2021 Wisconsin Issues Poll

Publication date: January 31, 2022
Written by: Stefani Buhajla 

The Center for Excellence in Polling recently surveyed likely Wisconsin voters on important issues including occupational licensing, Medicaid, and unemployment benefits.

Voters favor commonsense licensing requirements

In the Badger State, opinions on occupational licensing reform are not strictly divided along party lines.

Rather, there is substantial support among all voters for policies that will make it easier for people to work without burdensome, redundant, and expensive licensing requirements. Notably, more than half of all likely voters (55%)—including half of all likely Democrat voters—say they support allowing professionals to work under a Wisconsin state license without having to obtain additional local licenses.

Respondents also favored a commonsense approach to evaluating new and existing licensing requirements across the state.


…of all likely voters support requiring the state to review all newly proposed occupational licensing requirements before they are implemented to determine whether they are necessary.


support requiring the state to periodically review all existing occupational licensing requirements to determine whether they are still necessary. Notably, a majority of those who identify as Democrats and Independents (65%) support this measure.

More than half of all voters also support universal licensing recognition, a practice already in place in several states neighboring Wisconsin: 64% say they support allowing Wisconsin residents with valid and current licenses in another state to be granted the same license in Wisconsin, provided they pass background checks and pay required licensing fees.

Wisconsin wants to protect the Medicaid safety net

Survey responses indicate that Medicaid is an issue divided along more slightly partisan lines. Still, there is strong support for measures that will improve program integrity and ensure those receiving Medicaid benefits are truly eligible.


…of all likely voters support cross-checking Medicaid data against other existing state and federal data to help ensure those receiving benefits are truly eligible. While there is stronger support among Republicans (82%) and Independents (77%), more than half of all Democrats also say they support the measure (56%).


…of all likely voters support allowing the state to automatically remove individuals from Medicaid when they are no longer eligible, including nearly half of Democrats and 68% of Independents.

Most polarizing was the question of work requirements for Medicaid. Half of Democrat voters say they oppose requiring able-bodied, working-age adults under the age of 65 to work, train, or volunteer at least 20 hours per week as a condition of eligibility for Medicaid (50%). But a majority of Republicans (63%) and Independents (58%) support such Medicaid work requirements.

Responses show slightly less enthusiasm on these issues among Democrat voters, but there is still ample opportunity for reform when it comes to securing Wisconsin’s Medicaid safety net from fraud and improper payments.

Unemployment program integrity is popular

Survey results show that Wisconsin voters also support program integrity in the state’s unemployment program.

An overwhelming majority support requiring the state to verify whether individuals receiving unemployment benefits are truly looking for work (72%). This includes more than half of all Democrat voters and more than three-quarters of Independents.

Respondents indicate strong support in Wisconsin for other measures that will root out fraud and abuse to preserve unemployment trust funds for the truly needy.


…of all likely voters say they support cross-checking the unemployment database against other existing state and federal databases to help ensure those who are receiving unemployment benefits are truly eligible for them. Notably, fewer than one-quarter of Democrats oppose such a measure (22%).


support requiring the state to conduct further review of unemployment applications if they appear to be a duplicate application, come from out of state, or originate in a foreign country.

Voters in Wisconsin are collectively open to reforms that will remove barriers to work for professionals, preserve the Medicaid safety net, and improve welfare program integrity.