New Marquette Law School Poll finds Trump approval rating at 41 percent in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds that President Donald Trump receives a 41 percent approval rating among registered voters in Wisconsin, while 51 percent disapprove and 7 percent say that they don’t know whether they approve or not. In the previous Marquette Law School Poll in March, 41 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved, with 11 percent saying they did not know.

Thirty-nine percent of registered voters in the new survey approve of Trump’s firing of former FBI director James Comey, while 49 percent disapprove and 11 percent say they don’t have an opinion. Twenty percent say that they have a great deal of confidence in special counsel Robert Mueller to conduct a fair and impartial investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, while 31 percent have some confidence, 17 percent only a little and 21 percent have no confidence at all. Eleven percent have no opinion.

Asked if Trump is cooperating with the investigation of Russian influence, 37 percent say he is cooperating, 53 percent say he is trying to interfere with the investigation and 8 percent lack an opinion.

The poll was conducted June 22-25, 2017. The sample includes 800 registered voters interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Among Republicans, 85 percent approve of Trump, 8 percent disapprove and 8 percent lack an opinion. Among Democrats, 3 percent approve, 95 percent disapprove and 1 percent are without an opinion. Thirty-six percent of independents approve of how Trump is handling his job while 52 percent disapprove and 10 percent express no opinion.

Trump receives his strongest support in the Green Bay media market, where 51 percent approve and 40 percent disapprove. His second-strongest region, with 47 percent approval and 43 percent disapproval, is in the northern and western portions of the state, combining the La Crosse/Eau Claire, Wausau, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth-Superior media markets. In the Milwaukee media market, excluding the city of Milwaukee, 45 percent approve and 46 percent disapprove, followed by the Madison market with 30 percent approval and 65 percent disapproval. The city of Milwaukee shows the lowest approval, 14 percent, with 80 percent disapproval.

As with presidential approval, there are sharp partisan divisions over matters related to the investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Seventy-seven percent of Republicans approve of the decision to fire Comey, 12 percent disapprove and 10 percent say they don’t know, while 3 percent of Democrats approve, 85 percent disapprove and 11 percent lack an opinion. Thirty-eight percent of independents approve, 52 percent disapprove and 10 percent lack an opinion.

Among Republicans, 38 percent have a great deal or some confidence in the Mueller investigation while 46 percent have only a little or no confidence, with 14 percent lacking an opinion. Sixty-four percent of Democrats have a great deal or some confidence in the investigation, 27 percent have only a little or none and 9 percent say they don’t know. Fifty-one percent of independents have a great deal or some confidence, 40 percent have little or no confidence and 9 percent lack an opinion.

Trump is seen as cooperating with the investigation by 69 percent of Republicans, by 5 percent of Democrats and by 37 percent of independents. Eighteen percent of Republicans, 91 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents believe that he is trying to interfere with the investigation. Eleven percent of Republicans, 4 percent of Democrats and 9 percent of independents say they do not know.

Health care law

Asked what they would like to see Congress do about the 2010 health care reform law, 6 percent favor keeping the law as it is, 54 percent would keep and improve it, 27 percent favor repealing and replacing the law and 7 percent would repeal and not replace the law. These responses are virtually identical to the results in March, when 6 percent would keep the law, 54 percent would keep and improve it, 28 percent favored repeal and replace and 8 percent wanted to repeal and not replace the law.

Sixty-three percent of Republicans favor repeal and replace, with 8 percent favoring repeal and not replace. Two percent of Democrats favor repeal and replace, and 2 percent would repeal and not replace, while 19 percent of independents favor repeal and replace and 10 percent of independents want to see the law repealed and not replaced. Among Republicans, 21 percent would keep the law but improve it and 3 percent would keep the law as it is, compared to 78 percent and 13 percent of Democrats, respectively. Sixty-two percent of independents would keep the law and improve it, with 5 percent saying they would keep it as it is.

While details of a replacement for the 2010 health care reform law are currently being debated, 49 percent of respondents think a replacement law will decrease the number of people who have health insurance, 23 percent think the number of insured will not change and 20 percent think a replacement law will increase the number of insured people. That is little changed from March, before the House of Representatives passed its health care bill, when 49 percent thought a replacement would reduce coverage, 25 percent thought coverage would not change and 18 percent thought more people would be covered.

Forty-seven percent think a health care replacement bill will increase the cost of health insurance, 17 percent think the cost will not change and 29 percent think costs will decrease under a replacement bill. In March, 45 percent thought cost would rise, 21 percent thought there would be no change and 28 percent thought costs would go down under a replacement bill.

Paris accord and NATO alliance

Thirty-four percent approve of the U.S. withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, while 54 percent disapprove and 11 percent don’t know. Sixty-five percent of Republicans approve, 20 percent disapprove and 16 percent say they don’t know. Two percent of Democrats approve, 87 percent disapprove and 10 percent don’t know. Among independents, 34 percent approve, 58 percent disapprove and 8 percent do not have an opinion.

Fifty-seven percent say the U.S. should use military force to defend a NATO ally if Russia gets into a serious military conflict with that country. Twenty-nine percent said the U.S. should not use military force and 13 percent did not know. Sixty percent of Republicans, 54 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents say the U.S. should defend a NATO ally in this circumstance, while 22 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of independents say the U.S. should not use force.

State issues and conditions

K-12 education, health coverage and road construction are the top priorities among respondents for increases in state spending, with 37 percent naming K-12 education as their first choice for more spending, 25 percent picking health coverage and 23 percent putting road construction and maintenance as their top priority. All other options offered receive only single-digit support, with 5 percent naming state aid to local government, 4 percent prisons and the criminal justice system and 3 percent the University of Wisconsin system. Two percent voluntarily say they do not support spending increases for any of these purposes and 1 percent say they don’t know.

