February 22, 2001 - Ban Hand-Held Cell Phones For Drivers, Connecticut voters Tell Quinnipiac University Poll; Fix Traffic Problems, But Don't Ask Us To Pay
By a huge 85 - 14 percent margin Connecticut voters support pending state legislation to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today.

Thirteen percent of those who own a cell phone admit they use their cell phone "very often" while driving, 25 percent say they drive while using a cell phone "sometimes;" 37 percent say "rarely" and 25 percent say "never."

"Rarely is there such a consensus on a single issue. Nearly everyone thinks that it should be illegal to use hand-held cell phones while driving," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz.

Asked in an open-ended question, where they can give any answer, 23 percent of voters say taxes are the most important problem facing Connecticut today, followed by 20 percent who list education, 12 percent who list the economy or jobs and 10 percent who list traffic or transit or road conditions.

Asked to rate traffic in their community, 33 percent say it is a "very serious problem," while 29 say it is "somewhat serious;" 23 percent say is "not very serious" and 16 percent say it is "not a problem."

Looking at highways statewide, 59 percent of Connecticut voters say traffic is a "very serious problem," while 31 percent say it is "somewhat serious."

"Traffic is becoming a bigger concern to voters. For the first time it showed up in an open-ended question asking voters the most important problem facing the state, with 10 percent mentioning it on their own," Schwartz said.

"Traffic is something that everyone can relate to. Virtually everyone in Connecticut has sat in traffic and a significant number of Connecticut's citizens have had to endure it on a regular basis: 4 in 10 say they sit in traffic at least several times a week, and nearly 6 in 10 of those who live in Fairfield County, sit in traffic several times a week.

"Most voters endorse expanding the highways and public transportation. Yet they are not ready to open up their wallets for a solution. Most would not pay more in taxes to reduce traffic," Schwartz added.

Almost every Connecticut voter who works outside the home -- 92 percent -- drive themselves to work, while 3 percent ride with someone else.

But only 42 percent of voters say they would pay more in taxes to reduce traffic, while 53 percent would not be willing to pay higher taxes.

From February 14 - 19, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,262 Connecticut registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public service and for research. For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu

18. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in Connecticut today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very satisfied 13% 20% 11% 11% 14% 12% Smwht satisfied 60 63 58 60 63 58

Smwht dissatisfied 20 12 24 22 17 23 Very dissatisfied 6 4 7 5 5 6

DK/NA 1 1 1 1 1 1

20. What do you think is the most important problem facing Connecticut today?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Crime/Violence 2% 1% 4% 2% 2% 2% Drugs 1 - 2 1 1 2

Budget/Deficit 1 - 1 1 1 - Spending Priorities 1 1 1 1 1 1

Economy 7 8 8 6 9 5 Unemployment/Jobs 5 5 4 6 5 4 Cost of Living 2 3 2 2 2 3

Taxes 21 27 18 21 23 19 State Income Tax 1 2 1 1 1 1 Property Tax 1 1 1 1 1 1

Poverty/Homelessness 1 1 1 - 1 1 Housing Costs/Availability 1 1 1 1 1 - Overcrowding 1 - - 1 1 -

Cities/Urban Decay 2 2 2 1 2 1

Welfare 1 1 1 1 - 1

Class Inequality 1 - 1 - 1 1

Middle Class/Working Class ref. 1 - 1 1 1 1

Children's Issues 1 - 1 1 - 1

Healthcare/Costs/ Insurance/HMO's 3 1 5 4 2 5 Medicare 2 2 2 1 1 2

Education 20 17 19 24 17 24

Environment/Pollution 1 - 2 1 - 2

Lack of Quality Mass Transit/Public Tran 4 4 5 4 6 3 Traffic 4 4 4 4 4 4 Roads/Infrastructure 1 1 - 1 1 1 Highways/Tolls 1 1 1 1 1 1

Gas Prices 1 1 - 1 - 1

Other 4 4 5 3 4 4 DK/NA 5 4 5 5 4 6

21. How would you rate the condition of Connecticut's economy these days? Is it very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very good 17% 20% 16% 17% 19% 16% Fairly good 71 69 72 72 70 72

Fairly bad 8 7 9 9 8 9 Very bad 2 1 2 1 1 2

DK/NA 2 2 1 1 2 2

22. Do you think Connecticut's economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Better 16% 18% 15% 14% 16% 15%

Worse 22 20 23 22 22 22

Same 60 60 59 61 60 59

DK/NA 3 2 3 3 2 4

23. How would you rate your family's financial situation? Is it very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very good 20% 20% 21% 20% 23% 17% Fairly good 69 73 67 70 67 71

Fairly bad 7 5 9 8 6 8 Very bad 1 1 2 1 1 1

DK/NA 2 2 2 1 2 1

24. Do you think your family's financial situation is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Better 27% 29% 27% 27% 31% 24%

Worse 11 8 10 13 9 13

Same 60 61 63 59 58 63

DK/NA 1 2 1 1 2 1

25. In general, how serious a problem do you think traffic is in your community. A very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, not too serious a problem or not a problem at all?
                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Very serious problem 33% 50% 25% 37% Smwht serious problem 29 28 29 32

Not too serious a problem 23 15 28 21 Not a problem 16 7 18 10

DK/NA - - - -

26. In general, how serious a problem do you think traffic is on Connecticut's highways. A very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, not too serious a problem or not a problem at all?
                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Very serious problem 59% 70% 46% 69% Smwht serious problem 31 24 42 24

Not too serious a problem 7 4 9 6 Not a problem 2 2 1 1

DK/NA 1 - 2 1

27. In general, compared to other states do you think traffic is less of a problem in Connecticut, more of a problem in Connecticut, or about the same as it is in other states?
                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Less of a problem 13% 9% 17% 12%

More of a problem 41 59 29 45

About the same 39 26 47 36

DK/NA 7 6 7 7

28. How often do you, yourself, get stuck in traffic jams - every day, several times a week, several times a month, a few times a year, or never?

