Marquette Law School Poll finds Walker, Clinton leading primary fields among Wisconsin voters

For U.S. Senate, Feingold 47, Johnson 42

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Scott Walker leading in Wisconsin in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, with 25 percent of voters who are Republican or lean Republican saying that he is their first choice. Following Walker are Ben Carson at 13 percent, Donald Trump at 9 percent, and Ted Cruz at 8 percent. Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio receive 7 percent each. Jeb Bush is the choice of 6 percent, and each of the remaining candidates garners 4 percent or less.

In April, the Marquette poll had Walker at 40 percent, with Rand Paul in second place at 10 percent. Trump was not included in the April list of candidates.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads with 44 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 32 percent and Joe Biden at 12 percent. Lincoln Chaffee, Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb each receive less than 1 percent support. In April, Clinton had 58 percent support and Biden 12 percent while Sanders was not included in the April poll. Elizabeth Warren, who was not included in this poll, had received 14 percent support in April.

In the 2016 race for the U.S. Senate, Democrat Russ Feingold receives 47 percent support and Republican Ron Johnson 42 percent. In April, Feingold received 54 percent to Johnson’s 38 percent. Feingold is viewed favorably by 42 percent and unfavorably by 30 percent, with 28 percent unable to give a rating. Johnson is seen favorably by 30 percent and unfavorably by 31 percent, with 38 percent unable to rate him. In April, Feingold’s rating was 47 percent favorable and 26 percent unfavorable, with 26 percent unable to rate. For Johnson in April, 32 percent had a favorable view, 29 percent unfavorable, and 39 percent were unable to rate.

The full sample includes 802 registered voters interviewed by cell phone and by landline with a margin of error of +/-4.3 percentage points. Results for the Republican nomination are based on 334 registered voters who consider themselves Republicans or independents who lean to the Republican Party. The Democratic results are based on 396 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.

Looking ahead to possible general election preferences of Wisconsin voters:

  • Clinton 47, Bush 42.
  • Clinton 52, Walker 42.
  • Clinton 50, Cruz 38.
  • Clinton 51, Trump 35.

In April, the results showed Clinton leading Bush 49-38. She led Walker 52-40 and Cruz 52-36. Trump was not matched against Clinton in the April poll.

Wisconsinites’ perceptions of Walker
Thirty-nine percent of those polled approve of the job Walker is doing as governor, while 57 percent disapprove. In April, 41 percent approved while 56 percent disapproved. Thirty-three percent say that they like Walker’s decision to run for president, while 63 percent say they do not. Among Republicans, support for his presidential bid is much higher, 70 percent, while 28 percent do not like his running. Among independents who lean Republican, 44 percent say they like his bid while 53 percent do not. Among independents, independents who lean Democratic, and Democratic partisans, support for his run is 15 percent or less. In April, 34 percent of all those polled said they would like him to run while 62 percent said they would not.

Asked whether the phrase “cares about people like you” describes Walker, 37 percent say it does, while 59 percent say it does not. When last asked in October 2014, shortly before the gubernatorial election, 46 percent said this described Walker, while 50 percent said it did not.

Asked if “able to get things done” describes Walker, 60 percent say it does while 38 percent say it does not. In October 2014, 63 percent said this described Walker while 33 percent said it did not.

State conditions
Forty-six percent say Wisconsin is headed in the right direction while 52 percent say the state has gotten off on the wrong track. In April, 43 percent said right direction and 53 percent said wrong track.

Fifty percent say the state is lagging behind other states in creating jobs, 36 percent say it is creating jobs at about the same rate as others and 9 percent say the state is growing jobs faster than other states. In April, 52 percent said Wisconsin was lagging, 34 said it was adding jobs at the same rate as others and 8 percent said the state was adding jobs faster.

After the legislative debate over the budget in the spring and summer, 41 percent say the state budget is in worse shape than a few years ago while 36 percent say it is better and 19 percent say it is about the same. In April, 38 percent said the budget was worse, 33 percent said better and 25 percent said it was about the same.