When expanded to include either first or second choices for spending increases, K-12 education receives 63 percent support, health care 52 percent, road construction 42 percent, state aid to local governments 14 percent, the UW system 12 percent and prisons 9 percent.

Sixty-one percent say they would be willing to pay higher taxes for their most important spending priority while 35 percent are not willing to do so. Of those who pick K-12 education as their top priority, 75 percent are willing to pay more taxes for this while 21 percent are not. Fifty-nine percent of those picking health care as the top priority are willing to pay more while 35 percent are not. Of those picking roads as the most important area for spending increases, 46 percent say they are willing to pay more while 51 percent are not willing.

With the statewide unemployment rate at 3.1 percent in the latest May report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, voters were asked their best guess as to what that rate is. Thirty-one percent of respondents say unemployment is between 3 and 4 percent. Six percent of respondents think the rate is between 2 and 3 percent. Combined, a total of 37 percent are within approximately a percentage point of the actual unemployment rate.

Just 2 percent of respondents think unemployment is even lower at less than 2 percent, while 24 percent of respondents think it is between 4 and 5 percent, 11 percent think it is between 5 and 6 percent and 12 percent think unemployment is more than 6 percent. Wisconsin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was last at 4 percent or more in December 2016, was last at 5 percent or more in October 2014 and was last at 6 percent or higher in January of 2014. During the recession, unemployment reached its recent peak in January 2010 at 9.2 percent.

Fifty-three percent say Wisconsin is headed in the right direction, with 42 percent saying it is off on the wrong track. When last asked in March, 49 percent said right direction and 47 percent said the wrong track.

Thirty-one percent of respondents say the state budget is in better shape than a few years ago, 30 percent say it is about the same and 31 percent say it is in worse shape, with 8 percent saying they don’t know. Earlier in this year’s legislative budget deliberation, perceptions were similar, with 29 percent saying the budget was better, 28 percent saying about the same and 33 percent saying it was in worse shape, while 9 percent didn’t know.

Internet use and access

Eighty-four percent of respondents say they use the internet or email, with 16 percent saying they do not. Internet or email use is most common in suburban areas, where 90 percent say they use the internet and 10 percent don’t. Urban and rural areas have similar rates of use with 82 percent in rural areas and 80 percent in urban areas saying they go online. Income is associated with internet usage, with 75 percent of those earning less than $40,000 per year using the internet, compared to 83 percent of those earning between $40,000 and $75,000 and 95 percent of those earning over $75,000.

Statewide, 78 percent of respondents say they or someone else in their household connect to the internet via high speed connections through DSL, cable TV modem or Wi-Fi. Six percent connect via cell phone and 1 percent use dial-up connections, with 12 percent saying no one in the household connects to the internet from home. High-speed connection is most common in suburban communities, where 86 percent say their household has a high-speed connection. Seventy-five percent of urban residents and 73 percent of rural residents say they have high-speed connections at home. Only 7 percent of suburban residents say they lack any kind of internet connection from home, compared to 13 percent of urban residents and 18 percent of rural residents.

Which level of government do you trust?

Trust in the federal “government in Washington” has steadily declined in national surveys since the 1960s. Wisconsin reflects the current low levels of trust of the national government, with 3 percent saying they trust the “government in Washington to do what is right” just about all the time, 19 percent trust it most of the time, 66 percent only some of the time and 10 percent allow that they never trust it.

When the focus shifts closer to home, trust rises. Asked about “the state government in Wisconsin,” 6 percent trust it all the time, 41 percent most of the time, 48 percent only some of the time and 4 percent respond that they never trust the state government.

Local city and town governments receive the highest level of confidence, with 14 percent trusting it all the time, 50 percent most of the time, 30 percent only some of the time and 4 percent none of the time.

Knowledge of congressional majorities

The 2016 elections restored single-party control of the presidency and both houses of Congress for the first time since the 2010 election. Asked if they happen to know which party has more members, 84 percent correctly say the House of Representatives has a Republican majority, 5 percent think Democrats control the House and 11 percent say they don’t know. For the Senate, 85 percent correctly identify Republican control, 6 percent incorrectly think Democrats hold the majority and 9 percent say they don’t know.

When these two questions are combined, 77 percent correctly identify Republican control of both houses, while 23 percent make at least one mistake or say they don’t know. This knowledge of control of the Congress is strongly related to how closely the respondent says he or she follows politics. Eighty-four percent of those following politics most of the time correctly identify Republican control of Congress, as do 66 percent of those who follow some of the time and 61 percent of those following either only now and then or hardly at all.

Seventy-nine percent of both Democrats and Republicans correctly perceive Republican congressional control, and a similar 80 percent of independents who lean to both the Democrats and Republicans hold correct perceptions. Among those independents who do not lean toward either party, 60 percent know which party controls Congress while 40 percent fail to recognize Republican control of both houses of Congress.

Voters are equally likely to say that Democratic opposition is preventing Trump from getting things done regardless of their knowledge of party control. Overall, 43 percent of both those who are aware of Republican control and those who are not aware say Democratic opposition blocks Trump’s initiatives. Knowledge of control, however, is reflected in the percentage who think division among Republicans is the primary reason for delay in Trump initiatives, with 27 percent of those unaware of Republican control citing internal divisions, compared to 42 percent among those aware of GOP control of Congress. Twenty-two percent of those unaware of party control say they don’t know why proposals face troubles while 10 percent of those aware of party control say they don’t know.

Perceptions of Trump

There has been little shift in perception of Trump since the March poll. Thirty-four percent of respondents say Trump shows good judgment while 61 percent say he does not, nearly the same as in March, when 33 percent said he showed good judgment and 62 percent said he didn’t.

