When asked what should be the state's priorities in the next year, more than nine in 10 Kentuckians responded that job creation should be at the top of the list. Heath concerns ranked slightly lower.
The 2011 Kentucky Health Issues Poll, which released the first of its series of findings Tuesday, asked more than 1,600 people, "How important is it to you that the governor and the Kentucky legislature work on each of the following issues in the next year?" Job creation ranked first, with 93 percent.
The vast majority of Kentuckians felt it was also important for policymakers to work on:
• improving Kentucky's economy (91 percent)
• improving K-12 public education (86 percent)
• reducing the cost of health care (85 percent)
• improving the health of Kentuckians (83 percent)
• reducing crime in Kentucky (83 percent)
Other priorities included making government more transparent (67 percent), improving roads and highways (66 percent) and reducing taxes (60 percent).
Regardless of political party, Kentuckians agreed on the relative importance of these policy priorities.
"We understand the challenges our elected officials face in working to meet Kentucky's needs in these difficult economic times," said Susan Zepeda, CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which helped fund the poll. "We think the Kentucky Health Issues Poll provides valuable insight into the views of the public to help with the hard choices ahead."
In the coming months, the poll will reveal views on statewide smoke-free legislation, prescription-painkiller misuse and gun safety. The poll, which is also funded by The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, was conducted Sept. 27 to Oct. 27 by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 1,621 adults across Kentucky were interviewed, including 1,313 landline interviews and 308 cell phone interviews. In 95 of 100 cases, estimates will be accurate to plus or minus 2.5 percent.