Political issues
Forty-eight percent say they support the recently enacted ban on almost all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy while 44 percent oppose the ban. Partisan differences on this issue are substantial, with 77 percent support among Republicans, 67 percent among independents who lean Republican, 54 percent among independents, 30 percent among independents who lean Democratic and 23 percent among Democrats.

Protestants and Catholics are equally supportive of the ban, at 54 percent support, while those with no religious attachment offer only 23 percent support. Frequency of attendance at religious services also is related to views on this legislation, with 67 percent support among those who attend services at least once a week, 43 percent support among those who attend a few times a year and 32 percent among those who seldom or never attend religious services. Of those under 45 years old, 40 percent support the ban while 51 percent oppose it. Of those age 45 and older, 54 percent approve of the ban while 40 percent oppose it. There is only a slight difference by gender, with women supporting the ban 48 to 46 and men supporting it 49 to 42.

Cuts to the University of Wisconsin system receive a mixed review. Asked whether the university system could absorb the $250 million cut that was approved in the budget, 38 percent say it could while 58 percent say the cut would reduce educational quality. However, 52 percent say the university could absorb the extension of a tuition freeze on in-state students, while 44 percent say this would reduce educational quality.

A majority, 52 percent, say they agree with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country, while 40 percent say they disagree with the ruling. Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, 25 percent agree with the ruling while 68 percent disagree. Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, 76 percent agree with the ruling and 18 percent disagree. For independents who lean toward neither party, 52 percent agree with the ruling while 31 percent disagree with it.

Asked what policy should apply to those immigrants currently in the country illegally, 49 percent say they should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship, 25 percent say they should be allowed to stay as guest workers only and 23 percent say they should be required to leave the country. When last asked in October 2014, 52 percent favored a path to citizenship and 20 percent a guest worker option, while 24 percent said they should be required to leave. Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, 32 percent support a path to citizenship and 28 percent a guest worker option, while 37 percent say they should be required to leave. Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, 63 percent favor a citizenship process and 22 percent a guest worker program, while 11 percent say they should be required to leave. Fifty-four percent of independents favor a citizenship path, 19 percent a guest worker program, and 24 percent a requirement to leave.

Republican presidential debate
Forty-three percent of respondents say they watched the Aug. 6 Republican debate, while 56 percent did not. Fifty-one percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say they watched, while 40 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic did so.

Eighteen percent say they read or talked about the debate a lot, 39 percent say they read or talked some, while 24 percent say they had not talked much about it and 19 percent say they had not read or talked at all about the debate. Twenty-two percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say they had read or talked a lot about the debate and 38 percent say they had done so some. Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, 16 percent read or talked a lot and 43 percent had done so some, while for independents 17 percent read or talked a lot and 28 percent had done some of this.

Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican who watched the debate, Walker is the first choice for the GOP nomination of 21 percent while he is chosen by 30 percent of those who did not watch. Carson is the first choice of 17 percent of watchers and 10 percent of non-watchers. Trump is the choice of 5 percent of debate watchers and 13 percent of non-watchers.

Among those Republicans and leaners who read or talked a lot or some about the debate, Carson is the top choice of 17 percent, followed by Walker at 16 percent and Cruz at 12 percent. For those who read or talked only a little or not at all, Walker is the first choice of 38 percent, followed by Trump at 11 percent and Carson and Bush at 7 percent each.

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 first choice support and then by name. The top three first-choice candidates remain the top three in the combined strength measure as well. Rubio rises to fourth place in the combined measure from a tie for fifth among first choices

Candidate First Choice Second Choice Combined
Walker 25 18 43
Carson 13 9 22
Trump 9 10 19
Cruz 8 7 15
Fiorina 7 9 16
Rubio 7 10 17
Bush 6 9 15
Huckabee 4 5 9
Christie 2 4 6
Jindal 2 0 2
Paul 2 5 7
Gilmore 1 0 1
Kasich 1 2 3
Perry 1 1 2
Santorum 1 1 2
Graham 0 1 1
Pataki 0 1 1

Among the Democrats, the top ranking remains the same when considering only first choices or first and second choices combined, with Clinton, Sanders and Biden in that order. Biden is the strongest second-choice candidate with 34 percent.

