Little Surprise: Poll Shows Wisconsin Divided About Mining


A new poll indicates shrinking support for a bill aimed at easing state mining regulations. The poll also shows concerns about the environment are more prevalent than the wish for mining jobs.

A quarterly UW-Milwaukee poll called the Wisconsin Economic Scorecard asked two questions about mining last week to more than 600 state residents. One question was about the pro-mining bill advancing at the state capitol. Poll Director Joseph Cera says respondents still favor the measure, but by just two points, compared to 8 points last fall.

“Largely that falls along ideological lines. Republicans, conservatives are more likely to support the bill. Democrats, liberals and moderates are more likely to oppose it.”

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Cera also says for the 16 percent still undecided about the bill, most say environmental protection is paramount.

He also notes that while older men and women are more evenly divided on the mining bill, there’s a big gender gap among younger residents. “Especially [among] people aged 18-29: men are dramatically more likely to support the bill, but 70 percent support, about 30 percent oppose. Young women’s support is very low: only about 20 percent support, while 50 percent oppose.”

A second poll question found that 51 percent feel the possible environmental costs of the proposed iron ore mine near Ashland are more important while only 40 percent say economic benefits should rank first. The margin of error of the UW-Milwaukee poll is about four percent.