Speaker Stutes says Dittman poll 'is an important tool to get a handle on where Alaskans stand on the core plan before the Legislature’
JUNEAU – A poll conducted by Dittman Research reveals that a significant majority of Alaskans are skeptical of a proposal that would direct the same amount of our limited Permanent Fund dollars to dividends as we send to support every service the State of Alaska provides, including to schools, troopers, and road construction.
54 percent of Alaskans who participated in the poll oppose the so-called 50-50 proposal, an idea introduced by the governor four months into this year’s legislative session. Just 1 in 10 respondents strongly supported the plan, with 34 percent expressing some level of support. 71 percent of Republicans oppose the 50-50 split.
Speaker Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) said, “This poll is an important tool to get a handle on where Alaskans stand on the core plan before the Legislature can advance a solution to the ongoing PFD battle and establishing a permanent solution to the fiscal crisis.”
Rep. Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham) added, “Alaskans were heavily engaged from the very beginning of the creation of the Permanent Fund and the dividend program in the seventies and eighties. We need to be sure they’re involved today before any changes are made.”
Other key findings include:
- The governor’s current proposal would draw down the Permanent Fund by $3 billion to fill state budget gaps in the years ahead that would be created by the 50-50 proposal. In the long run, this means either large taxes or deep cuts would be necessary to close the gap. Two-thirds of Alaskans oppose this approach.
- Another aspect of the governor’s plan calls for protecting and setting a dollar amount for the Permanent Fund Dividend in the Constitution. While a 2-to-1 majority expressed support for constitutionalizing the PFD when asked generically if they support the approach, support evaporated when asked if the taxes or cuts that a 50-50 policy would require. 53 percent oppose placing the PFD in the Constitution if it requires new taxes, and support for placing the PFD in the Constitution if it requires cuts is tied, 48-48.
- Since the state adopted a Percent of Market Value management approach to the Permanent Fund in 2018, a significant majority of state revenue comes from Alaska’s investment account, and the degree to which oil revenue supports state services is significantly diminished. Only 35 percent of Alaskans are aware this shift occurred.
Dittman Research reached these conclusions by contacting Alaskans of diverse political perspectives, from communities across the state and of different ages and genders. The results include the perspective of 401 residents and carry a 95 percent confidence level.