Forty percent of registered voters say the phrase “cares about people like me” describes Trump while 55 percent say it does not describe him, exactly the same percentages as in the March poll.

Thirty-five percent say “honest” describes Trump, with 59 percent saying this does not describe him. That question was last asked in an October 26-31, 2016 poll, when 35 percent said honest described him and 61 percent said it did not.

Evaluation of Wisconsin officials

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker receives a 48 percent approval and 48 percent disapproval rating in this poll. In March, his approval rating was 45 percent with 48 percent disapproving. This is the first Marquette poll since October 2014 in which Walker’s disapproval was not higher than his approval.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is viewed favorably by 39 percent of respondents, with 32 percent holding an unfavorable view of him. Twenty-nine percent say they don’t know enough to have an opinion or they don’t know. In March, 39 percent had a favorable view, 34 percent were unfavorable and 26 percent lacked an opinion.

Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin is viewed favorably by 38 percent and unfavorably by 38 percent, with 23 percent lacking an opinion. In March, Baldwin was seen favorably by 40 percent and unfavorably by 35 percent, with 24 percent not giving an opinion.

Speaker Paul Ryan holds a 44 percent favorable to 44 percent unfavorable rating, with 12 percent unable to rate him. In October, 45 percent were favorable, 38 percent unfavorable and 17 percent gave no opinion.

About the Marquette Law School Poll

The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 800 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone, June 22-25, 2017. The margin of error is +/-4.5 percentage points for the full sample.

The partisan makeup of the sample, including those who lean to a party, is 45 percent Republican, 45 percent Democratic and 8 percent independent. The long-term total for the previous 42 statewide Marquette polls, with 36,952 respondents, was 43 percent Republican and 48 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup of the current sample, excluding those who lean to a party, is 30 percent Republican, 28 percent Democratic and 41 percent independent, compared to the long-term totals of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 41 percent independent.

The entire questionnaire, methodology statement, full results and breakdowns by demographic groups are available at law.marquette.edu/poll.

New Marquette Law School Poll finds Trump approval rating at 41 percent in Wisconsin; concerns about health care changes

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds that President Donald Trump receives a 41 percent approval rating among registered voters in Wisconsin, while 47 percent disapprove and 11 percent say they don’t know whether they approve or not.

Among Republicans, 86 percent approve, 7 percent disapprove and 6 percent lack an opinion. Among Democrats, 5 percent approve, 89 percent disapprove and 6 percent are without an opinion. Thirty-eight percent of independents approve of how Trump is handling his job while 44 percent disapprove and 16 percent have not formed an opinion.

Trump receives his strongest support in the Milwaukee media market, excluding the city of Milwaukee, with 48 percent approval and 42 percent disapproval, followed by the Green Bay media market where 46 percent approve and 45 percent disapprove. In the media markets covering the north and western parts of the state, approval is at 45 percent and disapproval at 43 percent. Respondents in the Madison media market report 32 percent approval and 55 percent disapproval. The city of Milwaukee shows the lowest approval, 19 percent, with 63 percent disapproval.

While job approval can only be measured once an official is in office, favorability towards candidates can be measured at any time by asking “do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of  …” This question allows comparison before and after an election. Trump’s favorability rating has improved since his election as president. In the new poll, conducted from March 13 to 16, 42 percent view him favorably and 48 percent unfavorably. That compares to 33 percent favorable and 62 percent unfavorable ratings in the Marquette Law School Poll conducted Oct. 26-31, 2016. Favorability increased sharply among Republicans, 67 percent of whom had a favorable impression of Trump in October compared to 90 percent in the current poll. In October, 27 percent of Republicans had an unfavorable view, with 7 percent doing so now. Among independents, 33 percent had a favorable view and 60 percent an unfavorable one in October, compared to 39 percent with a favorable view and 45 percent with an unfavorable view in the March survey. Democratic opinion has not shifted, with 4 percent favorable and 94 percent unfavorable in October and 5 percent favorable and 91 percent unfavorable now.

Thirty-three percent of respondents say Trump shows good judgment while 62 percent say he does not. In October, 26 percent said he showed good judgment with 71 percent saying he didn’t. Republicans shifted from 54 percent saying that Trump showed good judgment in October to 70 percent in the current poll. In October, 44 percent of Republicans said he did not show good judgment while 26 percent of Republicans say that now. Shifts among independents are more modest, from 26 percent saying Trump showed good judgment in October to 29 percent now. In October, 71 percent said he did not show good judgment, compared to 65 percent in March. Only four percent of Democrats in October said he showed good judgment and five percent say so now, with 95 percent in October and 92 percent in March saying Trump lacks good judgment.

Forty percent of registered voters say the phrase “cares about people like me” describes Trump while 55 percent say it does not describe him. In the October poll, 35 percent said that this describes Trump, with 62 percent saying it did not describe him. As with other opinions of Trump, Republicans show considerable increases, from 71 percent saying Trump cares in October to 81 percent in March, and declines, from 28 percent to 14 percent of Republicans saying he does not care. Independents shifted less, from 35 percent (in October) to 39 percent (now) saying Trump cares, and from 61 percent to 56 percent saying he doesn’t care. Democrats barely changed, with 6 percent saying Trump cares in October and 5 percent saying so in March and with 93 percent saying he did not care in October and 91 percent saying so now.

