April 04. 2012 11:00AM - Last modified: April 04. 2012 11:52AM

Inaugural Wisconsin Economic Scorecard finds some optimism

The inaugural Wisconsin Economic Scorecard conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Center for Urban Initiatives and Research (CUIR) finds some optimism among state residents.

The Wisconsin Economic Scorecard is a new quarterly poll of Wisconsin residents conducted by the CUIR in cooperation with Milwaukee Public Radio station WUWM and WisBusiness.com. The survey measures perceptions of the health of Wisconsin’s economy as well as personal economic circumstances of Wisconsin residents.
Conducted late last month, the survey found state residents had some optimism as high state and national unemployment rates ticked down.
* Nearly half (45 percent) of Wisconsin residents expect Wisconsin’s economy to improve over the next year, while relatively few (12 percent) expect the economy to get worse.
* Most residents say their personal financial circumstances are fair (36 percent) or good (37 percent).
* A majority of residents (52 percent) expect their personal financial situations to stay the same over the next year, while 36 percent expect their personal financial situations to improve.
However, the survey also found many state residents have been affected by a slowly recovering economy.
Nearly half (48 percent) of residents have experienced at least one personal financial problem in the past six months such as: affording rent or mortgage; keeping a job; getting a loan or credit; saving or paying for retirement; or paying for utilities.
During the past six months nearly half (47 percent) of residents have decreased spending on non-necessities like entertainment, restaurants, or vacations, while spending has remained the same for most of the other half (46 percent) of residents.
Most Wisconsin residents believe state elected officials are instrumental to the state of Wisconsin's economy.
A large majority of residents (76 percent) believe a Wisconsin governor has a major impact on Wisconsin’s economy, while 64 percent believe the state legislature has a major impact on Wisconsin’s economy.
“Wisconsin residents clearly feel that their elected representatives have a substantial impact on the state economy, and the current political situation is coloring economic evaluations. That said, Wisconsin residents are generally optimistic about the state economy as a whole and their personal financial situations over the next year,” said Joe Cera, a researcher and manager of the CUIR Survey Center at UWM.
The inaugural poll is a random digit dial telephone survey of 545 Wisconsin residents from March 26-30. The margin of error is 4.2 percent.
For more go online at www.wisconsineconomicscorecard.org.