Candidate First Choice Second Choice Combined
Clinton 44 28 72
Sanders 32 20 52
Biden 12 34 46
Chaffee 1 2 3
O’Malley 1 3 4
Webb 1 2 3

Environmental issues
Sixty-one percent of all registered voters say they support strict limits on carbon-dioxide emissions for existing coal-fired power plants, while 34 percent oppose those limits. The question mentioned both positive and negative effects of such a limit:

“Do you support or oppose setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health. Power plants would have to reduce their emissions and/or invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The cost of electricity to consumers and companies would likely increase.”

Thirty-six percent of Republicans and Republican leaners support this regulation while 58 percent oppose it. Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, 83 percent support this and 14 percent oppose this. Independents divide 66 percent in favor and 31 percent opposed.

This summer, Pope Francis released an encyclical urging the world to do more to address climate change. Forty-six percent of registered voters say they had not heard about Pope Francis’ statement on climate change; 36 percent agree with his message; and 17 percent disagree. Among Catholics, 39 percent say they had not heard of this, 45 percent say they agree and 15 percent say they disagree.

Views of Pope Francis are generally positive, with 51 percent having a favorable opinion of him, 12 percent unfavorable and 36 percent unable to say. Among Catholics, 70 percent have a favorable opinion, 6 percent unfavorable, and 23 percent are unable to give an opinion.

Opinions of other political figures
Approval of how President Barack Obama is handling his job stands at 48 percent, with 48 percent disapproving. In April, 49 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s favorable rating stands at 36 percent, with 40 percent unfavorable and 24 percent unable to give a rating. In April, 39 percent viewed her favorably, 38 percent unfavorably and 23 percent could not say.

About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 802 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, August 13-16, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.3 percentage points for the full sample. For Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, the sample size is 334, with a margin of error of +/-6.6 percentage points. For Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, the sample size is 396, 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 42 percent Republican, 48 percent Democratic and 9 percent independent. The long-term estimate over the previous 28 statewide Marquette polls with 24,319 respondents is 43 percent Republican and 47 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup excluding those who lean to a party is 27 percent Republican, 28 percent Democratic and 42 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 opportunities, limits to public support for cooperation in the Chicago “megacity”

Study of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin residents explores attitudes on workforce training, funding for transportation and tourism, and neighborhood and police matters

Download the full report.

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll of the Chicago megacity region, from southeast Wisconsin through the Chicago area and into northwest Indiana, finds a majority of residents saying that political leaders in all three states should work together to promote economic development throughout the region instead of competing with each other.

Seventy percent of northeast Illinois residents, 72 percent of northwest Indiana residents and 61 percent of southeast Wisconsin residents said that leaders should work together. Twenty-eight percent in Illinois, 26 percent in Indiana and 35 percent in Wisconsin said that political leaders should look out for their own state first.

This general support for cooperation extends to coordination on transportation projects and professional licensing, but not to tourism or efforts to attract large businesses to the region.

Nearly 60 percent in each state supported putting money in a common fund for coordinating planning for airports, railroads, highways and Lake Michigan shipping, with 63 percent in Illinois, 60 percent in Indiana and 58 percent in Wisconsin agreeing. Fewer than 40 percent in each state said that the states should go their own way on transportation planning.

Majorities in each state thought it would be better to have a single license in various trades and professions across the region than to require people to be licensed in each state with different state standards. Sixty-four percent in Illinois, 62 percent in Indiana and 54 percent in Wisconsin would support a single license, while 34 percent in Illinois, 36 percent in Indiana and 44 percent in Wisconsin thought that each state should set its own licensing requirements.

That support for regional efforts disappeared, however, on the subject of attracting large companies or tourism. A majority in each state said that states should go their own way in trying to attract large companies, with 51 percent in Illinois, 53 percent in Indiana and 60 percent in Wisconsin agreeing. Forty-three percent in Illinois, 41 percent in Indiana and 35 percent in Wisconsin would support a common fund for business recruitment. For tourism, even more respondents said that the states should go their own way, with 59 percent of Illinois, 58 percent of Indiana and 65 percent of Wisconsin supporting independent efforts by the states. Only 36 percent of Illinois, 38 percent of Indiana and 33 percent of Wisconsin would support a common fund for tourism promotion.

