WPPA

The WPPA Public Poll on COVID-19 Issues

WPPA Survey Finds Overwhelming Statewide Support for Law Enforcement and ‘Stay at Home Orders’

May 19, 2020

(MADISON) – The state’s largest law enforcement group – the Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA) – released today the results of a statewide poll commissioned through the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute to gauge public perception on a number of issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. Among other things, the WPPA poll found widespread approval of how law enforcement is responding to the current health crisis. Additionally, in results that mirror a recent poll conducted by Marquette University Law School, the WPPA survey found that a significant majority of Wisconsin residents supported the extension of Gov. Evers’ ‘Safer at Home’ order, which was overruled by the state supreme court late last week.

According to a summary of the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute poll:

  • As of May 12, most Wisconsin residents (74%) approved of the safer-at-home order. Forty-eight percent strongly approved, 26% somewhat approved, and 25% somewhat or strongly disapproved. A chief concern among those who disapproved were concerns over the negative economic impact from delayed reopening of workplaces.
  • Recent protests of safer-at-home policies were supported by only 26% of Wisconsinites. A significant majority (72%) indicated that they opposed the protests.
  • More than 70% of Wisconsin residents (34% strongly agree) agreed that first responders and police officers should receive hazard pay or additional compensation given their increased risk of exposure…
  • A significant majority of the public indicated its approval (77%) of law enforcement’s pandemic response, with more than 25% say their local police force is performing above average and only 6% say performance has been below average.

“Everyone wants their lives to go back to normal, and that is especially true of our officers that are working longer shifts during the current health crisis, and who do so at great risk of exposure to themselves and their families,” said WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer. “Despite that, the public continues to support the stay-at-home order recently rescinded by the high court. It’s also clear that the public values the jobs our officers are doing and the risks they are assuming to keep us safe.”

The WPPA poll was conducted online from May 1-12 with 500 participants. The results were drawn from an online sample of Wisconsin residents over the age of 18, and the sample was weighted to reflect the racial-ethnic, gender, and age demographic of Wisconsin adults with access to the Internet. The margin of error is +/- 4.5%.

With regard to the survey’s questions regarding the “safer at home” order, the WPPA results generally mirror the COVID-19 questions in the poll recently conducted by Marquette University Law School, which found that “69 percent thought it was appropriate to close schools and businesses and restrict public gatherings.”

The polling released by the WPPA today is part of a more comprehensive annual statewide survey that the organization will be releasing soon on a broad range of questions relating to job performance, community priorities and controversial issues including, race, school shootings, drugs and immigration.

With more than 10,000 members from over 300 local association affiliates, the WPPA is Wisconsin’s largest law-enforcement group. Its mission is to protect and promote public safety, as well as the interests of the dedicated men and women that serve to provide it.