Russian effort to influence 2016 election

In the poll, taken before public congressional hearings on March 20, voters split evenly on whether they were concerned that the Russian government may have attempted to influence the 2016 election. Thirty percent say they are very concerned about this, 20 percent are somewhat concerned, 18 percent are not too concerned and 30 percent are not at all concerned. Partisan divisions are sharp on this question, with 83 percent of Republicans not at all or not too concerned while 85 percent of Democrats are very or somewhat concerned. Forty-seven percent of independents are very or somewhat concerned while 50 percent of independents are not at all or not too concerned about the issue.

Health care law

Asked what they would like to see Congress do about the 2010 health care reform law, 6 percent favor keeping the law as it is, 54 percent would keep and improve it, 28 percent favor repealing and replacing the law and 8 percent would repeal and not replace the law.

Sixty-one percent of Republicans favor repeal and replace, with 13 percent favoring repeal and not replace. Twenty-four percent of Republicans would keep the law but improve it and less than a half-percent would keep the law as it is. Sixty percent of independents would keep the law and improve it, with 4 percent saying they would keep it as it is. Twenty-three percent of independents would repeal and replace the law, and 9 percent would repeal it and not replace it. Seventy-five percent of Democrats would keep and improve the law, and 15 percent would keep it as it is, while 4 percent would repeal and replace it and 3 percent would simply repeal it.

Opinion of the 2010 health reform law varies depending on whether it is described as “the Affordable Care Act” or as “Obamacare.” A random half of the sample was asked “As you may know, a health reform bill was signed into law in 2010, often called the Affordable Care Act. Given what you know about the health reform law, do you have a generally favorable or generally unfavorable opinion of it?” while the other random half of the sample was asked, “As you may know, a health reform bill was signed into law in 2010, often called Obamacare. Given what you know about the health reform law, do you have a generally favorable or generally unfavorable opinion of it?”

When it was described as “the Affordable Care Act,” 51 percent said they have a favorable view of the law while 40 percent have an unfavorable view and 9 percent said they don’t know. When the law was described as “Obamacare,” 40 percent reported a favorable view, with 53 percent unfavorable and 6 percent lacking an opinion.

Sex of the respondent affects both overall opinion of the health law and the effect of what it is called. Among men overall, 35 percent have a favorable and 59 percent an unfavorable view of the law. Among men, when the law was described as the “Affordable Care Act,” 40 percent are favorable to it and 50 percent are unfavorable, but when described as “Obamacare,” 31 percent are favorable and 66 percent are unfavorable. In contrast, among women overall, 55 percent have a favorable view of the law, with 35 percent unfavorable. When it is described as the “Affordable Care Act,” women are 58 percent favorable and 32 percent unfavorable. When it is labeled “Obamacare,” women are 51 percent favorable and 38 percent unfavorable.

Education also plays a role in the effect of how the law is labeled. Among those without a college degree, 52 percent are favorable and 36 percent unfavorable when the law is called the “Affordable Care Act,” a split that reverses when it is called “Obamacare” to 36 percent favorable and 56 percent unfavorable. Among those with a college degree, 47 percent are favorable and 49 percent unfavorable toward the “Affordable Care Act,” and 50 percent are favorable to 45 percent unfavorable toward “Obamacare”.

While details of a replacement for the 2010 health care reform law are currently being debated, 49 percent of respondents think a replacement law will decrease the number of people who have health insurance, 25 percent think the number of insured will not change and 18 percent think a replacement law will increase the number of insured people.

Forty-five percent think a health care replacement bill will increase the cost of health insurance, 21 percent think the cost will not change and 28 percent think costs will decrease under a replacement bill.

Immigration policy

Sixty-six percent of respondents say undocumented immigrants who are currently working in the United States should be allowed to stay and eventually apply for citizenship. Seventeen percent say these immigrants should be able to stay as guest workers but not apply for citizenship and 14 percent say they should be required to leave the U.S. In October, 62 percent supported eventual citizenship, 19 percent favored a guest worker status and 16 percent thought undocumented immigrants should be required to leave the county.

Asked about the administration’s steps to accelerate the deportation of people in the country illegally, including those who may not have committed a serious crime, 43 percent support deportations while 50 percent do not. Support for deportations is 85 percent among those who think undocumented immigrants should be required to leave the country, 60 percent among those favoring a guest worker program and 30 percent among those who think there should be a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Asked about building a wall along the entire border with Mexico, 37 percent support constructing a wall while 59 percent oppose doing so. Among those who approve of the job Trump is doing as president, 75 percent support the wall while 20 percent oppose it. Among those disapproving of Trump’s handling of his job, 8 percent support the wall and 91 percent oppose it. Opinion follows party lines as well, with 74 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of Democrats and 34 percent of independents favoring the wall, while 23 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents oppose it.

Supreme Court appointments

To assess how people view appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, respondents were asked if they would be willing for their senator to vote for a nominee “who was highly qualified but with whom you disagree on a number of policies” or “would you want your senator to vote against any nominee you disagree with no matter how well-qualified.” Sixty-two percent of respondents say they would be willing for the senator to vote for a highly qualified candidate with whom they disagreed while 27 percent said they would want the senator to vote against such a candidate.

In February 2016, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia but before the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to succeed him, 57 percent of registered voters said they would want their senator to support a highly qualified nominee despite their disagreements and 30 percent would want the senator to vote against the candidate. While the overall positions on the question have changed only slightly, the partisan structure of opinion has changed. In February 2016, 34 percent of Republicans said their senator should vote for a well-qualified nominee while 50 percent said the senator should vote against. In March 2017, 63 percent of Republicans say they would be willing for their senator to vote for the well-qualified candidate they disagree with, and 32 percent say they would not.

Democrats also shifted in a little over a year, from 70 percent saying their senator should vote for a well-qualified candidate and 19 percent saying they should not, to 57 percent support for a well-qualified candidate and 28 percent preferring their senator to vote against such a candidate.

