Poll: Jobs, public safety beat traffic for top area priorities

Public safety is the second highest concern of area residents. Here, a Capitol Police officers keep watch on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Feb. 17 after a 29-year-old Moroccan man was arrested near the U.S. Capitol as he was planning to detonate what he thought was a suicide vest. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – The strength of the economy and living in safe communities are the top priorities for people in the Washington area this election year, according to a new WTOP Beltway Poll.

Twenty-seven percent of those questioned in D.C., Maryland and Virginia list living in a safe community with low crime as the top issue, while 20 percent thought jobs and the ecomomy were most important.

The poll conducted by Heart+Mind Strategies also finds good schools were important to 15 percent of those polled across the region.

Traffic congestion, often cited as a major headache for commuters in the region, is listed by 8 percent of the respondents as a big quality-of-life issue, though the number goes up to 10 percent among Virginia respondents.

At 31 percent, D.C. residents worry more about crime than those in the suburbs.

Twenty-two percent of Maryland respondents are concerned most about jobs, 2 percent more than in D.C. and Virginia.

Among the other findings are the 12 percent who list being close to their family as a major issue, and 4 percent who cite being close to the outdoors and nature as among their priorities.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percent.

The D.C. metro phone survey was conducted among 551 adults age 18 and over, between Feb. 20, 2011 and Feb. 23, 2011. This included representative samples of 200 people in Virginia, 251 in Maryland and 100 in the District.

Heart+Mind Strategies is a non-partisan market research consultancy based in Reston, Va.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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