State Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) published the results of his public opinion survey in his Nov. 25 electronic newsletter. The survey was amateurish, apparently designed more to get the results Marklein wanted than to honestly assess public opinion. Distribution was haphazard in that the survey was distributed via a news release that very few newspapers published, and Marklein’s newsletter. No attempt was made to obtain a representative sample of the people in his district.
When the results did not turn out as Marklein hoped, he ignored them. For example, when 50 percent of the survey respondents opposed reforming the Government Accounting Board and only 31 percent supported it, Marklein voted for GAB reform. An open records request by McFarland retiree Sheila Plotkin revealed that Marklein received 110 documented comments opposed to dismantling the GAB and only two in support from Oct. 7 through Oct. 29, and again Marklein ignored the overwhelming majority. When I asked him if he had other information to support his vote, Marklein did not respond. Whomever he is representing, it is not the majority of his district.
Two very controversial issues that Marklein supports did not appear in the survey at all: campaign finance reform and the school voucher program. Marklein apparently does not care how his constituents feel about these issues. He supports them regardless.
In his Nov. 25 newsletter Marklein also wrote, “I hope that we will see increased participation in the political process over the next several years.” If Marklein did not ignore his constituents’ wishes they might be more inclined to participate.