New Marquette Law School Poll finds tight races in Wisconsin presidential primaries

Feingold holds lead over Johnson in U.S. Senate race

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds tight races among Wisconsin voters for both parties’ presidential nominations. In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton receives 45 percent to Bernie Sanders’ 43 percent, with Martin O’Malley at 1 percent support, among those who say that they will vote in the April Democratic primary. In the November Marquette poll, Clinton held 50 percent, with Sanders at 41 percent and O’Malley at 2 percent.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump is supported by 24 percent, followed by Marco Rubio at 18 percent and Ted Cruz at 16 percent, among respondents who say that they will vote in the Republican primary. Ben Carson is backed by 8 percent, with Chris Christie at 5 percent. Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina receive 3 percent each. Jeb Bush and John Kasich are each at 2 percent, with Mike Huckabee at 1 percent and Rick Santorum at 0. Carson led the Republican field in November at 22 percent, with Trump and Rubio each at 19 percent. Cruz was at 9 percent in the November poll.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Russ Feingold is supported by 50 percent of registered voters, with Republican incumbent Ron Johnson receiving 37 percent. In November, Feingold was at 49 percent and Johnson was at 38 percent.

The poll was conducted from January 21 to 24, 2016. The full sample included 806 registered voters interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points. Results for the Republican nomination are based on 313 respondents who say they will vote in the Republican primary in April. Results for the Democratic nomination are based on 312 respondents who say they will vote in the Democratic primary. Both party samples have a margin of error of +/- 6.5 percentage points. In the November poll, primary questions were asked of Republicans and Democrats regardless of their intention to vote in the April primary.

Republican primary voters were asked who they think is most likely to win the Republican nomination, regardless of whom they personally support. Forty-nine percent see Trump as the most likely nominee, followed by Cruz at 20 percent and Rubio at 10 percent. On the Democratic side, 65 percent think Clinton is the most likely nominee, with 27 percent saying Sanders is most likely to win the nomination.

In possible matchups for the November general election, Sanders leads Rubio by 11 points, Cruz by 12, and Trump by 18. Clinton edges Rubio and Cruz by 1 point each while holding a 9‑point margin over Trump:

  • Sanders 49 percent, Rubio 38 percent.
    (November: Sanders 46 percent, Rubio 42 percent.)
  • Sanders 50 percent, Cruz 38 percent.
    (Not asked in November.)
  • Sanders 52 percent, Trump 34 percent.
    (November: Sanders 52 percent, Trump 35 percent.)
  • Clinton 45 percent, Rubio 44 percent.
    (November: Clinton 44 percent, Rubio 45 percent.)
  • Clinton 45 percent, Cruz 44 percent.
    (Not asked in November. August 2015: Clinton 50 percent, Cruz 38 percent.)
  • Clinton 47 percent, Trump 38 percent.
    (November: Clinton 48 percent, Trump 38 percent.)

Substantial percentages of voters continue to lack opinions about the U.S. Senate candidates, with 41 percent saying they haven’t heard enough or don’t have an opinion about Johnson and 25 percent saying the same about Feingold. In November, 35 percent lacked an opinion of Johnson and 22 percent were without a view of Feingold. Johnson is rated favorably by 26 percent and unfavorably by 33 percent, while Feingold receives a 44 percent favorable and 30 percent unfavorable rating. In November, Johnson was rated favorably by 27 percent and unfavorably by 38 percent, while Feingold held a 43 percent favorable and 36 percent unfavorable rating.

Views on state issues
Guns continue to be an issue in both state and national politics. In 2012, three Marquette Law School Polls asked whether respondents favored or opposed “legalizing possession of concealed weapons” while such legislation was under debate. Between 46 and 47 percent supported legalizing concealed carry, while between 49 and 51 percent opposed the proposal. Concealed-carry legislation was passed and became law in 2012.

In the current poll, respondents were asked if they favor or oppose the “current law allowing residents to obtain a license to carry concealed handguns.” Sixty-three percent favor the current concealed-carry law, while 31 percent oppose it. Those with a gun in their household support the concealed-carry law by 80 percent to 18 percent, while those without a gun in the house oppose the law by 47 percent to 43 percent.

