New poll shows strong support for implementing initiative process in the Badger State

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November 22, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

MADISON, Wisconsin: A new poll commissioned by the Citizens in Charge Foundation and the Madison-based MacIver Institute for Public Policy shows strong support for implementing a full-scale initiative process in the State of Wisconsin[1].

In a 500 person survey, 66 percent of Wisconsin voters support initiative and referendum. Only 20 percent of voters surveyed were undecided on whether Wisconsin should have an initiative process like nearby Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri have. Paul Jacob, President of the Citizens in Charge Foundation, said: "we would like to see the initiative process at every level of government..the voters want to see there be some process for them to check government directly at the ballot box."[1]

However, news of the poll was met with skepticism by Wisconsin political experts. Dennis Dresang, a Political Science Professor-Emiritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said: "it's a real Pandora's box. It sounds better than in fact it turns out to be." Dresang also questioned the use of voter initiatives by saying: "it's understandable that people are tired with the lack of moderation and deliberate problem solving, but I would counsel that we focus on the issues of partisanship and posturing primarily, rather than attacking government institutions that generally have worked and have produced pretty sound public policy."[1]

Under Wisconsin law, advisory referendum questions can be placed on the ballot while the State Legislature must approve a joint resolution for two consecutive sessions in order to qualify a statewide ballot measure[1].

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