The MacIver Poll: Sour Economy Remains Top Concern for Wisconsin Families

MADISON – The economy remains the number one concern for state residents, with 64% saying it is the single most important problem they face today according to a new poll released today by the MacIver Institute for Public Policy.

“The economy is the only issue right now,” said Gene Ulm a partner with Public Opinion Strategies, the firm that conducted the study for the MacIver Institute.  “People are worried about their money, they’re worried about their job, and they’re not sure when things are going to get better.”

When asked “what is the single most important problem” facing them and their families, 64% of state residents said the economy – far more than any other issue.  15% of residents said their top concern was health care while 6% said taxes.  Even fewer residents chose crime, education, state and local government or the environment as the most important problem.  The portion of residents listing the economy as their top concern has risen 17 percentage points since a similar survey was conducted in May of 2008.

Most say state and nation are on the wrong track

“People are upset; they’re angry; they think things have gotten seriously off track” said Ulm.  “The overall mood remains sour.”  Indeed, 65% of those surveyed say things in this country “have gotten off on the wrong track.”   An almost equal number – 64% – say things in Wisconsin are on the “wrong track.”  Just 28% of state residents think the country is going in the right direction while 29% believe the state is headed in the right direction.

That negativity carries over into their outlook for the future. Only 37% of the respondents feel the economy will be better one year from now. 43% feel things will be about the same, and 17% think the economic situation will be even worse in 12-months.

The survey of 500 likely voters in Wisconsin was conducted in late February, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.38%.

Stimulus was too big but Wisconsinites hopeful it will work

Voters aren’t quite sure what to make of the Federal Stimulus plan.  A slim majority believe the package will help, but nearly the same percentage of respondents believe the package spends too much money. 53% of likely voters say the federal plan costs too much.  31% say the cost is just about right.

At the same time, 52% of those surveyed believe the stimulus plan will help.  25% believe it will make things worse, and 19% say the plan will have little or no impact on the current crisis.  Breaking down the numbers, Democrats are more likely to feel the stimulus plan will help the economy, and Republicans are more likely to believe the plan will make things worse.

Ulm’s firm is one of the nation’s largest political and public issue survey firms. They were commissioned by the MacIver Institute to conduct the survey.

Link to PowerPoint Presentation