It's not much of a surprise that most Salt Lake City residents think panhandling should be illegal. But, there are those at some income levels that feel more favorably toward the practice than others.
Overall, nearly 2/3 of residents say they feel panhandling should not be legal in Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake City officials have been working to crack down on panhandling in the city, urging residents to not give change to beggars. Instead, they're urged to donate to homeless service providers to better help those asking for money on street corners. In 2011, Salt Lake City introduced special parking-style meters to collect money for that purpose.
A 2014 survey by the Downtown Alliance found that most Utahns think the biggest problem in the downtown area is aggressive panhandlers who hit up pedestrians for money. That survey found 20% say panhandling has stopped them from frequenting the downtown area.
When we looked at the economic breakdown, middle-class residents were either split or in favor of making panhandling legal. Residents who reported making between $45,000 and $55,000 annually were nearly divided on the issue (44-48%). A slim majority of residents in the $55,000 to $65,000 income range favor making the practice legal. A majority of those in other income brackets opposed legal panhandling.
The survey was conducted by Dan Jones and Associates from April 9-15, 2015. 366 registered voters in Salt Lake City were contacted via telephone and online means. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 5.12%.