Independents show relatively little change over this time. Sixty-two percent in 2016 and 66 percent in 2017 say they are willing for their senator to support a well-qualified candidate they disagree with, and 26 percent in 2016 and 21 percent in 2017 say they would be unwilling.

State issues and conditions

Voters are evenly divided on the direction of the state, with 49 percent saying Wisconsin is headed in the right direction and 47 percent saying it is off on the wrong track. When last asked in August 2016, 45 percent said right direction and 51 percent said the wrong track.

Ten percent of registered voters say the state is adding jobs faster than most other states, 39 percent say about the same as other states and 39 percent say Wisconsin is lagging behind most other states, while 11 percent say they don’t know. When last asked in November 2015, 57 percent said the state was lagging behind, 31 percent about the same and 6 percent said Wisconsin was creating jobs faster than other states, with 6 percent saying they didn’t know.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents say the state budget is in better shape than a few years ago, 28 percent say it is about the same and 33 percent say it is in worse shape, with 9 percent saying they don’t know. When asked in April 2015, during the last consideration of a state budget, perceptions were similar, with 33 percent saying the budget was better, 25 percent saying about the same and 38 percent saying it was in worse shape, while 4 percent didn’t know. The outlook was more positive in January 2014 when this question was first asked. At that time 49 percent said the budget was in better shape, 26 percent said it was the same and 20 percent said it was in worse shape.

Voters were reminded that the state borrowed more than $1.5 billion to pay for transportation and road building over the last two state budgets. Asked how the state should pay for transportation, 35 percent would increase taxes and fees, 3 percent would continue to borrow, 9 percent would reduce construction and maintenance and 44 percent would take money from others areas of the budget. Respondents were not asked which areas they would reduce in order to fund transportation.

Respondents were split on whether to reduce University of Wisconsin tuition by five percent for all in-state students (48 percent support) or  to use the equivalent amount of money to increase scholarships for low and middle-income students who qualify (45 percent support).  Those with household incomes under $40,000 prefer increased financial aid by a 55 percent to 36 percent majority, while those with household incomes over $75,000 prefer a 5 percent across the board tuition reduction by 54 percent to 44 percent. Those in between, earning $40,000 to $75,000, prefer tuition reductions by 50 percent to 43 percent.

Seventy-nine percent say they support requiring able-bodied parents of school-age children to meet minimum work or job training requirements as a condition of receiving state welfare benefits. Seventeen percent oppose such a requirement.

Eighty percent support increasing state aid to K-12 schools in the state, with 17 percent opposed.

Twenty-five percent say they are very satisfied with the public schools in their community, 49 percent are satisfied, 14 percent are dissatisfied and 6 percent are very dissatisfied. Those results are little changed from April 2015 when the question was last asked. At that time 25 percent were very satisfied, 50 percent satisfied, 16 percent dissatisfied and 5 percent very dissatisfied.

Satisfaction with public schools is lowest in the city of Milwaukee, where 7 percent say they are very satisfied, 40 percent satisfied, 36 percent dissatisfied and 11 percent very dissatisfied. That is little changed from previous waves of the poll.

In the rest of the Milwaukee media market, 23 percent are very satisfied, 49 percent satisfied, 15 percent dissatisfied and 7 percent very dissatisfied. In the Madison media market, 29 percent are very satisfied, 48 percent satisfied, 14 percent dissatisfied and 4 percent very dissatisfied. Thirty-one percent of respondents in the Green Bay media market say they are very satisfied with their public schools, with 52 percent satisfied, 5 percent dissatisfied and 5 percent very dissatisfied. In the northern and western parts of the state, 29 percent are very satisfied, 50 percent satisfied, 10 percent dissatisfied and 3 percent very dissatisfied with their public schools.

Whose facts do you trust?

Respondents were asked, “would you be more likely to believe the facts presented by newspaper and television media or would you be more likely to believe the facts presented by elected politicians?” Fifty-seven percent say they would believe the media, 22 percent would believe politicians and 18 percent say they would believe neither.

Evaluation of Wisconsin officials

Gov. Scott Walker receives a 45 percent approval and 48 percent disapproval rating in this poll. In October 2016, his approval rating was 42 percent with 51 percent disapproving.

Voters give similar approval ratings to Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature. Thirty-eight percent approve of the job Republican legislators are doing while 49 percent disapprove and 13 percent say they don’t know. When last asked in November 2015, 31 percent approved and 60 percent disapproved, with 9 percent saying they didn’t know. For Democratic legislators, 36 percent approve and 49 percent disapprove with 14 percent lacking an opinion. In November 2015, 39 percent approved, 49 percent disapproved and 12 percent had no opinion.

Sen. Ron Johnson is viewed favorably by 39 percent of respondents with, 34 percent holding an unfavorable view of him. Twenty-six percent say they didn’t know enough to have an opinion or they didn’t know. In October, 41 percent had a favorable view, 38 percent were unfavorable and 21 percent lacked an opinion.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin is viewed favorably by 40 percent and unfavorably by 35 percent, with 24 percent lacking an opinion. In October, Baldwin was seen favorably by 37 percent and unfavorably by 37 percent, with 26 percent not giving an opinion.

Speaker Paul Ryan holds a 45 percent favorable to 38 percent unfavorable rating, with 17 percent unable to rate him. In October, 47 percent were favorable, 36 percent unfavorable and 17 percent gave no opinion.

About the Marquette Law School Poll

The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 800 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone, March 13-16, 2017. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percentage points for the full sample.

The partisan makeup of the sample, including those who lean to a party, is 43 percent Republican, 48 percent Democratic and 8 percent independent. The long-term estimate over the previous 41 statewide Marquette polls, with 36,152 respondents, is 43 percent Republican and 48 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup of this sample, excluding those who lean to a party, is 27 percent Republican, 29 percent Democratic and 42 percent independent, compared to the long-term estimate of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 41 percent independent.

