A poll from the state’s largest business lobbying group indicates some optimism for Wisconsin’s economy. The poll of 506 Wisconsin voters was conducted mid-December by a Washington, D.C.-based Republican polling firm.
Key findings of the poll include:
• More than one-third (35%) of respondents believe the state’s economy will improve in 2017, a dramatic 13-point increase from last year’s survey. Forty-two percent believe Wisconsin’s economy will stay about the same. More voters (32%) also believe their personal economic situation will improve this year, an increase from 18 percent at the beginning of 2016.
• A majority of those surveyed (58%) said their health insurance costs increased over the last year, and only two percent said their costs decreased.
• When asked which taxes they would like to see cut, a plurality of respondents (43%) said they would like to see lower property taxes, followed by income taxes (31%) and the state sales tax (11%).
• Voters are split on raising the gas tax, with 49 percent in favor and 48 percent opposed. However, there is a clear partisan divide on the issue. A majority (56%) of Republicans oppose a gas tax increase, and a majority (57%) of Democrats support a gas tax increase. Geographically, support for a gas tax increase is being driven by Dane County (63% in favor/33% oppose) and the rest of the Madison media market (62% in favor/36% oppose). Milwaukee County (43% in favor/50% oppose), the rest of the Milwaukee media market (45% in favor/54% oppose) and the rest of the state (47% in favor/50% oppose) all have more voters in opposition to a gas tax increase.
• A majority (60%) said they would not support policies to combat global warming if it resulted in thousands of job losses. Additionally, two-thirds of respondents (67%) said they would not support a $25 increase in their electricity bill to pay for global warming regulations. Last year, 64 percent of voters said they would not support a $50 increase to pay for such regulations.
• On other policies, 78 percent of Wisconsin voters support school choice, 81 percent believe students should be responsible for paying back their own student loan debt and 84 percent favor financial incentives for internships, apprenticeships or job shadowing.
The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percent.
“Confidence in Wisconsin’s economy continues to grow for Wisconsin voters, a sign that the policies coming out of Madison are moving our state in the right direction,” said Kurt R. Bauer, WMC President/CEO. “However, voters are still wary about ever-increasing health care costs thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the state’s burdensome tax climate and government regulations that will hike the cost of energy. Policymakers should continue to be mindful of this moving forward.”