage than opposed to it. 47% were for legalizing, while 45% were against it. In the previous survey, 44% were in favor; 49% against.
  • Asked to identify themselves on the political spectrum, 31% – the largest group – said they were “moderates.” Meanwhile, 28% said they were “conservative” and 15% said they were “very conservative.” Twenty-one percent said they were “liberal” or “very liberal.”
  • The gap in median family income between whites and African-Americans continued to be significant. White families earned $81,251 in 2011, compared to $35,476 for African Americans.
  • The percentage of children living in poverty grew to 29% in 2011 from 26% in 2010. Meanwhile, 31% said they couldn’t afford food sometime in the previous year and 32% said they couldn’t afford health care.
  • Enrollment at private schools declined for the fifth consecutive year. The number of students attending private schools in the parish was 16,934 in 2012, down from 17,186 the year before. Shuttering of smaller private schools and the recession are reasons fewer schoolchildren are studying at private schools. Enrollment in Zachary and Central has flattened, as the recession slowed migration into those previously fast-growing communities.
  • A bright spot: 42% said their neighborhoods are getting better, a rise from 35% the year before. The percentage saying things are worse in their neighborhoods dropped to 30% in the latest survey from 35% in 2012.
  • People remain impatient with the rate of progress. 56% said progress is too slow, an improvement from 60% the year before.
  • On a five-point scale, where “five” is excellent and “one” is poor, the fire department received the highest mark (4.6), followed by the library (4.4), BREC (3.8), the police department and sheriff’s office (3.6), Department of Public Works (3.3) and EBR Public Schools (2.6). The rankings for the agencies are about the same as the year before.
  • 57% were concerned that they or a family member would be a victim of crime in the coming year, an improvement over 62% the year before.
  • 46% were against a parish-level ban on the sale and possession of assault weapons, but 51% were for a ban on high-capacity magazines that can hold more than 10 bullets.

The Foundation uses CityStats to guide its civic leadership projects and to assist fund donors in making grants.
The project is underwritten by the Newton B. Thomas Support Foundation, a supporting nonprofit of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Research for the project is conducted under contract with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the LSU Public Policy Research Lab, which runs the survey.
Respondents to the poll are representative of the parish. The sample was 360 land lines and 153 cell phones for a total of 513 responses. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.3%. The poll was conducted in February and March 2013.
The complete report is available at BRAF.org.

 

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