Respondents were also asked about a proposal to allow concealed-carry permit holders to have a gun on school grounds and for local school boards to have the option of allowing permit holders to enter schools with concealed weapons. On this issue, 31 percent favor the proposal while 65 percent are opposed. Among those in households with a gun, 38 percent favor the proposal while 57 percent oppose it. Among those without a gun in the household, 21 percent favor and 76 percent oppose the proposal.

Background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows have also been a recent issue in state and national debate. Eighty-five percent of registered voters favor background checks for private and gun show sales, while 12 percent oppose them. When last asked in May 2013, 71 percent favored and 26 percent opposed such checks. Among households with a gun, 84 percent favor and 14 percent oppose background checks for these sales, while among those without a gun in the household 89 percent favor and 9 percent oppose these checks.

Registered voters continue to express concern for education funding in the state. Fifty-seven percent say their local public schools are receiving too little funding from the state, while 30 percent say they receive enough and 7 percent say schools receive more funding than they need.

Asked how they would react “if your local school board proposed a referendum to increase taxes for schools,” 55 percent say they would be inclined to vote for the referendum while 35 percent say they would be inclined to vote against.

Voters have become somewhat more negative in their views of the economy since April 2015. Twenty-six percent say the economy has gotten better over the past year while 31 percent say it has gotten worse. In April 2015, opinion was reversed, with 31 percent saying the economy had improved over the past year while 26 percent said it had gotten worse. As for the outlook for the coming year, 27 percent expect the economy to improve while 25 percent say it will get worse. Last April, 31 percent looked for improvement with 18 percent expecting a downturn.

Approval of Walker
Approval of how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is handling his job stands at 38 percent with 57 percent disapproving. In November, 38 percent approved and 58 percent disapproved.

Thirty-six percent say they would like Walker to seek a third term as governor, while 61 percent would not like to see him run. In September 2015, 35 percent supported a bid for a third term while 62 percent did not.

Immigration
Fifty-seven percent of Wisconsin registered voters favor allowing undocumented immigrants to stay and apply for citizenship, while 17 percent favor a temporary guest worker alternative and 21 percent favor requiring undocumented immigrants to leave the country. Across nine previous Marquette polls taken from 2012 to 2015, support for a citizenship option has averaged 53 percent, with 20 percent favoring a guest-worker option and 22 percent favoring deportation.

Thirty-six percent of respondents favor a temporary ban on Muslims from other countries entering the U.S., while 58 percent oppose such a ban.

Water quality
Nine percent of respondents say they have heard reports of contamination of drinking water in their county in the past two years, while 86 percent have not heard of any such reports.

Statewide, 27 percent have heard that the City of Waukesha is currently unable to meet state and federal standards for the amount of radium in its drinking water, while 72 percent have not heard. In the Milwaukee media market, 38 percent had heard of this. Twenty-five percent of residents in the City of Milwaukee have heard of the issue, while 62 percent of residents of Waukesha County have heard. The sample sizes are small in this case, with a margin of error of +/-12 percentage points for the City of Milwaukee and +/-14 percentage points for Waukesha County.

The City of Waukesha has submitted a proposal to divert water from Lake Michigan for its water supply and return an equal or greater amount of treated wastewater to the lake. Thirty-four percent of respondents state-wide favor this proposal while 51 percent say the city should find other solutions. In the Milwaukee media market, 40 percent favor while 48 percent oppose the water diversion. In the Green Bay media market, 36 percent favor diversion and 46 percent oppose it. In the Madison market, 29 percent support and 52 percent oppose. In the rest of the state, including the La Crosse, Wausau and Minneapolis-area markets, 25 percent favor the diversion while 57 percent oppose it. Among residents of the City of Milwaukee 32 percent favor and 59 percent oppose the diversion, while among Waukesha County residents 56 percent favor and 35 percent oppose the diversion, with margins of error of +/-12 and +/-14 percentage points respectively.

Asked whether the primary objective of Great Lakes water management should be economic development or environmental protection, 12 percent say economic development and 77 percent say environmental protection.