Respondents also said that they would be willing to move across state lines, if their jobs were nearby, in order to have lower property and income taxes. Sixty-five percent in Illinois, 67 percent in Indiana and 62 percent in Wisconsin said they would move to a lower-tax state if their job were near the border. In Illinois 28 percent said they would not move, as did 29 percent in Indiana and 31 percent in Wisconsin.

Respondents were asked whether they would strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: “The most important thing to me is how well things are going where I live and I really don’t care what’s happening elsewhere in the region.” More than 60 percent of respondents in each state disagree with the statement that the most important thing is how well things are going where they live. By a two-to-one margin, they say they care about the wider region.

“These results show that there is public support for political leaders to pursue policies of cooperation in areas where shared benefits are high, such as transportation or professional licensing,” said Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll. “On other issues where direct and competing economic interests are at stake, such as tourism or attracting business, politicians are likely to find public disapproval of cooperative efforts. And while Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin residents certainly have their own distinct identities, we found perhaps surprisingly uniform opinions across the three states when it comes to cooperation.”

The Marquette Law School Poll of the Chicago megacity surveyed 1,872 respondents from the tri-state region. In southeast Wisconsin the poll included 660 respondents from Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha counties. In Illinois, 600 respondents were interviewed from Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The 612 respondents from Indiana were from Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton and Porter counties. These 21 counties form the Chicago economic region studied by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in its 2012 report on economic conditions and prospects for the region. The margin of error for the Illinois sample is +/- 5.8 percentage points, +/- 5.2 percentage points for Indiana and +/-5.1 percentage points for Wisconsin.

Workforce preparation
A strong majority of respondents said that the training and work ethic of the labor force had a great deal or a good bit to do with determining economic growth, with 71 percent in Illinois, 74 percent in Indiana and 77 percent in Wisconsin choosing these options. Twenty-seven percent in Illinois, 22 percent in Indiana and 21 percent in Wisconsin said the workforce had only a little or nothing at all to do with economic growth.

When it came to their own careers, however, a majority in the region said that they had looked for whatever job was available rather than entering the workforce with a clear plan. In Illinois, 49 percent looked for what was available, as did 62 percent in Indiana and 52 percent in Wisconsin. Forty-nine percent of Illinois respondents said that they started their careers with a clear plan along with 37 percent in Indiana and 47 percent in Wisconsin.

Views of how much education is needed these days for a good-paying job reflected the expectation that more was needed. Twenty-one percent in Illinois said a high school diploma was enough, as did 19 percent in Indiana and 21 percent in Wisconsin. There was a wider belief that technical school training after high school could provide the foundation for a successful career, with 21 percent in Illinois, 27 percent in Indiana and 36 percent in Wisconsin agreeing. More in Illinois, 38 percent, believed that a college degree or higher was required than in Indiana, 29 percent, or Wisconsin, 21 percent.

About a third of respondents in the region said that they had acquired some form of technical training following high school, with 34 percent in Illinois, 33 percent in Indiana and 37 percent in Wisconsin so reporting. Unions provided that training to 18 percent in Illinois, 16 percent in Indiana and 13 percent in Wisconsin. A technical school was the source of training for 24 percent in Illinois, 22 percent in Indiana and 31 percent in Wisconsin. These groups overlap because some respondents had both union and technical school training.

More than half of respondents in the region said that their employer provided training opportunities within the company. Fifty-five percent of Illinois respondents, 49 percent in Indiana and 57 percent in Wisconsin said their employer provided some form of training.

While about one in 10 respondents said that finding work had been extremely hard, more than half said it had been somewhat or extremely easy. In Illinois, 10 percent said work had been extremely hard to find, with another 31 percent saying it was somewhat hard. In Indiana 12 percent said extremely hard and 27 percent somewhat hard, while in Wisconsin eight percent said extremely and 27 percent somewhat hard.

