An exclusive Spectrum News/IPSOS Poll released Wednesday shows Wisconsinites have COVID-19 top of mind as they head down the stretch in perhaps one of the most consequential elections in their lifetime.
Poll respondents were asked what they considered to be the main problems facing Wisconsin today. By a wide margin, 63% said COVID-19/coronavirus was their top concern. The other top five concerns, in order, were crime or violence at 26%, healthcare at 22%, unemployment at 20% and racial injustice at 19%.
When it comes to the plight of farmers, those polled were overwhelmingly supportive of agricultural subsidies and programs to help them.
Roughly eight in 10 respondents -- 82% -- support direct-aid payments to Wisconsin farmers that have suffered economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and safety net programs to help farms stay in business (79%). Those two items received broad support regardless of partisanship, gender, region, age or education status.
Fifty-two percent of poll respondents supported farmers receiving a government-regulated minimum price of raw milk purchased from state dairy farmers, and a large number of respondents -- 43% -- feel climate change has had a negative impact on agriculture.
Asked to rate the overall job performance of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, 52% approved while 36% disapproved. The poll further broke down Evers’ performance on COVID-19, jobs and the economy, crime and public safety, political and social unrest, plans for sending children back to school, climate change and political division within the state.
Evers received his highest approval rating on his handling of COVID-19 with 52%, and his lowest approval on his handling of political and social unrest at 45%.
Regarding the efforts to recall Evers, one-third support the effort and 50% oppose. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans -- 62% of respondents -- support this effort, compared to 13% of Democrats and 26% of Independents.
Views around racial justice are complex and divided by partisan lines.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents -- a majority -- agree racism is a significant problem. And 55% of respondents agree that police use excessive force against Black Americans. However, just one in three -- 35% of respondents -- believe the recent protests will bring about positive change, compared to 49% who disagree. Most of those polled are also opposed to reducing their local police department’s budget.
When it comes to the Black Lives Matter movement, overall 51% of poll respondents support it. But there is nearly a 60 percentage-point difference between Democrats and Republicans (80% vs. 23%, respectively). There are similar wide gulfs between Democrats and Republicans on other attitudes toward race.
Asked if they believed their vote will be counted in the presidential election, over half believed that no matter what method used their vote would be counted. But it was not an overwhelming majority depending upon which method was utilized. Eighty-one percent of respondents believed their vote would be counted if they voted in person on Election Day. The number dropped to 74% if they voted in person before Election Day. Seventy-percent believed their vote will be counted if they dropped off their ballot at an election office or polling place, but only 60% of respondents believed their vote would be counted if done via mail or absentee ballot.
Over the next several days, the Spectrum News team will dig deeper into these and other questions that were asked in the poll.
Read the full poll results here.