Twenty-two percent of respondents say water quality issues such as that in Waukesha are mainly an isolated problem, while 72 percent say residents throughout the state should be concerned with water quality issues.

About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 806 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, January 21-24, 2016. The margin of error is +/- 4.0 percentage points for the full sample. For Republican presidential primary voters, the sample size is 313, with a margin of error of +/-6.5 percentage points. For Democratic presidential primary voters, the sample size is 312, with a margin of error of +/-6.5 percentage points.

The partisan makeup of this sample, including those who lean to a party, is 42 percent Republican, 47 percent Democratic and 10 percent independent. The long-term estimate over the previous 31 statewide Marquette polls, with 26,727 respondents, is 42 percent Republican and 47 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup excluding those who lean to a party is 25 percent Republican, 32 percent Democratic and 40 percent independent, compared to the long-term estimate of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 38 percent independent.

New Marquette Law School Poll finds Carson, Trump and Rubio atop tight Wisconsin GOP primary race

Clinton holds edge among Wisconsin Democrats

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Ben Carson the favorite of 22 percent in the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary, closely followed by Donald Trump and Marco Rubio at 19 percent each. In the September Marquette poll, Trump held 20 percent, Carson 16 percent and Rubio 14 percent.

In the new poll, which was in the field shortly after the Nov. 10 Republican debate in Milwaukee, Ted Cruz receives 9 percent, Jeb Bush 6 percent, Carly Fiorina 5 percent and Chris Christie 4 percent. Mike Huckabee, John Kasich and Rand Paul receive 1 percent each, while Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Rick Santorum are each below one-half percent. Bobby Jindal, whose decision to suspend his campaign came after surveys for this poll were completed, also receives less than one-half percent.

In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton leads with the support of 50 percent of Democratic registered voters, followed by Bernie Sanders with 41 percent and Martin O’Malley at 2 percent. In September, with Joe Biden included among the choices, Clinton had 42 percent, Sanders 30 percent and Biden 17 percent.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Russ Feingold is supported by 49 percent of registered voters while Republican incumbent Ron Johnson receives 38 percent support. In September, Feingold was at 50 percent to Johnson’s 36 percent.

The poll was conducted from November 12 to 15. The full sample includes 803 registered voters interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/-4.2 percentage points. Results for the Republican nomination are based on 326 registered voters who consider themselves Republicans or independents who lean to the Republican Party. The Democratic results are based on 374 Democrats or independents who lean Democratic. The margin of error for the Republican sample is +/-6.6 percentage points, and for the Democratic sample it is +/-6.1 percentage points.

The Senate candidates are slightly better known to voters in November than they were in September, with 59 percent able to give a favorable or unfavorable rating to both Feingold and Johnson, up from 55 percent in September. Sixteen percent are unable to rate either candidate in this poll, down from 20 percent. Of those able to rate only one candidate, 19 percent can rate Feingold but not Johnson while 6 percent can rate Johnson but not Feingold—virtually unchanged from September, when 18 percent could rate only Feingold and 6 percent rated only Johnson.

Feingold is rated favorably by 42 percent and unfavorably by 36 percent, with 22 percent unable to give a rating. In September, his rating was 42 percent favorable and 32 percent unfavorable, with 26 percent unable to rate. Johnson is rated favorably by 27 percent and unfavorably by 38 percent, with 35 percent unable to rate him. In September, his favorable rating was 27 percent, unfavorable was 36 percent and 38 percent were unable to rate him.

In possible matchups for November, Carson and Rubio edge Clinton by one point each, while Clinton holds a lead over Trump. Sanders holds an advantage over all three Republican candidates:

  • Carson 45 percent, Clinton 44 percent. (Not asked in September.)
  • Rubio 45 percent, Clinton 44 percent. (September: Clinton 48 percent, Rubio 40 percent.)
  • Clinton 48 percent, Trump 38 percent. (September: Clinton 50 percent, Trump 36 percent.)
  • Sanders 47 percent, Carson 41 percent. (Not asked in September.)
  • Sanders 46 percent, Rubio 42 percent. (September: Sanders 49 percent, Rubio 36 percent.)
  • Sanders 52 percent, Trump 35 percent. (September: Sanders 53 percent, Trump 34 percent.)

