Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Great Divide

The latest polling done by a national survey research firm for the Midwest Democracy Network unmistakably shows that Wisconsin residents believe the state is on the wrong track and elected officials can't be trusted to do the right thing. More than anything, the poll shows people want change and they strongly support reform.

State residents want stronger disclosure and right-to-know laws so they can see what their government and the special interests that control it are up to. They want lobbyists put on a shorter leash. They don't want politicians to draw the districts they run in, but they do want tougher campaign finance laws and tighter limits on campaign contributions. And they want publicly financed elections, strongly believing that government would work better if their taxes paid for election campaigns instead of donations from wealthy special interests.

The fact that their own elected representatives steadfastly refuse to give them what they clearly want explains plenty about why most Wisconsinites believe state officials can't be trusted to do what's right.

The Midwest Democracy Network poll is not the first to detect this disconnect between citizens and the people they've elected to represent them. The conservative Wisconsin Policy Research Institute has found the same thing. So has the St. Norbert College Survey Center in its polling for Wisconsin Public Radio. The University of Wisconsin Survey Center's Badger Poll echoes the findings of these other polls.

This is why people like David Sirota are saying conditions are ripe for a popular revolt.

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