A new poll by the Marquette University Law School shows shrinking support for state closures and Wisconsin’s general response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Support across the state for COVID-19 public safety measures has dropped in recent weeks, compared to the start of the pandemic measures in Wisconsin, according to the poll. But the poll still finds the majority of registered voters support the various measures and closures.
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The May survey found 69% of participants thought it was appropriate for the state to shut down schools, businesses and general public gatherings. This number dropped by almost 20% from a survey in late March, which showed 86% thought the closures were warranted.
Additionally, approval of Gov. Tony Evers’ response to the pandemic declined from 76% approving in March to 64% approving in May. But, 53% of respondents said they trusted Evers more than the state legislature to take the lead on loosening restrictions and reopening the state.
The Marquette poll also shows a decline in general concern over COVID-19 and perceptions of personal risk during the pandemic since March. While support for safety measures did decrease, a greater majority of respondents said they expect the pandemic to go on much longer before activities can return to business as usual.
Thirty-one percent supported recent protests to reopen the state, and 63% opposed. Wisconsinites’ views on reopening the state starkly divided on a partisan basis, according to the poll.
The poll shows the partisan divide increased “substantially” in the six week period from March to May. In the March poll, 75% or more of every partisan group thought the closures were appropriate. The May poll showed a greater difference among Republicans, with now 43% saying these closures were an overreaction, compared to 13% in March.
Democrats’ support for the closures dropped slightly from 95% in March to 90% in May. The partisan divide stands on perception of Evers’ work handling the pandemic, with 60% of Republicans disproving of Evers’ response.
The poll also showed support for President Trump’s handling of the pandemic was divided heavily along partisan lines. But, support for Trump’s efforts among Republicans, those who lean Republican and independents saw some decline from March to May.
A majority of Wisconsin respondents, about 56%, said they were more concerned about reopening too soon, opposed to 40% who said they were more worried the state would not reopen soon enough.