Substantial majorities said that they have been satisfied or very satisfied with their work life, with 84 percent in Illinois, 78 percent in Indiana and 85 percent in Wisconsin expressing satisfaction. Fifteen percent in Illinois, 19 percent in Indiana and 14 percent in Wisconsin said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Only about a third said it is better to change jobs often when better opportunities are available, while nearly two-thirds said it is better to stay in a stable and reliable job for a long time. Thirty-three percent in Illinois, 31 percent in Indiana and 28 percent in Wisconsin would pursue better opportunities, while 63 percent in Illinois, 66 percent in Indiana and 67 percent in Wisconsin prefer the security of a stable situation.

Around 30 percent said that they had, at some time, started or owned a business or been self-employed, with 33 percent in Illinois, 29 percent in Indiana and 26 percent in Wisconsin following this form of entrepreneurial career. Similar numbers said that if they were in their 20s or early 30s, they would be very willing to take a low-paying job with a start up company, with the chance of a large profit if the company were successful. Specifically, 34 percent in Illinois, 33 percent in Indiana and 30 percent in Wisconsin would be very willing to join a start up.

The public is somewhat evenly divided on the question of whether success is simply a matter of hard work and ability or if it is difficult to succeed if you are not born into the upper class. In Illinois 47 percent said that success is a matter of hard work and ability, as did 51 percent in Indiana and 50 percent in Wisconsin, but 49 percent in Illinois, 47 percent in Indiana and 44 percent in Wisconsin said success is difficult without the advantage of an upper-class start.

Transportation and commuting
Residents of Illinois have considerably longer commutes, with 31 percent saying that they spend 40 minutes or more each way traveling to work. In Indiana 20 percent spend that long and in Wisconsin 16 percent do. At the short end of travel times, 22 percent in Illinois, 34 percent in Indiana and 37 percent in Wisconsin said they have less than a 20-minute commute.

Despite the differences in travel time, more than 70 percent in each state described their commute as pretty easy, while five percent or less described it as “a nightmare.”

Cars remain the most frequent mode of travel to work, with 75 percent in Illinois, 90 percent in Indiana and 88 percent in Wisconsin getting to work this way. In Illinois 11 percent use commuter rail and 9 percent ride a bus. In Indiana 3 percent use rail and 2 percent bus, while no respondents in Wisconsin said they use rail and 5 percent use buses.

While cars remain the dominant transit mode, either 31 or 32 percent in each state said that improving commuter rail and Amtrak service was more important than improving highways, while 63 percent in each state said that highway improvements were more important.

Home and community issues
More than 90 percent in each state said they liked their neighborhood or liked it a lot, although seven to nine percent said they disliked it or disliked it a lot. Similarly, most respondents said they thought their neighborhood was either completely or pretty safe, while 14 to 19 percent said they were afraid to walk alone at night or never did.

Policing practices have become the subject of widespread discussion in the wake of high incarceration rates of African-American and other minority populations and recent highly visible deaths of African-Americans in confrontations with police around the country.

In Illinois 41 percent said the police arrest too many people for minor offenses, with 39 percent in Indiana and 35 percent in Wisconsin agreeing. Forty-seven percent in Illinois, 52 percent in Indiana and 54 percent in Wisconsin said there were not too many such arrests.

Forty-two percent in Illinois, 37 percent in Indiana and 42 percent in Wisconsin said the police are too willing to use deadly force, while 49 percent in Illinois, 56 percent in Indiana and 50 percent in Wisconsin disagreed.

These splits mask large differences by race. Among African-Americans in Illinois, 68 percent said deadly force was used too much, as did 51 percent of Hispanics and 33 percent of whites. In Indiana 65 percent of African-Americans, 34 percent of Hispanics and 32 percent of whites held that view. In Wisconsin 76 percent of African-Americans, 46 percent of Hispanics and 36 percent of whites said the police were too willing to use deadly force.

