AUGUSTA – Mainers support significant changes to state government, according to a new poll by Market Decisions, a research company in South Portland.

The poll results show that nearly two-thirds of Mainers want to reduce the number of state legislators from 186 to 100, limit the number of bills and shorten the legislative session.

In addition, 59 percent of Mainers want to reduce the pension costs of new state employees and 82 percent would support government efforts to slow rising health care costs by promoting healthy behavior and better coordination of care.

The telephone survey of 402 Maine residents was conducted from Oct. 4 to Oct. 14 as part of Market Decisions’ quarterly survey on a broad range of topics. Its margin of error is 5 percentage points.

The company asked eight questions based on the eight key recommendations in the “Reinventing Maine Government” report, released in September by Envision Maine, a nonpartisan think tank.

The report concludes that Maine could save more than $1 billion if the state could find a way to bring its costs of living in line with national averages.

“It’s clear to me that Maine residents are ready and anxious for change,” said Alan Caron, who heads Envision Maine and is one of 30 members of Gov.-elect Paul LePage’s transition advisory team.

Curtis Mildner, president of Market Decisions, said respondents’ strong support for the government’s role in preventive care “flies in the face” of the popular perception that the public opposes government intrusion in health care.

The Market Decisions poll shows that Mainers support seven of the eight recommendations in “Reinventing Maine Government,” including:

67 percent support changing the state government bureaucracy to give employees more authority to improve services.

67 percent support helping towns collaborate and consolidate services to reduce costs.

66 percent support creating one board of trustees to oversee the state’s university system and community colleges.

58 percent support “maintaining commitments to public schools but changing how funds are used.”

The one recommendation that respondents rejected was reducing the number of counties from 16 to eight. Only 39 percent supported that recommendation.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 699-6261 or at:

[email protected]