New Marquette Law School Poll finds Clinton leading Trump by 6 percentage points in Wisconsin; Senate race is virtually tied

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds 46 percent of Wisconsin likely voters supporting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and 40 percent supporting Republican Donald Trump in the race for president. Libertarian Gary Johnson is supported by 4 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein by 3 percent. Six percent do not express a preference, saying that they will vote for neither candidate, will not vote or don’t know how they will vote.

In the most recent Marquette Law School Poll, conducted Oct. 6-9, Clinton received 44 percent, Trump 37 percent, Johnson 9 percent and Stein 3 percent, with 6 percent not expressing a preference.

The new survey, the final Marquette Law School Poll to be conducted before the Nov. 8 election, additionally finds a very close U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin, with 45 percent of likely voters supporting Democrat Russ Feingold and 44 percent supporting Republican Ron Johnson. Libertarian candidate Phil Anderson has 3 percent support, while 5 percent do not express a candidate preference, saying that they will vote for none of the candidates, will not vote or don’t know how they will vote. In the poll conducted Oct. 6-9, Feingold held 46 percent to Johnson’s 44 percent, with Anderson at 4 percent and 5 percent without a preference.

In the presidential race, undecided and third-party voters are evenly divided along partisan lines. Among those not choosing a major-party presidential candidate, 42 percent are Republicans and 43 percent are Democrats, with 15 percent saying that they are independent or identify with other parties. Among those not choosing a major-party Senate candidate, 39 percent are Republicans and 38 percent are Democrats, with 23 percent saying that they are independent or identify with some other party.

Early voters make up 16 percent of the sample consisting of those likely to vote or who have already voted. Among early voters, Clinton receives 64 percent to 25 percent for Trump, 1 percent for Johnson and no votes for Stein. Six percent of early voters declined to say how they voted, and 3 percent said they voted for someone else. Among early voters for the Senate, Feingold receives 58 percent, Johnson 29 percent and Anderson 2 percent. Eight percent declined to say how they voted, and 3 percent said they voted for someone else. One percent said they did not vote for the Senate. The Wisconsin Elections Commission reported Tuesday that 518,600 early ballots had been cast, which would have been 16.9 percent of the 2012 presidential turnout of 3.071 million voters.

The full sample of the Oct. 26-31 survey comprises 1,401 registered voters interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points. Results for likely voters are based on 1,255 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

Shifts following news of FBI investigation of Clinton emails

The poll began interviewing voters on Wednesday, Oct. 26, and continued through Monday, Oct. 31. News of the FBI’s informing Congress that it is investigating recently discovered emails related to Clinton’s private email server was released during this period: specifically, on Friday, Oct. 28. The sample can be divided by day of interview before or after that news, and comparing voter responses by the day of the interviews allows an estimate of how voters responded to this news. The margin of error is +/- 5.3 percentage points for Wednesday and Thursday‘s sample (541 respondents), +/-9.8 percentage points for the Friday sample (157 respondents) and +/-5.4 percentage points for the combined Saturday, Sunday and Monday samples (557 respondents).

Combining all interviews, 50 percent say they are bothered a lot by Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, 23 percent say they are bothered a little and 26 percent say this doesn’t bother them at all.

In interviews conducted Wednesday and Thursday, before the news of the FBI investigation, the responses were 50 percent bothered a lot, 23 percent bothered a little and 26 percent not bothered at all, the same as the overall results. In Friday interviews, mostly conducted after the news was released, 60 percent said they were bothered a lot, 18 percent bothered a little and 22 percent not bothered. In interviews completed Saturday, Sunday or Monday, 48 percent said the use of the private email server bothered them a lot, 24 percent said they were bothered a little and 28 percent said they were not bothered at all.

In Wednesday and Thursday interviews, 47 percent favored Clinton and 36 percent favored Trump. In Friday interviews, Trump was supported by 48 percent and Clinton by 40 percent. Interviews completed Saturday through Monday found Clinton with a 46 percent to 40 percent advantage over Trump.

When results are broken down by party identification, there is little change among Democrats, who supported Clinton by 88 percent on Wednesday and Thursday, 88 percent on Friday and 90 percent Saturday through Monday. Among Democrats, Trump received 6 percent, 2 percent and 3 percent on those days respectively.

Among Republicans, Trump received 73 percent support on Wednesday and Thursday, 87 percent on Friday and 86 percent on Saturday through Monday, with Clinton receiving 8 percent, 9 percent and 4 percent among Republicans on those days.

Independents shifted from a 41 percent to 34 percent Clinton advantage over Trump on Wednesday and Thursday, to a 44 percent to 34 percent Trump advantage over Clinton on Friday and a 43 percent to 35 percent Trump advantage in Saturday through Monday interviews.

For comparison, the Senate vote shifted little over those days, with a 45 to 45 tie in Wednesday and Thursday interviews, a 47-40 Johnson advantage on Friday and a 46-42 Feingold advantage in Saturday through Monday interviews.

“Concern about Clinton’s use of a private email system does not appear to have shifted much in the wake of the FBI news. The vote margin overall shows a little tightening, from an 11-point Clinton lead before the news to a 6-point lead after the news,” said Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll and professor of law and public policy. “Within partisan identifiers, there is evidence that some undecided Republicans moved to support of Trump over the survey period and that independents shifted from a Clinton advantage to a Trump advantage, though all the shifts are inside the margin of error.”