Divisions over arrests follow a similar pattern. In Illinois, 61 percent of African-Americans, 52 percent of Hispanics and 35 percent of whites thought that there were too many arrests for minor offenses. In Indiana 62 percent of African-Americans, 39 percent of Hispanics and 35 percent of whites agreed, while in Wisconsin it was 56 percent among African-Americans, 39 percent among Hispanics and 31 percent among whites.

About the Marquette Law School Poll.
The Marquette Law School poll of the Chicago megacity surveyed 1,872 respondents from the tri-state region. In southeast Wisconsin the poll included 660 respondents from Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha counties. In Illinois 600 respondents were interviewed from Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The 612 respondents from Indiana were from Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton and Porter counties.  These 21 counties make up the Chicago economic region studied by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in its 2012 report on economic conditions and prospects for the region. The margin of error for the Illinois sample is +/- 5.8 percentage points, +/- 5.2 percentage points for Indiana and +/-5.1 percentage points for Wisconsin. The entire questionnaire, full results, and breakdowns by demographic groups are available at http://law.marquette.edu/poll.

Marquette Law School Poll finds Walker job approval down

Clinton leads presidential matchups; controversy over budget

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Gov. Scott Walker’s job approval rating has fallen to 41 percent, with 56 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job as governor. In the previous poll, in October 2014, Walker’s approval among registered voters was 49 percent, with 47 percent disapproving.

To look ahead to a possible 2016 presidential matchup, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads Walker in Wisconsin, 52 percent to 40 percent.

In a possible 2016 U.S. Senate race, former Sen. Russ Feingold has the support of 54 percent of registered voter, leading incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, who has 38 percent, with 9 percent not expressing a preference.

“Election matchups at this point show us where candidates are lining up at the start of the race,” said Charles Franklin, professor of law and public policy and director of the Marquette Law School Poll. “The eventual outcome, of course, depends on how they actually run the course. Having an early picture allows us to measure how the campaign changes voters’ preferences over time.”

The poll interviewed 803 registered voters by landline and cell phone April 7-10. For the full sample, the margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points. For Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, the sample size is 319, with a margin of error of +/-5.6 percentage points. For Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, the sample size is 391, with a margin of error of +/-5.1 percentage points.

Among Wisconsin Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, Walker leads as the choice for the GOP presidential nomination with 40 percent support, followed by Rand Paul at 10 percent, Jeb Bush at 8 percent, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie at 6 percent each, and Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson at 5 percent each. Marco Rubio is supported by 4 percent, with Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum supported by 2 percent each. Rick Perry and Carly Fiorina receive less than 1 percent support each. Eleven percent do not express a preference among the candidates.

Among Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton leads with 58 percent, followed by Elizabeth Warren with 14 percent, Joe Biden with 12 percent and Jim Webb and Martin O’Malley both with 1 percent support. Fourteen percent do not express a preference.

State of the state
Voters’ views of the direction of the state have taken a downturn since October. Fifty-three percent say that the state is now on the wrong track while 43 percent say the state is headed in the right direction. In October, 51 percent of registered voters said the state was headed in the right direction while 44 percent said it was on the wrong track.

Voters also see the state’s employment situation as turning down compared to other states, with 52 percent saying that Wisconsin is lagging behind other states in job creation, 34 percent saying that the state is doing about the same as other states and 8 percent saying that the state is creating jobs faster than other states. In October, 42 percent said the state was lagging, 38 percent said about the same and 13 percent said Wisconsin was creating jobs faster.

Opinion about the state’s budget situation has also turned more negative, with 38 percent saying the budget picture is worse than several years ago, 25 percent saying it is about the same and 33 percent saying it is better now. In October, 27 percent said the budget was worse, 23 percent about the same and 44 percent saying it was better than a few years ago.

State budget proposals
Voters are opposed to a number of cuts proposed by the Walker budget. Seventy-eight percent oppose cutting $127 million from the K-12 public school budget, while 18 percent support the proposal. Seventy percent oppose cutting $300 million from the University of Wisconsin System budget; 26 percent support this.

Sixty percent oppose making the Natural Resources Board an advisory-only board, while 30 percent support that change.

