A survey of public opinion
We have been conducting public opinion surveys of Wisconsin residents since 1987. This survey was conducted from October 2 to October 4, 2005. There has already been a release of some of the major issues covered in this survey.
What makes this particular study so unusual is that for the second time we are publishing the unfiltered opinions of Wisconsin residents. Most surveys will ask people about issues. Few, if any, polls besides the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute’s will actually ask the classic survey question on an open-end basis to have respondents describe the most important issue facing Wisconsin. This type of question is asked at the beginning of a poll and is totally unfiltered by any other information. It gives a much more accurate picture of the views and feelings of the respondents. The usual poll will have several potential issues that are filtered and force people to make a choice: open-ended survey questions do not. The reason this technique has been dropped by almost all polls in Wisconsin and across the country is that it is very expensive to administer.
We are presenting the results from 600 Wisconsin residents. Clearly, there is enormous concern in this state with gasoline prices, taxes, jobs, unemployment, and health care. This data originates from approximately 91% of our survey respondents who identified state problems. The results are their verbatim reply to the question: “In your opinion, what is the single most important problem facing Wisconsin that the government should be doing something about?” We have not included the answers of respondents who offered no opinion or could not make a choice — 51 responses. The rest of the opinions are presented in the following pages. It paints a very interesting picture of the real problems Wisconsinites see in their state and believe their state government should deal with over the next several years. The timing is simple. We are about to begin the next election cycle, which will culminate in November 2006 with the election of a governor for Wisconsin. We hope our state government officials learn something from this study.
We have arranged the results by political party. Respondents could identify themselves as Democrats, Republicans, Independents or some other party. Some respondents did not share their party affiliation. It is obvious from reading the replies that Wisconsin citizens see the same problems in their state regardless of their party affiliation.