Gender and education gaps

Among likely voters, 46 percent of men support Trump and 41 percent support Clinton. Among women, Clinton is supported by 50 percent and Trump by 34 percent. Johnson receives 4 percent among each gender and Stein is supported by 2 percent of men and 3 percent of women.

Within the parties, the gender gap persists among Republicans, with 86 percent of men supporting Trump compared to 76 percent of women, and Clinton getting 6 percent of the vote from men and 7 percent from women. Differences among Democrats are small, with 88 percent of Democratic men and 90 percent of Democratic women supporting Clinton, while 3 percent of Democratic men and 5 percent of women say they will vote for Trump. There is a larger gender gap among independents, with Trump leading 45 percent to 37 percent among men and Clinton leading 39 percent to 32 percent among women.

An education gap among non-Hispanic whites has developed in this year’s polling. The new poll finds that 45 percent of non-Hispanic whites without a college degree support Trump while 41 percent support Clinton. Among non-Hispanic whites with a college degree, Clinton is supported by 46 percent and Trump by 39 percent.

Comparison of candidate traits

Asked if “honest” describes Clinton, 28 percent of likely voters say that it does, while 68 percent say that it does not. For Trump, 36 percent say “honest” describes him, while 61 percent say it does not. In the Oct. 6-9 poll, 29 percent of likely voters described Clinton as honest and 66 percent did not. Thirty-three percent described Trump as honest in that poll, while 64 percent did not.

Forty-seven percent of likely voters describe Clinton as someone who “cares about people like me” and 51 percent do not. Thirty-seven percent say Trump cares about people like them while 61 percent do not see him this way. In the previous poll, 47 percent described Clinton as caring while 50 percent did not. In that poll, 35 percent said Trump cares while 61 percent did not see him that way.

Asked if a candidate has the qualifications to be president, 59 percent say Clinton does, while 39 percent say she does not. Thirty-five percent say Trump has the qualifications to be president, while 61 percent say he does not. In early October, 58 percent described Clinton as qualified and 40 percent said she was not, while 33 percent described Trump as qualified and 65 percent said he was not.

Forty-seven percent of likely voters say “shows good judgment” describes Clinton, while 51 percent say it does not. For Trump, 28 percent say “shows good judgment” describes him, with 70 percent saying it does not. In the Oct. 6-9 poll, 48 percent said Clinton shows good judgment while 50 percent did not. For Trump in the previous poll, 28 percent said he shows good judgment and 70 percent did not.

Respondents were asked how comfortable they were with the idea of each candidate as president. Forty-seven percent of likely voters say they are very or somewhat comfortable with Clinton as president, with 52 percent very or somewhat uncomfortable, including 42 percent saying they are “very uncomfortable.” For Trump, 39 percent say they are very or somewhat comfortable with him as president, while 62 percent say they are very or somewhat uncomfortable, including 51 percent saying “very uncomfortable.” In the previous poll, 46 percent were very or somewhat comfortable with Clinton and 53 percent were very or somewhat uncomfortable. For Trump in early October, 35 percent were very or somewhat comfortable and 63 percent were very or somewhat uncomfortable.

Views of Senate candidates

Partisans remain strongly aligned with their Senate nominees, with 86 percent of Republicans backing Johnson and 85 percent of Democrats supporting Feingold. In the Oct. 6-9 poll, 89 percent of Republicans favored Johnson and 90 percent of Democrats supported Feingold. In the new poll, six percent of Republicans said they would vote for Feingold while 8 percent of Democrats said they would vote for Johnson. In the previous poll, Feingold received 7 percent of the Republican vote and Johnson got 5 percent of the Democratic vote.

Independents give Johnson a 46 percent edge to Feingold’s 40 percent, a reversal of the previous poll in which independents leaned to Feingold by 44 percent to 37 percent for Johnson.

Forty-five percent describe Johnson as someone who “cares about people like me,” while 41 percent say this does not describe him, unchanged from the previous poll. Forty-nine percent describe Feingold as caring about people like them, while 39 percent say that this does not describe him. Three weeks ago, 52 percent said Feingold cares and 36 percent said he did not.

Fifty percent say “honest” describes Johnson and 33 percent say it does not. Fifty percent say “honest” describes Feingold and 39 percent say it does not. In the previous poll, 49 percent said “honest” described Johnson and 33 percent said it did not. For Feingold, 52 percent described him as honest while 36 percent did not in the previous poll.

Among all likely voters, 43 percent have a favorable view of Johnson, 40 percent hold an unfavorable view and 18 percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t know how they view him. Feingold is viewed favorably by 46 percent, unfavorably by 42 percent, and 12 percent say they lack an opinion of him. Anderson is viewed favorably by 3 percent, unfavorably by 6 percent, and 90 percent lack an opinion of him. In September, Johnson was seen favorably by 43 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 37 percent, with 20 percent lacking an opinion. Feingold was viewed favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 40 percent, with 15 percent lacking an opinion of him. In the previous poll, 4 percent had a favorable view of Anderson, 7 percent an unfavorable view and 89 percent did not have an opinion of him.

Concerns about presidential candidates

Fifty-two percent of registered voters say that the video of Trump talking about his treatment of women “bothers them a lot,” while 23 percent say it bothers them a little and 23 percent say this doesn’t bother them. This is similar to the 50 percent who say they are bothered a lot by Clinton’s use of a private email server, with 23 percent bothered a little and 26 percent who say they are not bothered by it.

Asked about a leaked email quoting Clinton as saying politicians must have a public agenda and a private one, 41 percent say this bothers them a lot, 27 percent say it bothers them a little and 29 percent say it does not bother them.

Forty-two percent say they are bothered a lot by Trump’s decision not to release his tax returns, while 20 percent are bothered a little and 38 percent are not bothered about this.

