March 10, 2011- The poll released this past weekend by a conservative Wisconsin think tank did more than indicate a preference for compromise among Wisconsin adults. It also includes evidence that the enthusiasm gap favoring Republicans in Wisconsin in 2010 has vanished.
The survey of 603 adults, conducted by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) between Feb. 27 and March 1, included a question asking respondents whether they are likely to vote in the 2012 elections. Poll respondents typically overstate their true voting intentions on these sorts of questions, and the WPRI survey is no exception: Nearly four out of five respondents (79 percent) said they are "almost certain to vote," while another 8 percent said they will "probably vote," even though the actual turnout among eligible adults in 2008 was 72.1 percent. Nevertheless, these responses provide a crude indicator of intentions, as those who say they intend to vote are more likely to turn out.
Thus, when WPRI asked a similar question on a survey conducted in June of last year, they found fewer Wisconsin adults (57 percent) who said they were "almost certain" to vote in the 2010 general elections. Again, actual turnout among eligible adults was even smaller (51.7 percent), but the responses are a guide that help pollsters sort out the most likely and least likely voters.
In June of last year, for example, WPRI found a considerable gap in vote certainty between Republicans (67 percent) and Democrats (58 percent). But the just completed survey shows roughly the same number of Republicans (85 percent) and Democrats (86 percent) who say they are "almost certain" to vote next year.