Paul Ryan
In the aftermath of his election as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Paul Ryan is viewed favorably by 49 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 34 percent, with 17 percent unable to give a rating. When last asked about Ryan in October 2014, 46 percent had a favorable view, 35 percent an unfavorable view and 19 percent were unable to rate him.

Asked if they think “being Speaker will help Ryan represent the people in his district or will it require him to pay more attention to issues outside his district?,” 23 percent say it will help him represent the district while 63 percent think it will require his attention to issues outside the district.

State of the state
Asked about the state budget, 30 percent say it is in better shape than a few years ago, 24 percent say it is about the same and 39 percent say it is in worse shape now. When last asked in August, 36 percent said the budget was better, 19 percent said the same and 41 percent said the budget was in worse shape. In October 2014, 44 percent said better, 23 percent the same and 27 percent said worse.

In November, 57 percent of registered voters say Wisconsin is lagging behind other states in job creation, with 31 percent saying job creation is about the same as other states and 6 percent saying Wisconsin is creating jobs faster than other states. In August, 50 percent said Wisconsin was lagging, 36 percent said it was about the same and 9 percent said Wisconsin was adding jobs faster than other states. In October 2014, 42 percent said the state was lagging, 38 percent said it was about the same and 13 percent said jobs were growing faster than other states.

Seventy percent of registered voters say they heard of the recent announcements of plant closings at GE in Waukesha and Oscar Mayer in Madison, while 30 percent did not hear. Seventy-six percent of respondents from the Milwaukee media market and 88 percent from the Madison market say they heard of the closings, while 56 percent of those in the rest of the state heard of the closings.

Fifty percent of respondents heard about Amazon and Quad/Graphics adding jobs in the state, with 49 percent saying they did not hear. Awareness of these job additions was concentrated in the Milwaukee media market, where 73 percent heard of the additions. In the Madison market, 36 percent heard of them, as have 33 percent in the rest of the state.

Approval of Walker and legislative parties
Approval of how Scott Walker is handling his job stands at 38 percent, with 58 percent disapproval. In September, 37 percent approved and 59 percent disapproved.

Thirty-one percent say they approve of the way Republicans in the legislature are handling their job, with 60 percent disapproving and 9 percent saying they don’t know. For Democrats in the legislature, 39 percent approve while 49 percent disapprove, with 12 percent saying they don’t know.

Views of policy proposals
The public varies in its awareness of recent policy debates in the legislature. Fifty percent have not heard or lack an opinion of proposals to replace state hiring based on the civil service exam. Forty-seven percent say they have not heard or don’t have an opinion about proposals to change the structure of the Government Accountability Board. Twenty-eight percent are not aware of plans to borrow $350 million for road construction. Twenty-six percent are unaware of changes to campaign finance regulations. Twenty-four percent are unaware of a proposal to create a state agency to refinance student loans. Nineteen percent are unaware of a proposed ban on the use of fetal tissue from abortions in medical research.

Support and opposition to these proposals also vary. Sixty-one percent support an agency to refinance student loans, while 15 percent are opposed and the rest are unaware or have no position.

Thirty percent support replacing the civil service exam with resume-based hiring of state employees, with 19 percent opposed.

Thirty-eight percent support borrowing an additional $350 million for road construction, with 34 percent opposed.

Twenty-five percent support splitting the Government Accountability Board into two new boards and replacing retired judges as members with an equal split of Republicans and Democrats, with 28 percent opposed.

Thirty-two percent support a ban of the use of fetal tissue from abortions in medical research while 47 percent oppose such a ban.

Thirteen percent favor doubling current campaign contribution limits and allowing unlimited contributions by individuals to political parties, while 61 percent oppose that change.

