Wisconsin voters have generally positive view of U.S. economy, poll shows

Registered voters in the state have a generally positive view of how the national economy has performed over the last year, according to the latest Marquette University Law School Poll results. 

But the outlook for the coming 12 months isn’t as bright, poll results show. 

Thirty-seven percent of registered voters said the economy has improved over the past year, while 25 percent said it’s gotten worse and 34 percent said they see no change. 

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, 26 percent said the economy will improve while 37 percent expect it to get worse. And 33 percent expect the economy to stay the same. 

Expectations have become less optimistic compared to last year, when the average future outlook was 14.7 percent net positive. In 2019, the average outlook has been net negative, at -3 percent. 

The latest August poll is the second this year to find net pessimism about the next year’s economic outlook. The previous net negative result was in January 2019, when the federal government was shut down. 

Across poll respondents, 49 percent approved of how President Trump is handling the economy, while 50 percent disapproved. But political views strongly influenced how individuals answered the question on the nation’s economic outlook. 

Of Republicans and right-leaning independents, 41 percent think the economy will improve over the next 12 months, while 42 percent expect no change and 12 percent expect a downturn. 

But only 12 percent of Dems and left-leaning independents think the economy will improve over the next year, while 23 percent think it will hold steady and 63 percent believe the economy will get worse. 

Among centrist independents, 21 percent expect the economy to improve, 37 percent expect it to stay the same and 33 percent expect it to fare worse in the next year. 

Poll results were gathered starting Aug. 25, just two days after Trump announced on Twitter that tariffs on Chinese imports would increase. Respondents were asked if they think Trump’s tariff strategy helps, hurts or does nothing for the economy. 

Thirty percent said tariffs are good for the economy, while 46 percent said they harm the economy, and 17 percent said they don’t make a difference either way. 

But as with the question on the future of the economy, responses to the tariffs question differed based on party affiliation. 

Among Republicans and right-leaners, 47 percent said tariffs help the economy, 21 percent said they hurt the economy, and 22 percent said they don’t make a difference. 

Among Democrats and left-leaners, only 12 percent said tariffs are good for the economy, while 72 percent said they’re bad. And 13 percent said the tariffs don’t matter. 

True independents were more split — 34 percent in favor of tariffs, 47 percent opposed, and 15 percent ambivalent. 

Last month’s poll also tapped voters on water quality issues, with 43 percent of respondents saying they’re very or somewhat concerned about the safety of their community’s water supply, while 57 percent logged little or no concern. 

More than half approved of the way the state is protecting the safety of public drinking water, saying it’s performance was excellent or good. Forty-nine percent said the state is doing a fair or poor job. 

And 74 percent of respondents agreed the state should fund replacements for lead water pipes due to associated health risks, while 16 percent said the cost should be paid by the owner of the residence to which the pipes connect. 

Marquette pollsters interviewed 800 registered Wisconsin voters by phone between Aug. 25 and 29. 

See the full poll results: http://law.marquette.edu/poll/