Forty-four percent oppose requiring those on SeniorCare drug coverage to move into the Medicare Part-D program, while 30 percent support the requirement and 25 percent say they don’t have an opinion.

Fifty-one percent of registered voters say that they are willing for the state to borrow $1.3 billion for road construction, with 44 percent opposed. This is a striking contrast with the results of three earlier Marquette Law School polls in 2013 and 2014, in which borrowing to pay for highway projects was opposed by totals of 65 percent to 73 percent of those polled. However, in October 2013, when asked about borrowing $994 million for road construction, 49 percent favored borrowing while 44 percent opposed.

Bucks arena funding
Seventy-nine percent oppose borrowing about $150 million to support a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, with 17 percent supporting the proposal. In the Milwaukee media market, 67 percent oppose funding for an arena and 29 percent support it. Those views vary by less than 2 percentage points among the City of Milwaukee, the surrounding suburban counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, and the seven other southeastern Wisconsin counties included in the media market.

In the rest of the state only 9 percent support borrowing for an arena, with 88 percent opposed.

Public schools
Forty-eight percent oppose the proposed elimination of state funding for tests based on the Common Core standards, while 35 percent favor the elimination of funding and 17 percent say they don’t have an opinion.

Voters strongly support continuing federally required testing in math and English, by 80 percent to 17 percent.

Asked if there should be a state agency to deal with low-performing schools or if parents’ choices were enough to improve school quality, 55 percent say parents’ choices are enough, while 36 percent say a state agency is needed.

Asked which is more important, reducing property taxes or increasing spending on public schools, 40 percent say reducing property taxes is more important while 54 percent say increasing spending on schools is more important. In March and May of 2013, 49 percent said reducing property taxes was more important and 46 percent said school funding was more important.

Among homeowners, 51 percent say increasing school funding is more important and 44 percent say holding down property taxes is more important. For renters, 64 percent prefer school funding while 30 percent say reducing property taxes is more important. Sixty-one percent of parents with school-age children say increased school funding is more important, with 34 percent preferring lower property taxes. Among those without school-age children, 52 percent favor school funding to 42 percent favoring lower property taxes.

When it comes to the job public schools are doing, 25 percent say they are very satisfied with public schools in their community, 50 percent satisfied, 16 percent dissatisfied and 5 percent very dissatisfied. Among parents of school-age children, 32 percent are very satisfied, 45 percent satisfied, 17 percent dissatisfied and 5 percent very dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction is highest in the City of Milwaukee, where 47 percent are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied while 49 percent are satisfied or very satisfied.

The Milwaukee sample is only 75 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 12 percentage points, so it should be viewed with caution. However, pooling results over four polls since 2012 produces similar results based on 348 Milwaukee respondents, with a margin of error of +/-5.4 percentage points. For the four polls combined, 50 percent of Milwaukee respondents are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, while 43 percent are satisfied or very satisfied. Other regions of the state show only modest variation in satisfaction with local public schools compared to the statewide results.

Vouchers
Fifty-four percent oppose removing limits on the number of students statewide outside Milwaukee and Racine counties receiving publicly funded vouchers to attend private schools, with 37 percent favoring ending the limit on vouchers, now set at 1,000 students. In September 2014, 18 percent supported removing all limits on vouchers, 21 percent supported increasing but not eliminating the limits, 19 percent favored keeping the 1,000-student limit and 38 percent would eliminate the statewide voucher program entirely. In previous polling in October 2013 and October 2014, support for expanding vouchers statewide beyond Milwaukee and Racine without mentioning limits was supported by 50 and 49 percent, with 44 percent opposed to expansion in both polls.

Right to work legislation
Voters were asked their view of the recently passed “right to work” legislation, with a question that provided two arguments frequently made by supporters of the legislation and two arguments frequently made by opponents. The order of supporting and opposing arguments was randomized, so that about half of respondents heard the supporting arguments first and about half heard the opposing arguments first. The question text was:

Recently the state adopted a “right to work” law that says workers in private companies cannot be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Supporters say the law will increase workers’ options to work where they wish and make Wisconsin more attractive for business. Opponents say the law will weaken unions and drive down pay scales for everyone. Do you support or oppose this new law?

