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Poll finds state government lacks trust factor

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Wisconsin state government is missing something - the trust of state residents.

In a poll of state residents by the Midwest Democracy Network, 58 percent of respondents said they trust the state government to do what is right only some of the time.

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Meanwhile, 9 percent of those polled believe state government will almost never do what is right.

A third of respondents said they think state government will do what is right most of the time.

While these numbers are not good, they are better than other Midwestern states, according to MDN.

Overall, 69 percent of Midwesterners in other states say they trust their state government only some of the time or almost never.

The poll was conducted from April 21 - May 4, with 400 interviews in the state.

According to MDN, the distrust Wisconsinites have of their government has been consistent over the past two years.

But the poll also found that state residents believe things can get better and that it's worth getting money out of politics.

A third of Wisconsinites are concerned about money in politics, however the poll found there are other things that concern folks in the Badger state more.

Topping that list is gas prices. Sixty-six percent of respondents put this as their main concern.

Next on the list were state taxes, which 39 percent of residents say is a concern.

Next on the list was the state's economy, which 34 percent of respondents also list as a concern.

Health care, public schools and corruption in the state were the bottom three concerns on the list.

To rebuild trust, 96 percent of respondents agreed that right-to-know laws would give residents more access to state government and decisions.

Ninety-three percent agreed that judges should be required to disclose any campaign contributions they get from individuals or groups who appear before them in court.

Most also feel that judges should step aside in any case that involves anyone who has contributed to their campaign.

Putting in place tougher campaign finance laws that limit the amount of money special interest groups can give to a candidate or political party was an idea that was supported by 90 percent of respondents.

Another idea supported by respondents was to require special interest groups that run paid TV ads during elections to disclose where their money comes from. Fifty-eight percent of respondents thought this was a good idea.

The full report can be found on the Web site of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign at www.wisdc.org

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