Poll finds optimism on future of Obamacare, state economy

The new Wisconsin Economic Scorecard poll done in cooperation with WisBusiness.com shows optimism about the future state economy and the future prospects of Obamacare but pessimism about current economic conditions in the Badger State.

The quarterly poll of Wisconsin residents is conducted by the UW-Milwaukee Center for Urban Initiatives and Research in cooperation with WisBusiness.com and Milwaukee Public Radio (WUWM 89.7). This survey, done Dec. 2-5, surveyed 498 Wisconsin residents via random digit dialing of landlines and mobile telephone numbers resulting in a plus or minus 4.4 percentage point margin of error. Some questions surveyed only those who said they were registered voters; the margin of error for those questions is slightly higher.

According to the poll, most Wisconsin voters (56 percent) feel it is too soon to tell whether the Affordable Care Act is a failure or not, and those who think current problems with the law will be fixed (53 percent) outnumber those who do not (43 percent). But about 52 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin oppose the health care law, while 39 percent support it (9 percent said they “don’t know” or have no opinion). However, pollster Joe Cera says “a meaningful proportion of those who oppose the health care reform law do so because they feel it does not go far enough.”

When it comes to Wisconsin’s future economic performance, those who expect the economy to “get better” over the next year (38 percent) continue to outnumber those who feel the economy will “get worse” over the same timeframe (14 percent). The largest proportion of state residents (48 percent) continue to expect relative economic stability over the next year. But just 35 percent describe Wisconsin’s recent economic performance in positive terms. Among working-age Wisconsin residents, only those from households with a total annual income of $80,000 or more are likely to describe their personal financial situations in positive terms.

And respondents are split on whether they’re satisfied with the pace of job creation — 7 percent say they are “very satisfied,” 43 percent are “somewhat satisfied,” 26 percent say they are “somewhat dissatisfied,” and 24 percent report being “very dissatisfied.” In the third quarter poll, 48 percent were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied.

In other results:

— Over three quarters (76 percent) of registered voters support an increase in Wisconsin’s minimum wage. A state minimum wage hike has support from bipartisan majorities as well as a majority of the business owners surveyed.

— The proposed Menominee tribal casino in Kenosha now enjoys support from 53 percent of registered voters in the state (up from 44 percent last quarter), while 32 percent oppose. Most of those who oppose the casino (52 percent) do so because they are generally opposed to more gambling in the state. Just 22 percent oppose the casino on economic grounds, while 26 percent oppose the casino for some other reason.

— When compared with last year, those planning to spend less this holiday season outnumber those who say they will spend more 36 percent to 12 percent (51 percent plan to spend about the same).

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* See the poll analysis