Results from the 2023 Hoosier Survey show year-over-year consistency in Indiana residents’ thoughts on pressing social issues such as marijuana use and abortion.

The Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University has released the first of three rounds of results from the 2023 Hoosier Survey, the center’s annual non-partisan public policy study. The results represent the pulse of the state regarding the most pressing issues facing Indiana residents.

Results about questions regarding Hoosier approval ratings for President Joe Biden and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, election integrity, tax spending, and more will be released Jan. 23 and Jan. 30.

“The Hoosier Survey is the only Indiana-specific survey in the state that examines Hoosiers’ opinions on a variety of national, state, and local issues,” said Dr. Chad Kinsella, director of the Bowen Center for Public Affairs and associate professor of political science at Ball State. “As we move through the 2024 Indiana legislative session, we are grateful to once again provide state lawmakers with an accurate look at the issues that matter the most to Hoosiers.”

Highlights from this week’s round of results, which can be found on the Bowen Center for Public Affairs website, include:

  • For the question, “Which comes closer to your view about the use of marijuana by adults,” 54.2 percent of respondents selected, “It should be legal for personal use.” In comparison, 32.2 percent selected “It should be legal for medicinal use.” Just 9.8 percent of respondents selected “It should not be legal.”

    The results nearly mirror the responses to the same question in the 2022 Hoosier Survey; 56 percent of respondents believed marijuana should be legal for personal use, 29 percent believed it should be legal only for medicinal use, and 15 percent believed it should not be legal.

    “The findings are similar to last year’s findings in that Americans and Hoosiers have shifted dramatically on their attitudes toward marijuana,” Dr. Kinsella said. “Many states have recently legalized marijuana, including neighboring states like Ohio in 2023.”

  • For the question, “Do you think abortion should be…,” 31.3 percent of respondents answered “Legal in most cases,” and 27.8 percent answered “Legal in all cases.” Meanwhile, 27.2 percent answered “Illegal in most cases,” while 10.3 percent responded with “Illegal in all cases.”

    Much like the question about marijuana use, the abortion question resulted in nearly identical results from year to year. In last year’s Hoosier Survey: 30.5 percent of respondents believed abortion should be legal in most cases; 26.2 percent believed it should be legal in all cases; 26.3 percent believed it should be illegal in most cases; and 9.3 percent believed it should be illegal in all cases.

    A total ban on abortion in Indiana went into effect on Aug. 1, 2023, but Dr. Kinsella said he wasn’t surprised by that topic’s results in this year’s Hoosier Survey.

    “The results are very similar to last year’s results and echo election results in several red states such as Kentucky, Kansas, and Ohio,” he said. “There are a lot of independents and Republicans who may be populists, libertarians, and/or business Republicans who are not eager to support issues important to more religiously oriented conservatives.”

This year’s Hoosier Survey featured interviews with 600 Indiana adults (age 18 or older). Respondents were asked several closed-end questions concerning policy related to local, state, and national politics, as well as demographic questions. No respondents were asked to identify themselves at any point during the survey, and all data is maintained as anonymous.

A first-of-its-kind public policy survey for the Bowen Center for Public Affairs, the inaugural Hoosier Survey was conducted in 2008. Several demographics are collected with each survey, including gender, political party, ideology, age, education, race, income, and religious service attendance.

A complete listing of all Hoosier Survey results can be found on the Bowen Center for Public Affairs website.

Founded in March 2007, the Bowen Center for Public Affairs is a freestanding center at Ball State University in the College of Sciences and Humanities and is allied with the Department of Political Science. The center honors the integrity and leadership of Dr. Otis R. Bowen, the 44th Governor of Indiana and the 16th Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Ronald Reagan.

Advancing the ideals of civic literacy, community involvement, and public service embodied by Dr. Bowen’s career, the center provides networking, training, and research opportunities through its three institutes: Bowen Institute on Political Participation; Institute for Public Service; and Institute for Policy Research.