Seventy-five percent of registered voters say Trump has the physical capacity to meet the demands of the presidency, while 21 percent say he does not. Sixty-seven percent say Clinton has the physical capacity for the presidency while 28 percent say she does not.

Issues regarding the election

Thirty-eight percent of registered voters say that they are very confident the votes for president will be accurately counted, with 30 percent somewhat confident, 18 percent not very confident and 12 percent not at all confident. Among Republicans, 22 percent are very confident the vote will be accurately counted, 36 percent somewhat confident, 28 percent not very confident and 13 percent not at all confident. Among Democrats, 57 percent are very confident of an accurate vote count, with 25 percent somewhat, 11 percent not very and 6 percent not at all confident in the vote count. Thirty-six percent of independents are very confident of an accurate count, with 30 percent somewhat, 18 percent not very and 16 percent not at all confident in the accuracy of the vote count.

Among registered voters, 25 percent are very concerned that the Russians may attempt to influence the election, 31 percent are somewhat concerned, 18 percent not very concerned and 23 percent not at all concerned. Among Democrats, 38 percent are very concerned, with 34 percent somewhat, 16 percent not very and 12 percent not at all concerned about Russian influence. Among Republicans, 15 percent are very concerned about Russian influence in the election, with 29 percent somewhat, 23 percent not very and 32 percent not at all concerned about Russian influence. Twenty-three percent of independents are very concerned, 31 percent somewhat concerned, 18 percent not very concerned and 26 percent not at all concerned about Russian influence in the American election.

New voters

Among all registered voters, 10 percent say this will be the first time they vote in a presidential election. Among Republicans, 8 percent say this will be their first presidential vote, among Democrats 9 percent are new voters, and among independents 14 percent are new voters.

Among new voters who are registered to vote, Clinton and Trump each receive 31 percent, with Johnson getting 14 percent, Stein 11 percent and 14 percent not expressing a preference. Among new likely voters Trump receives 41 percent to Clinton’s 34 percent, Johnson’s 5 percent and Stein’s 8 percent. However, the new-voter samples are too small to be considered reliable estimates. The margin of error is +/-14 percentage points for new likely voters. Among all new voters, the margin of error is +/- 12 percentage points.

Outlook for Congress and party leadership

Asked if it is appropriate for an opposition party in Congress to adopt the attitude that their greatest priority is to ensure that the president is not reelected in 2020, 72 percent of registered voters say that this is not appropriate while 16 percent say it is appropriate. Majorities of each partisan group say such an approach is not appropriate, with 67 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of independents saying such an approach is not appropriate. Twenty percent of Republicans, 17 percent of Democrats and 13 percent of independents say such an approach is appropriate.

Asked whom they would rather see lead the Republican party in 2017, 20 percent of registered voters say Trump, 13 percent Sen. Ted Cruz and 51 percent Rep. Paul Ryan. Among Republicans, 36 percent prefer Trump, 16 percent Cruz and 42 percent Ryan. Democrats prefer Ryan by 58 percent to 12 for Cruz and 8 for Trump. Independents prefer Ryan by 53 percent to 13 percent for Cruz and 19 percent for Trump.

Talk about politics

Far more people talk about politics frequently with family and friends than they do at work. Seventy-two percent of registered voters talk at least weekly about politics with family and friends, with 13 percent doing so once or twice a month and 8 percent a few times a year. Six percent never discuss politics. With co-workers, 44 percent talk politics at least weekly, 10 percent once or twice a month and 8 percent a few times a year. Thirty-eight percent never discuss politics with co-workers.

Among all registered voters, 34 percent say they have stopped talking about politics with someone due to disagreements about the election. In 2012, the last polls before the recall election for governor of Wisconsin that June and before the November general election found that 35 percent and 33 percent respectively had stopped talking to someone about politics. Before the November 2014 election, 27 percent said they had stopped talking to someone because of politics.

Views of the vice-presidential candidates

Republican vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence is viewed favorably by 37 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 30 percent, with 33 percent lacking an opinion about him. In the Aug. 4-7 poll following the national party conventions, Pence was viewed favorably by 24 percent and unfavorably by 21 percent, with 55 percent lacking an opinion.

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine is viewed favorably by 27 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 31 percent, with 42 percent lacking an opinion about him. In the Aug. 4-7 poll, Kaine was viewed favorably by 20 percent and unfavorably by 20 percent, with 60 percent lacking an opinion.

Job approval of Walker and Obama

Approval of how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is handling his job stands at 42 percent, with disapproval at 51 percent among all registered voters. In the Oct. 6-9 poll, approval was 44 percent and disapproval was 51 percent.

President Barack Obama’s job approval stands at 52 percent, with 44 percent disapproval. In the previous poll, 52 percent approved and 43 percent disapproved.

About the Marquette Law School Poll

The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 1,401 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone, Oct. 26-31, 2016. The margin of error is +/-3.3 percentage points for the full sample. For likely voters, the unweighted sample size is 1,255 and weighted sample size is 1,190, with a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points. When broken down by day of interview, the margin of error is +/- 5.3 percentage points for Wednesday and Thursday‘s sample (541 respondents), +/-9.8 percentage points for the Friday sample (157 respondents) and +/-5.4 percentage points for the combined Saturday, Sunday and Monday samples (557 respondents).

The partisan makeup of the full registered-voter sample, including those who lean to a party, is 42 percent Republican, 48 percent Democratic and 8 percent independent. The long-term estimate over the previous 40 statewide Marquette polls, with 34,751 respondents, is 43 percent Republican and 47 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup of this sample, excluding those who lean to a party, is 27 percent Republican, 32 percent Democratic and 37 percent independent, compared to the long-term estimate of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 38 percent independent.