Presidential qualities
Voters are almost evenly split over whether a president should have experience in the political system or should be someone from outside the existing political establishment. Forty-nine percent say experience is more important, while 45 percent say someone from outside the establishment is more important. Sixty-one percent of Republicans say an outsider is more important, with 32 percent preferring experience. Among Democrats, 77 percent favor experience while 19 percent say getting an outsider is more important. Among independents, 55 percent favor an outsider, and 39 percent say experience is more important.

Among Republicans saying experience is more important, Rubio is the top presidential choice of 32 percent, followed by Bush at 15 percent, Carson at 13 percent, and Cruz at 12 percent, with no other candidate in double digits. Among Republicans saying an outsider is most important, Trump is the choice of 28 percent followed by Carson at 27 percent and Rubio at 12 percent, with no one else in double digits.

Among Democrats ranking experience more important, Clinton is supported by 55 percent to Sanders’ 38 percent, while among those ranking an outsider more important, Sanders receives 51 percent to Clinton’s 35 percent.

Seventy-eight percent of registered voters say it is more important that a president be willing to compromise in order to achieve some of their goals, while 18 percent say it is more important for a president to be uncompromising about principles. Party differences are smaller on this question, with

68 percent of Republicans, 91 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of independents saying compromise is more important. Twenty-seven percent of Republicans, 6 percent of Democrats and 20 percent of independents say it is more important for a president to be uncompromising on one’s principles. Among Republicans with a favorable view of the Tea Party, 54 percent say compromise is more important while 41 percent favor uncompromising support for principles.

Of Republicans who prefer uncompromising positions, 25 percent favor Carson, 24 percent Trump and 18 percent prefer Rubio, with all others below 10 percent support. Among those who prefer compromise, Carson and Rubio each receive 20 percent support, followed by Trump at 18 percent and Cruz at 10 percent.

Among Democrats preferring an uncompromising approach, Sanders receives 51 percent support to Clinton’s 45 percent, while those preferring compromise give Clinton 51 percent to Sanders’s 40 percent.

Views of government
Eighty-four percent of registered voters agree or strongly agree (hereafter “agree”) that “government is run by a few big interests,” while 14 percent disagree or strongly disagree (hereafter “disagree”). Seventy-two percent of Republicans agree, as do 91 percent of Democrats and 86 percent of independents. Twenty-five percent of Republicans, 8 percent of Democrats and 13 percent of independents disagree.

Sixty-nine percent agree that “government ignores the interests of hard working Americans,” while 28 percent disagree. Sixty-six percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independents agree. Twenty-nine percent of Republicans, 27 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of independents disagree.

Fifty-nine percent agree that “government is taking away my personal freedoms and liberty,” while 39 percent disagree. Among Republicans, 71 percent agree while 28 percent disagree. Among Democrats, 42 percent agree and 55 percent disagree. For independents, 64 percent agree while 35 percent disagree.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents say income differences in America are too large, with 28 percent disagreeing. Among Republicans 43 percent agree while 53 percent disagree. Ninety percent of Democrats agree and 9 percent disagree, while 72 percent of independents agree and 24 percent disagree.

Forty-eight percent agree that government should do something to reduce income differences, while 49 percent disagree. Among Republicans, 22 percent agree while 75 percent disagree. For Democrats, 73 percent agree and 23 percent disagree. Among independents, 46 percent agree and 52 percent disagree.

About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 803 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, from November 12-15, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.2 percentage points for the full sample. For Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, the sample size is 326, with a margin of error of +/-6.6 percentage points. For Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, the sample size is 374, with a margin of error of +/-6.1 percentage points. Republican and Democratic presidential primary items were asked of the corresponding party samples.

The partisan makeup of this sample, including those who lean to a party, is 41 percent Republican, 47 percent Democratic and 11 percent independent. The long-term estimate over the previous 30 statewide Marquette polls, with 25,924 respondents, is 42 percent Republican and 47 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup excluding those who lean to a party is 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 38 percent independent, compared to the long-term estimate of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 39 percent independent. The entire questionnaire, full results and breakdowns by demographic groups are available at http://law.marquette.edu/poll.

The methodology statement can be found here.

