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Wisconsin poll finds ‘unsettling’ feelings about government

By SCOTT BAUER
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A “very unsettling” majority of Wisconsin residents thinks both state and national government is broken, and there is also a growing feeling that the state is on the wrong track, the latest Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday found.

The poll also found dropping approval ratings for Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and steady ratings for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. About a third of respondents said they weren’t confident in the results of the 2020 election and a wide majority of Republicans who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 said they have no plans to get inoculated.

The poll of 807 registered voters was conducted between Aug. 3 and Sunday. It had a margin of error of 3.8%.

On the question of whether government in Wisconsin is working as intended or broken, only 32% said it was working while 60% said it was broken. The numbers were even worse for the federal government, with just 10% saying it was working while 84% said it was broken.

“That is a very depressing number,” said the pollster Charles Franklin. “Wisconsin is depressing enough, but Washington is far worse. … That’s very, very unsettling.”

The margin of error on those questions, which were each asked to half of the sample, was 5.4%.

Just over half of survey respondents, 51%, said they thought the state was on the wrong track and 38% said it was headed in the right direction. That was down considerably from March 2020 when 30% said the state was on the wrong track and 61% said it was headed in the right direction.

The poll comes amid a surge in coronavirus cases due to the more contagious delta variant and a push by Republicans to investigate results of the 2020 election. Former President Donald Trump was defeated by President Joe Biden by just over 20,000 votes, but Trump supporters have pushed for a probe into whether the election was conducted fairly and securely despite no evidence of widespread fraud and numerous court rulings upholding the results.

The poll found that 60% were very or somewhat confident in the accuracy of the vote counting following the 2020 election in Wisconsin, with 38% saying they were not at all, or not very, confident. The numbers were higher in Wisconsin, with 67% saying they were confident and 31% not.

But when broken down by party, only 22% of Republicans said they were confident in the results nationally while 94% of Democrats were confident.

“The partisan divide here is enormous,” Franklin said.

The partisan divide was also high when it comes to getting the coronavirus vaccine. Only 45% of Republicans said they were vaccinated compared with 87% of Democrats. Of those not vaccinated, 83% of

Republicans said they definitely or likely will not get vaccinated, compared with 64% of Democrats.

On the approval rating for office holders, 49% approved of the job being done by Biden while 46% disapproved. That tracks with national polling. Evers’ approval rating was 50% with 43% disapproving, the same as October.

Johnson had the worst numbers, with 35% viewing him favorably and 42% unfavorably. In October, 38% had a favorable opinion of Johnson while 36% was unfavorable. His lowest approval rating was in November 2015 when 27% viewed him favorably and 38% were unfavorable.

Over that time Johnson has become one of the most prominent questioners of the coronavirus vaccine, results of the 2020 election and who was to blame for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Both Evers and Johnson are up for reelection next year, although Johnson hasn’t said yet whether he will seek a third term.

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