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Wisconsinites Remain Sour about Bush, Direction of Country

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A mid-June Badger Poll, conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, finds the vast majority of Wisconsin residents are quite pessimistic about both national politics as well as the direction of the nation.

Only 33 percent of Wisconsinites are satisfied with the direction of the United States—virtually the same results found by the Badger Poll in a survey conducted in a late October 2006 (32 percent) in advance of that fall's general election. Sixty-three percent are disatisfied.

In addition to having strong concerns about foreign policy and the situation in Iraq, Badger State residents have a particularly sour view about the state of the nation's economy, with only 16 percent expecting economic conditions to get better during the next year, while more than double that amount (37 percent) expecting it to get worse. National economic forecasting was much rosier for Wisconsinites in March 2002 (56 percent 'better'), October 2004 (46 percent) and May 2005 (31 percent).

President Bush's approval rating—at 30 percent—mirrors that found in several recent polls both nationally and in the state of Wisconsin. However, although Congress gets fairly low marks nationally, at 41 percent Wisconsinites have much a higher approval rating of the legislative branch. The poll also found that by more than a four-to-one margin, Wisconsin residents believe the level of ethics and honest in Washington, D.C. has fallen (45 percent) during the Bush presidency compared to risen (10 percent). About half (44 percent) feel things have stayed about the same.

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Political Crumbs

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73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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