Wisconsinites overwhelmingly support work requirements, police in schools

Survey solicits opinions on health care, crime, occupational licensing and other issues

CONTACT: Michael Jahr, Badger Institute Vice President, 262-442-5208 or michael@badgerinstitute.org

May 3, 2022 – A new poll conducted by the State Policy Network found that 60% of Wisconsin voters support work requirements for those who receive government assistance from the state, 72% want police officers present in schools and two-thirds agree that we have to do better at helping non-violent offenders who served their time to re-integrate into society, according to results announced Tuesday by the Badger Institute.

The survey covered a range of issues affecting Wisconsinites, from health care to federal spending, from parental involvement in schools to trust in institutions.

SPN State Voices is a monthly public opinion study of Americans’ attitudes about government and policy solutions. The latest poll was conducted by Morning Consult for SPN between April 14 and 20 and surveyed 498 registered Wisconsin voters. The margin of error is +/-4 percentage points. The Badger Institute is an affiliate of the State Policy Network.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the state waived an existing work requirement for recipients of government assistance. The survey asked Wisconsin voters whether they support or oppose a work requirement to receive government aid. Sixty percent said they strongly or somewhat support such a requirement; 23% said they strongly or somewhat oppose it.

Wisconsinites by large margins (72%-20%) support having police officers present in schools. Seventy-eight percent agree with the statement that having police officers in schools provides an opportunity for positive and helpful interactions with law enforcement officers, while 72% believe that it would help create an orderly, safe learning environment. Only 27% believe that police officers in schools would create a hostile environment for some students.

Sixty-six percent of respondents agreed that: “We have to do better at helping non-violent offenders who have served their time re-integrate into society. If they can’t get a job, housing, or access other resources, they are likely to turn back to criminal activity.” Twenty-one percent agreed with this statement: “If people don’t want to face barriers to getting jobs, housing or other resources, they should not commit crimes.”

On the topic of education, 65% of Wisconsin voters surveyed said they agree that parents should have more input on what is taught in public schools; 30% said they disagree.

Regarding occupational licensing, 69% supported making it easier for qualified licensed workers from other states to get certified in Wisconsin by recognizing other states’ licenses. Only 16% said they somewhat or strongly opposed this idea. The remaining 14% didn’t know or had no opinion.

Seventy-six percent agreed that Wisconsin should review existing licensing requirements on a regular schedule to determine whether they are necessary and effective. Only 11% were somewhat or strongly opposed. A majority, 53%, support expanding and extending measures implemented during COVID-19 to expedite licensing processes. Only 23% were opposed.

Only 27% of Wisconsin voters said they believe government-provided health care is the best option and will provide the best quality, affordability and access to care, while 30% believe government-provided health care is not the right option and that other reforms will provide a better mix of quality, affordability and access. Forty-three percent believe the current system needs work and aren’t sure whether or not government provided health care would provide the best quality, affordability and access.

Wisconsinites overwhelmingly (66%-12%) support changing health care and insurance regulations to allow for the maximum and most flexible use of telehealth.

When asked about changes in crime levels, 48% said they believed crime had somewhat or significantly increased in their community, 40% said it stayed about the same, and 7% said it somewhat or significantly decreased.

When asked about institutions and organizations, 49% of voters said they are mistrustful of the federal government, 44% mistrust state government and 31% mistrust their city or local government.

The survey found a similar level of mistrust in the media. For newspapers and magazines, 40% said they do not trust them at all or hardly trust them, 47% said they trust them somewhat and 13% said they trust them a great deal or completely. For broadcast news media, 46% said they do not trust them at all or hardly trust them, 40% said they trust them somewhat and 14% trust broadcast media outlets a great deal or completely.

Wisconsinites harbor a deeper mistrust of social media. Seventy-two percent said they do not trust at all or hardly trust social media, 21% said they trust it somewhat and only 6% said they trust social media a great deal or completely.

A combined 41% of Wisconsinites said they do not trust or hardly trust labor unions, 40% said they trust them somewhat and 19% said they trust them a great deal or completely. 

When asked about trust in the U.S. election process, 18% said they do not trust it at all, 16% said they hardly have any trust in it and 32% said they somewhat trusted it, while 22% said they trust it a great deal and 13% said they trust it completely.

Two-thirds of respondents agreed that transferring power from the federal government to state and local governments is about giving local communities more control and not about making government smaller or providing fewer services. Twenty percent disagreed, and 14% said they don’t know or had no opinion.

A slight majority (51%) said they strongly or somewhat agree that stimulus payments from the government will make inflation worse. Thirty-seven percent strongly or somewhat disagreed. Twelve percent said they don’t know or have no opinion.

When it comes to federal funds flowing into Wisconsin, 59% agree that the money comes with too many strings attached, limiting the ability of states to serve their citizens. Thirty-one percent disagree.

 

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