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Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute Release the Spring 2015 “Wisconsin Survey”

From St. Norbert College, April 22, 2015
by Mike Counter, mike.counter@snc.edu, 920-403-3089

Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute today released the results of their semi-annual Wisconsin Survey. The Wisconsin Survey is a random telephone sample of 600 adult Wisconsin residents that asks their opinions on national and state government, economic and policy issues. Some topics in the Spring Survey include: opinions on state and national political figures, education and road funding, state parks, and Governor Walker's potential bid for the White House.

Wendy Scattergood, assistant professor of political science at St. Norbert College and associate at the Strategic Research Institute, provides a breakdown of the findings (margin for error +/- 4% at the 95% confidence level, survey conducted 04/08/15-04/17/15).

When surveyed on Governor Walker's performance in office, 58% of all respondents expressed disapproval of his performance, compared to 39% who expressed disapproval in the Spring 2014 survey. "These are fairly typical results," said Scattergood, "strong approval among Republicans has waned, from a high of 66% in the fall of 2012 to 33% now, which isn't unusual further into a politician's term in office, no matter the party."

Looking at Walker's potential run for the White House, 59% of respondents said they oppose Governor Walker running for the Republican presidential nomination while 39% favor his run. "This is heavily partisan, though interesting to note that 26% of Republicans think he shouldn't run," said Scattergood. When asked who they would vote for today, 44% responded Hillary Clinton, 42% responded Scott Walker. "Statistically, it's a dead heat," said Scattergood.

When polled on budget and policy issues covering education, 64% responded that they oppose cutting $300 million from the UW System budget. Fifty-four percent are in favor of increasing funding to K-12 public schools and 56% are in favor of increasing the School Choice voucher program to students in all K-12 schools. When asked if private schools in the School Choice voucher program should be required to use the same tests as public schools, 79% said they were in favor.

"The majority oppose cuts to the UW System in exchange for autonomy," said Scattergood. "Independents were a strong voice in opposing the cuts with 70% of them voicing opposition."

Wisconsinites expressed support for public funding of state parks, with 65% expressing opposition to eliminating general revenue tax dollars that support the parks. Fifty-two percent would favor an increase in entrance fees and 50% would favor an increase in camping fees. When polled on selling the corporate naming rights to state parks, 68% expressed opposition. When asked if they support suspending for 13 years the State's purchase of land to use for parks, recreation and conservation, 53% expressed opposition to suspending the program

On the topic of funding road construction and repair 48% responded in favor of increasing fees for vehicle registration and the gas tax while 33% favor the state's current practice of borrowing funds.

"Both parties oppose selling corporate naming rights to state parks, both parties think private and public schools should use the same tests, both parties favor an increase to fees rather than borrowing money for road repairs," said Scattergood, "where the parties fall into agreement, that's what gets interesting."

Tune in to Wisconsin Public Radio Ideas Network programs The Joy Cardin Show and Central Time, and Wisconsin Public Television's Here and Now for guests, including Dr. Scattergood, and analysis of the survey results. Complete Wisconsin Survey results are available online at http://WPR.org and http://WPT.org.

EDITOR'S NOTE: All references to this survey and results must be attributed to "The Wisconsin Survey from Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and St. Norbert College's Strategic Research Institute.'" A PDF copy of the survey results is available at http://www.snc.edu/sri/docs/2015/201504frequencies.pdf.