Poll: Support high for Evers’ medical marijuana, Medicaid expansion plans but not gas tax increase

Poll: GOP leaders not interested in cooperation
Poll: Support high for Evers’ medical marijuana, Medicaid expansion plans but not gas tax increase
Wisconsin Public Television

New poll results show more than half the state supports Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ plans to legalize medical marijuana, accept Medicaid expansion money and increase the minimum wage. But support is much smaller for a gas tax hike and freezing enrollment at private voucher schools.

The new Marquette Law School Poll released Wednesday also showed more than half the state believes Republican legislative leaders are not interested in cooperating with Evers, while 37 percent believe he’s not interested in getting along with them.

Marijuana legalization

Among all respondents, 59 percent of all respondents say marijuana should be legal, while 36 percent say it should not be. Support is higher for medical marijuana with a doctor’s note, with 83 percent saying it should be legal and 12 percent saying it should not be.

For medical purposes, with a doctor’s prescription, 83% say marijuana should be legal, 12% say not. #mulawpoll

— MULawPoll (@MULawPoll) April 10, 2019

Evers’ budget plan included proposals to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has said he opposes medical marijuana and isn’t sure such a law could pass the chamber. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has said he personally is open to legalizing medical marijuana but believed Evers’ plan went too far.

Poll director Charles Franklin said public opinion on marijuana has undergone a major change in recent years, and Democrats are more supportive than Republicans.

Are Evers and legislative leaders trying to get along?

The poll, which surveyed 800 registered Wisconsin voters April 3-7, showed 57 percent of people polled say the legislative leaders aren’t interested in trying to get along with the new governor, while 25 percent say they are trying to cooperate.

On the flip side, 37 percent say Evers is not interested in getting along with his new GOP colleagues, while 48 percent say he is interested in cooperating with them.

Medicaid expansion

Should Wisconsin accept federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage? The Marquette Law School poll shows 70 percent of registered voters polled say yes, while 23 percent say no.

Evers has pledged to accept the federal dollars, while Republican leaders have called the idea a “non-starter.”

Gas tax hike

When asked about another one of Evers’ budget priorities, a gas tax increase, 39 percent support increases in fees to pay for more road and highway work.

Fifty-seven percent say they prefer to keep gas taxes and vehicle registration fees at their current level.

In his budget proposal, Evers proposed to raise the gas tax by $0.08 a gallon. The gas tax would also continue to increase under Evers’ plan, as the tax would be indexed to the consumer price index starting in April 2020. The budget also increases fees on heavy trucks and vehicle titles, as well as collecting a hybrid vehicle fee.

Assembly Republicans and Senate Republicans are split on the issue, with Senate leaders saying they won’t consider a gas tax increase, while Assembly leaders say it could be an area of compromise.

Minimum wage

Fifty-seven percent of poll respondents support increasing the state’s minimum wage, while 38 percent oppose the idea.

Evers’ plan would increase the state’s hourly minimum wage by a dollar by the start of 2019. Currently, Wisconsin workers are paid a mandatory $7.25, which would increase to up to $8.25 by the start of 2020 and $9 by the beginning of 2021.

57% prefer to keep gas taxes and vehicle registration fees at current level, 39% support increases in fees to pay for more road and highway work. #mulawpoll

— MULawPoll (@MULawPoll) April 10, 2019

Republicans have largely pushed back on any increase in the minimum wage, saying that it could be detrimental to business.

Freezing voucher school enrollment

The Marquette Law School poll asked if the number of students in voucher should be frozen and a suspension put on allowing new independent charter schools. Forty-one percent said yes, while 46 percent said no.

Evers is proposing capping enrollment in private school voucher programs. He’s a longtime critic of voucher schools.

Republican legislative leaders came out against the proposal.

Get your weather forecast from people who actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.