By Steve Jagler Special to Published Dec 16, 2009 at 1:11 PM
Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes.
Just like in your business, it is important for us at BizTimes Milwaukee to know our customers. That's why we periodically post survey questions for readers of the BizTimes Daily to answer.

Most of the time, those survey results come back much like we expected, based upon our conversations and other interactions with readers, who tend to be fiscally and socially conservative, with a streak of libertarianism, but with some notable and very forthright progressive exceptions.

For instance, the following unscientific survey results fell pretty much just as we would have presumed they would:

Should the mayor of Milwaukee be allowed to take control of Milwaukee Public Schools? (Yes, 67 percent; No, 33 percent).

Do you expect any more layoffs at your company? (Yes, 44 percent; No, 56 percent).

Will you get vaccinated for the H1N1 virus? (Yes, 45 percent; No, 55 percent).

When the vaccine for the H1N1 virus becomes available, will your company pay the costs to have employees vaccinated? (Yes, 33 percent; No, 67 percent).

Are you worried about the financial health of your bank? (Yes, 37 percent; No, 63 percent).

How much business travel will your company be doing in 2010? (More than in 2009, 47 percent; Less than in 2009, 53 percent).

How much will your household spend on holiday gifts this year? (More than we did last year, 9 percent; Less than we did last year, 48 percent; About the same as we did last year, 43 percent).

Then there are those outlier responses, the ones that seem a bit counterintuitive:

Should Milwaukee's Hoan Bridge be replaced? (Yes, 53 percent; No, 47 percent).

I don't understand the business community's lukewarm response to defend what has become a major link between Downtown and the airport, much less a viable alternative to the freeway congestion. The Hoan also accommodates Milwaukee's harbor for commerce.

Considering the lack of development in the Park East corridor, I would have expected more support for keeping the Hoan Bridge as it is.

Which airline would you prefer to use the next time you fly? (AirTran Airways, 71 percent; Midwest Airlines; 24 percent; Northwest Airlines, 1 percent; and "other," 4 percent.)

It is astounding to see how quickly and aggressively AirTran has solidified a customer base here, and it shows the work Republic Airways needs to do to restore Midwest's brand. (Note, this survey question was asked before Southwest Airlines launched service in Milwaukee.)

Should marijuana use for medical purposes under the direction of a physician be legalized in Wisconsin? (Yes, 80 percent; No, 20 percent).

This one floored me. Must be that libertarian streak shining through.

Do you think operation of the Milwaukee County Zoo should be transferred from the county to an independent nonprofit organization? (Yes, 59 percent; No, 41 percent).

I'm a big fan of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," and the county-run zoo and General Mitchell International Airport don't seem to be broken in any way. In fact, they're world class.

Do you believe that access to basic health care in America is a privilege or a right? (It's a privilege, 36 percent; It's a right, 64 percent).

This was the most surprising poll result of all. The answers imply overwhelming support for a health care system that provides universal care. My guess is that many readers, like me, would feel uncomfortable arbitrarily deciding which sick American kids go to bed tonight untreated and which ones will get medicine and treatment, simply based upon their parents' level of insurance coverage.

Steve Jagler Special to

Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes in Milwaukee and is past president of the Milwaukee Press Club. BizTimes provides news and operational insight for the owners and managers of privately held companies throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Steve has won several journalism awards as a reporter, a columnist and an editor. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

When he is not pursuing the news, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristi, and their two sons, Justin and James. Steve can be reached at