Disconnect Between Public Views In Hoosier Survey, Statehouse Priorities

Dec 2, 2019

Credit Brandon Smith / IPB News

Hoosiers are split down the middle on abortion in the annual Ball State Hoosier Survey. And a vast majority support some gun regulations.

But there's a disconnect between those survey results and opinions in the state legislature.

The latest Hoosier Survey shows 48 percent of people polled say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, 45 percent say it should be illegal. Yet each year, the Republican supermajorities at the Statehouse only pass anti-abortion bills.

And measures proposing universal background checks for gun sales never get a hearing in the General Assembly, despite overwhelming public support.

So why the disconnect? Bowen Center for Public Affairs managing director Charles Taylor points to a large number of uncompetitive legislative districts.

“If I’m running in a district and I’m not too concerned about being defeated by the member of the other party then I’m concerned about getting primaried by people who are maybe more in line with the party base,” Taylor says.

Taylor says that means, for instance, Republican lawmakers will skew more conservative.

Citizen activist groups have pushed for years for Indiana to leave the drawing of its legislative districts to an independent commission. But Statehouse Republicans have rejected that proposal.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.