Marquette Law School Poll finds Walker job approval at 37 percent, following presidential run

Trump takes GOP lead, Clinton holds Dem edge in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Gov. Scott Walker’s job approval at 37 percent with 59 percent disapproval among Wisconsin voters following his presidential bid. In August, 39 percent approved and 57 percent disapproved.

Thirty-five percent say they would like to see Walker seek a third term as governor in 2018 while 62 percent would not. Support among Republican voters for a third-term bid is 79 percent.

With Walker out of the race, Donald Trump has moved into first place among Wisconsin Republican voters, with 20 percent support, followed by Ben Carson at 16 percent, Marco Rubio at 14 percent and Carly Fiorina at 11 percent. The remainder of the field includes Jeb Bush at 7 percent, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul each at 5 percent, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie and John Kasich each at 3 percent, Rick Santorum at 1 percent and Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore at less than 1 percent. Lindsey Graham receives no support.

Trump shows a significant gain from August when he was supported by 9 percent, as do Fiorina and Rubio, who were both at 7 percent in August. Carson was at 13 percent a month ago.

Among Republicans and Republican leaners who said they would have voted for Walker had he stayed in the race, Trump receives 22 percent support, Rubio 14 percent, Carson 11 percent and Cruz 10 percent. Other candidates each received less than 10 percent from Walker supporters.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads with 42 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders with 30 percent and Joe Biden at 17 percent. Martin O’Malley receives 1 percent with Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb at less than 1 percent. In August, Clinton was at 44 percent, Sanders at 32 and Biden at 12 percent and the rest below 1 percent.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Russ Feingold is supported by 50 percent of registered voters while Republican incumbent Ron Johnson receives 36 percent support. In August, the race was tighter, with Feingold at 47 percent to Johnson’s 42 percent. In April, Feingold received 54 percent to Johnson’s 38 percent.

Marquette Law School Professor Charles Franklin, director of the poll, notes that the Senate candidates remain relatively unknown to voters: “Only 55 percent of registered voters are able to say if they have a favorable or unfavorable view of both candidates. Seven percent can rate Johnson but not Feingold while 18 percent can rate Feingold but not Johnson. And 19 percent are unable to rate either candidate. This is a recipe for volatility until the campaign moves into full swing.”

Feingold is rated favorably by 42 percent and unfavorably by 32 percent, with 26 percent unable to give a rating. In August, his rating was 42 percent favorable and 30 percent unfavorable, with 28 percent unable to rate. Johnson is rated favorably by 27 percent and unfavorably by 36 percent, with 37 percent unable to rate him. In August, his favorable rating was 30 percent, unfavorable was 31 percent, and 38 percent were unable to rate him.

The poll was conducted from September 24 to 28. The full sample includes 803 registered voters interviewed by cell phone and by landline, with a margin of error of +/-4.1 percentage points. Results for the Republican nomination are based on 321 registered voters who consider themselves Republicans or independents who lean to the Republican Party. The Democratic results are based on 394 Democrats or independents who lean Democratic. The margin of error for the Republican sample is +/-6.5 percentage points and for the Democratic sample it is +/-5.9 percentage points.

Looking ahead to possible general election preferences of Wisconsin voters, the poll found these results in head-to-head match-ups:

  • Clinton 50 percent, Bush 38 percent.
  • Clinton 48 percent, Rubio 40 percent.
  • Clinton 50 percent, Trump 36 percent.
  • Sanders 49 percent, Bush 39 percent.
  • Sanders 49 percent, Rubio 36 percent.
  • Sanders 53 percent, Trump 34 percent.

Walker support by party
Among Republicans, 79 percent would like Walker to run again for governor. Support for a third term is 65 percent among independents who lean Republican, while 15 percent of independents with no party leaning support a third-term bid. Support for a third term among independents who lean Democratic is 9 percent and among Democrats is 6 percent.

Asked if they would have supported Walker had he stayed in the Republican presidential race, 28 percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say they would, while 55 percent say they would have voted for some other Republican candidate. Ten percent say they would not have voted, five percent say they didn’t know and 2 percent say they would have voted in the Democratic primary. In August, Walker’s presidential bid was backed by 25 percent of GOP voters, down from 40 percent in April.