                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Every day 15% 23% 12% 19%

Several times a week 24 34 18 26

Several times a month 26 22 30 24

Few times a year 25 16 26 21

Never 9 4 11 7

DK/NA 2 1 2 2

31. (If employed outside home) How do you generally get to work - do you drive yourself, ride with someone else, walk, take a train, take a bus, or something else?

                               People who are employed outside the home
                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Drive 92% 85% 93% 93% Ride with someone 3 1 3 4

Walk 2 2 2 2 Train 2 9 - 1 Bus 1 1 2 - Something else 1 2 1 -

DK/NA - - - -

32. (If 'drive to work' Q31) How many minutes does it usually take for you to drive from home to work?

                               Drive to work Q31 ..................
                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


1-15 minutes 38% 35% 41% 34% 16-30 37 32 42 39 31-45 14 18 10 13 46-60 8 10 6 11 61-90 2 4 - 3 91+ 1 3 1 -

Average minutes 26 30 22 27



33. How serious a problem is the traffic you encounter on your drive to work - A very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, not too serious a problem or not a problem at all?

                               Drive to work Q31 .................
                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Very serious problem 14% 27% 8% 14%

Smwht serious problem 23 25 19 30

Not too serious a problem 26 24 27 23

Not a problem 36 23 46 33

DK/NA - 1 - -

34. Which type of drive would you rather have to work - a 30 minute drive without much traffic, or a 15 minute drive with a lot of traffic?

                               Drive to work Q31 .................
                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


30 minute/No traffic 81% 73% 79% 85%

15 minute/Lots of traffic 15 19 17 14

DK/NA 4 8 4 1

35. How much do you think adding lanes to the highways would do to reduce traffic problems in Connecticut - a great deal, some, not much or nothing

                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Great deal 54% 60% 45% 63% Some 29 26 34 25

Not much 9 8 12 5 Nothing at all 6 4 6 5

DK/NA 3 3 3 3

36. How much do you think expanding public transportation such as buses and trains would do to reduce traffic problems in Connecticut - a great deal, some, not much or nothing at all?

                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Great deal 45% 43% 42% 47% Some 31 32 32 29

Not much 15 20 18 11 Nothing at all 6 4 6 9

DK/NA 2 2 2 3

37. How much do you think closing some entrance ramps during rush hours on I-95 would do to reduce traffic problems in Connecticut - a great deal, some, not much or nothing at all?

                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Great deal 11% 13% 10% 13% Some 21 21 22 24

Not much 19 19 17 16 Nothing at all 32 37 26 36

DK/NA 16 10 24 11

36. How much do you think expanding parking at train stations would do to reduce traffic problems in Connecticut - a great deal, some, not much or nothing at all?

                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Great deal 31% 36% 25% 38% Some 35 37 38 29

Not much 15 13 19 15 Nothing at all 9 8 6 9

DK/NA 10 6 13 8

37. How much do you think opening breakdown lanes to traffic during rush hours on I-95 would do to reduce traffic problems in Connecticut - a great deal, some, not much or nothing at all?

                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Great deal 29% 27% 27% 38% Some 31 30 30 25

Not much 12 11 16 11 Nothing at all 20 28 15 19

DK/NA 8 5 12 7

38. How much do you think restricting highway construction to late evening hours would do to reduce traffic problems in Connecticut - a great deal, some, not much or nothing at all?

                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Great deal 60% 62% 56% 65% Some 29 27 32 28

Not much 5 7 6 2 Nothing at all 3 3 4 4

DK/NA 2 1 2 2

39. Would you be willing or unwilling to pay more in taxes to reduce traffic in Connecticut?

                                        Live in ...................
                                        Fairfld  Hartford New Haven
                               Tot      County   County   County  


Yes/Willing to pay more 42% 49% 37% 44%

No/Unwilling to pay more 53 45 58 52

DK/NA 4 6 5 4

40. Do you own a cell phone?

                          Tot


Yes 60%

No 40

DK/NA -

41. (If own cell phone Q40) How often do you use a cell phone while driving a car? Very often, sometimes, rarely, or never?

                          Cell phone
                          Owners


Very often 13%

Sometimes 25

Rarely 37

Never 25

DK/NA -

42. There is a proposal in the state legislature to prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. Drivers who wanted to use a cell phone would have to use equipment which would allow for handsfree operation of the cell phone. Do you think it is a good or a bad idea to make it illegal to use hand-held cell phones while driving?

                                  Cell phone
                          Tot     Owners


Good idea 85% 81%

Bad idea 14 18

DK/NA 1 1