WISCONSIN POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE
WPRI STATE POLL FINDS MAJORITY OPPOSED TO MILWAUKEE-TO-MADISON RAIL PROJECT
Residents also show misunderstanding of budget issues in state
A majority of Wisconsinites polled between Nov. 15 and Nov. 17 oppose the Milwaukee-to-Madison rail project, and opposition grows slightly as respondents learn more about it, according to a poll sponsored by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.
Slightly over half of respondents (52 percent) expressed opposition and 35 percent expressed support when asked if “Wisconsin should go ahead with the Madison-to-Milwaukee passenger rail project.”
In a separate question, respondents were presented with two different arguments and asked which one came closest to their point of view.
Thirty-six percent sided with the argument stating that “supporters of the passenger rail project say that it is an important addition to the transportation system in Wisconsin and is being paid for by 800 million dollars in federal money. They (supporters) also say that the project will create jobs and that if Wisconsin does not go forward with the project, the money will be redirected to other states.”
Fifty-eight percent sided with the argument that “opponents of the project say that what we need is better roads and that the federal money for the train will not cover the inevitable cost overruns. They (opponents) also say that the project will only create a handful of permanent jobs and that the train would not have enough ridership to pay for its annual operating costs.”
The survey of 615 randomly selected Wisconsin adults conforms in full with the disclosure requirements of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Code of Professional Ethics and Practice and the AAPOR Transparency Initiative. It included cell phone-users and was directed by Ken Goldstein, a UW-Madison political science professor. Goldstein has worked on national network election night coverage in every U.S. federal election since 1988, and is also the co-founder and director of the Big Ten Battleground Poll.
“High speed rail breaks down along partisan lines,” said Goldstein. “In the initial question, a slim majority of Democrats supported the train project, but over 75 percent of Republicans opposed it. A plurality of independents also opposed the project, though they were much more split than the Republicans.”
About Wisconsin Policy Research Institute
“The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Inc., established in 1987, is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit Institute working to engage and energize Wisconsinites and others in discussions and timely action on key public policy issues critical to the State’s future, its growth and prosperity. The Institute’s research and public education activities are directed to identify and promote public policies in Wisconsin which are fair, accountable and cost effective.”