Among Republicans, 25 percent say they were pleased Walker ran and wish he had stayed in the race, while 40 percent say they were pleased but it was time to get out. Thirty percent say they wish he had not run. Support for the presidential bid is lower among independents who lean Republican, with 10 percent pleased and wishing he stayed in, 35 percent pleased but saying it was time to get out, and 51 percent saying they wish he had not run. Among independents with no party leaning, 67 percent wish he had not run, while 77 percent of Democratic leaners and 79 percent of Democrats wish Walker had not run for president.

Currently, 38 percent see Walker as very conservative, up from 31 percent in October 2014. Thirty-five percent see him as conservative, down from 42 percent in 2014. Seven percent see him as moderate, compared to 10 percent in 2014, and 10 percent see him as liberal or very liberal, the same as in 2014. Nine percent now say they don’t know where to place him ideologically, compared to 6 percent in 2014.

Economic conditions
Over the past year, perceptions of the economy’s direction have become somewhat less positive. Currently 24 percent say the economy has gotten better in the last year, 27 percent say it has worsened, and 47 percent say it has stayed about the same. In September 2014, 30 percent said the economy had improved over the year, 29 percent said it had worsened, and 41 percent said it had stayed about the same.

Looking ahead, 25 percent expect the economy to improve over the next 12 months, 20 percent expect it to worsen, and 50 percent think it will stay about the same. A year ago, 34 percent expected improvement, 17 percent expected worsening, and 44 percent expected little change.

Views of Pope Francis
Favorable views of Pope Francis have increased. His favorable ratings have risen to 66 percent, from 51 percent in August, with 12 percent holding unfavorable views of him in both months. Those unable to give a rating fall to 21 percent from 36 percent in August. Favorable ratings have increased 5 points among Catholics, to 75 percent from 70 percent. Among Protestants, the increase is 21 points, to 59 from 38 percent. Those who say they have no religious affiliation report a 16 percent increase in favorability, to 71 percent from 55 percent.

Second choices
Combining first and second choices is an alternative measure of a candidate’s strength. The table below provides the first, second, and combined support of all Republican candidates among Republicans and independents who lean Republican. The table is ordered by combined support and then by name. By this measure, Rubio ranks first, followed by Carson, Fiorina and Trump.

Candidate First Choice Second Choice Combined
Rubio 14 17 31
Carson 16 12 28
Fiorina 11 15 26
Trump 20 5 25
Bush 7 10 17
Cruz 5 8 13
Christie 3 7 10
Huckabee 3 6 9
Paul 5 4 9
Kasich 3 1 4
Jindal 1 2 3
Santorum 1 2 3
Graham 0 2 2
Pataki 0 1 1
Gilmore 0 0 0

Among the Democrats, Clinton ranks first in combined support, and Biden moves to second place, with Sanders in third.

Candidate First Choice Second Choice Combined
Clinton 42 27 69
Biden 17 38 55
Sanders 30 21 51
O’Malley 1 3 4
Chafee 0 3 3
Webb 0 2 2

Opinions of other political figures
Approval of how President Barack Obama is handling his job stands at 51 percent, with 45 percent disapproving. In August, 48 percent approved and 48 percent disapproved.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is rated favorably by 21 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 29 percent, with 49 percent unable to give a rating. In October 2014, she received a 29 percent favorable and 25 percent unfavorable rating, with 45 percent unable to give a rating.

About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 803 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, from September 24-28, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.1 percentage points for the full sample. For Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, the sample size is 321, with a margin of error of +/- 6.5 percentage points. For Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, the sample size is 394, with a margin of error of +/-5.9 percentage points. Republican and Democratic presidential primary items were asked of the corresponding party samples.

The partisan makeup of this sample, including those who lean to a party, is 40 percent Republican, 49 percent Democratic and 9 percent independent. The long-term estimate over the previous 29 statewide Marquette polls, with 25,121 respondents, is 43 percent Republican and 47 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup excluding those who lean to a party is 25 percent Republican, 30 percent Democratic and 41 percent independent, compared to the long-term estimate of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 38 percent independent.