A survey released today by Anne Arundel Community College shows county residents are almost evenly split between
President George Bush and Gov. Bill Clinton, but are united in their view that the economy is the nation's most serious concern.
According to the telephone survey of 577 residents conducted between Oct. 5 and 8, 40.2 percent of those likely to vote said they favored Mr. Clinton, compared with 36.1 percent who favored Mr. Bush.
The difference is not statistically significant, since it falls within the survey's five-point margin of error.
The survey, conducted by college students, found that 14.5 percent of those likely to vote are undecided.
Elizabeth Kessel, director of the Center for Study of Local Issues, said the results must be kept in perspective, since the sample was not drawn from voter registration lists but from county residents as a whole.
"What is truly significant is the high percentage of undecided voters this late in the game," she said.
Of the likely voters queried in the survey, 36.8 percent said the economy is the most serious problem facing the country.
Other problems listed were the national deficit, crime and
violence, unemployment, and government politicians.
The college conducts the survey twice a year. In the last two surveys, the economy has taken precedence over growth as the primary concern of the respondents.
Growth had been either the first or second major concern since )) thepoll began in 1984.
According to the college, 66.4 percent of the respondents said they faced major problems at present.
Asked to identify the problems, the residents listed the economy, crime and county growth.
Consumer confidence among those surveyed remains weak. Only 27.2 percent of the respondents said now is the time to buy things they want.
More than 41 percent said, "Now is the time to wait" before making purchases.
When asked to compare conditions in the county now with those of a year ago, 46.7 percent said things are worse, 37.8 percent said things are the same and 10 percent said things are better.
The majority of respondents said Congress should spend more to improve the quality of public education, reduce crime, increase employment opportunities and improve and protect the nation's health.
The majority, almost 75 percent of those polled, said Congress should spend less on foreign aid.
The residents also were asked their views on the referendum revising Maryland's abortion laws.
Of the likely voters, 36.5 percent said they didn't know how they would vote, while 27.7 percent said they were for the change and 28 percent were opposed.
Ms. Kessel attributed the high percentage of undecided voters to confusion over the question.
The survey results will be discussed by the county's congressional candidates at a public forum at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 in the college's Pascal Center for Performing Arts.