A survey of Wisconsin public opinion
We have been conducting public opinion surveys of Wisconsin residents since 1987. This survey was conducted from September 22 to September 26, 2004. 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, probably for the first time in Wisconsin, a poll has published the unfiltered opinions of Wisconsin residents. Most surveys will ask people about issues. Few, if any, polls besides the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) 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 602 Wisconsin residents. Clearly, there is enormous concern in this state with taxes, jobs, unemployment, and health care. This data originates from approximately 90% of our survey respondents who identified state problems. The results are their verbatim reply to the question: “What do you think is the SINGLE MOST important problem facing Wisconsin that the government should do something about?” We have not included the answers of respondents who offered no opinion or could not make a choice – 63 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 budget cycle, which will culminate in July 1, 2005 with the beginning of the next biennial state budget. We hope our state government officials learn something from this study.