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Economy a concern say Wisconsinites

The economy is on most people's minds, according to a Badger Poll released Tuesday, and most Wisconsinites think we're in for tough times.

According to the poll, 66 percent of Wisconsinites think the state is in bad times, and nearly half of the respondents think things will get worse in the coming year.

More than half of the poll's respondents think the national economy will get worse and only 19 percent think it will get better.

Despite those fears, only 17 percent felt that they were either extremely or quite worried about paying their bills.

However, 31 percent of those polled who live in households with incomes less than $40,000 a year said they are worried about being able to pay their bills.

In western and northwestern Wisconsin the poll found that 35 percent of the residents shared this concern.

Most Wisconsinites are not concerned about losing their jobs though.

The poll found that 72 percent of residents aren't concerned about getting a pink slip.

Residents in western and northwestern Wisconsin followed state trends with 68 percent saying they aren't worried about getting laid off.

Overall, 23 percent of respondents felt that the economy and jobs was the most important problem facing the state. Taxes were next in line with 19 percent.

That is a switch from December when the economy was in the No. 2 spot under taxes.

The third most important problem facing the state, according to those who responded, is oil and gas prices.

The poll found that 91 percent of Wisconsinites feel that gas prices are extremely or quite problematic.

Falling home values don't seem to be a concern to state residents, according to the poll.

Overall, 49 percent of respondents are not concerned about seeing the value of their home drop.

In western and northwestern Wisconsin 24 percent say they are somewhat concerned while 43 percent say they weren't.

A majority of Wisconsinites say they are concerned about the number of jobs being lost in the state with 58 percent saying that it's extremely or quite problematic.

In western and northwestern Wisconsin 50 percent feel it is a problem while just 2 percent feel there isn't a problem at all.

The Badger Poll was conducted by the University of Wisconsin Survey Center from April 15 to April 24 with results based on 521 respondents.