Forty-four percent say they support the law while 50 percent say they oppose it, with 5 percent saying they don’t know.

Presidential campaign
Thirty-four percent of registered voters say that they would like to see Walker run for president while 62 percent would not like him to run. In October 2014, 26 percent wanted him to run and 68 percent did not.  Among those who consider themselves either Republicans or independents leaning toward the Republican Party, 66 percent support a Walker presidential bid, with 29 percent opposed; in October 2014 just 44 percent favored a run with 48 percent opposed.

Asked whether any governor can run for president and still handle his or her duties as governor, 67 percent think that a governor cannot, with 29 percent saying that a governor can do both. Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, 48 percent think a governor can do both and 48 percent say a governor cannot.

Clinton leads five potential Republican opponents in hypothetical 2016 matchups among registered voters. Clinton leads Paul 49-41, leads Bush 49-38, leads Walker 52-40, leads Rubio 50-38 and leads Cruz 52-36.

Favorability ratings
Sen. Johnson receives a 32 percent favorable and 29 percent unfavorable rating, with 39 percent saying they haven’t heard enough or don’t know. Sen. Tammy Baldwin receives a 39 percent favorable and 38 percent unfavorable rating, with 23 percent saying they haven’t heard enough or don’t know. In October 2014, Johnson was viewed favorably by 33 percent and unfavorably by 30 percent, with 36 percent unable to rate him. In October, Baldwin was viewed favorably by 36 percent and unfavorably by 37 percent with 26 percent unable to rate her.

Former Sen. Feingold is viewed favorably by 47 percent and unfavorably by 26 percent, with 26 percent unable to rate him. In October, 42 percent viewed him favorably and 30 percent unfavorably, with 27 percent unable to rate him.

President Barack Obama holds a 49 percent job approval rating with 47 percent disapproval. In October, 42 percent approved while 51 percent disapproved.

Favorability of potential presidential candidates
The favorability ratings for a number of potential presidential candidates were included in the poll. The ratings among partisans or independents who lean to a party are listed below.

Among Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party:

Jeb Bush: Favorable 38%, unfavorable 26%, haven’t heard enough 32%, don’t know 4%

Chris Christie: Favorable 29%, unfavorable 38%, haven’t heard enough 29%, don’t know 5%

Ted Cruz: Favorable 30%, unfavorable 13%, haven’t heard enough 49%, don’t know 8%

Rand Paul: Favorable 46%, unfavorable 12%, haven’t heard enough 38%, don’t know 4%

Marco Rubio: Favorable 37%, unfavorable 8%, haven’t heard enough 47%, don’t know 8%

Scott Walker: Favorable 84%, unfavorable 15%, haven’t heard enough 1%, don’t know 1%

Among Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party:

Joe Biden: Favorable 73%, unfavorable 14%, haven’t heard enough 12%, don’t know 1%

Hillary Clinton: Favorable 76%, unfavorable 18%, haven’t heard enough 4%, don’t know 2%

Martin O’Malley: Favorable 5%, unfavorable 7%, haven’t heard enough 75%, don’t know 13%

Elizabeth Warren: Favorable 36%, unfavorable 7%, haven’t heard enough 52%, don’t know 5%

Party composition of the sample
In this poll, Republicans make up 24 percent of the registered voter sample with Democrats at 30 percent and independents at 40 percent.

Over all Marquette Law School Polls conducted in 2014, with 8,041 registered voters, Republicans totaled 26 percent while Democrats totaled 30 percent and independents 40 percent. In 2014, Republicans varied between 24 and 29 percent while Democrats varied between 28 and 32 percent. Independents varied between 37 and 44 percent.

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, April 7-10, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points for the full sample. For Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, the sample size is 319, with a margin of error of +/-5.6 percentage points. For Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, the sample size is 391, with a margin of error of +/-5.1 percentage points. Republican and Democratic presidential primary items were asked of the corresponding party samples.