New Marquette Law School Poll finds ties in Wisconsin races for both governor and attorney general

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke tied in the Wisconsin governor’s race, with 47 percent of likely voters supporting each candidate. Another 4 percent say that they are undecided or that they do not know whom they will support, while fewer than 1 percent say that they will vote for someone else. Likely voters are those who say that they are certain to vote in the November election.

Among registered voters, Walker receives 48 percent and Burke 45 percent, with 5 percent undecided and fewer than 1 percent saying that they will vote for someone else.

In the previous Marquette Law School Poll, conducted Sept. 25-28, Walker held a 50-45 edge over Burke among likely voters, while 46 percent of registered voters supported Walker to Burke’s 45 percent support.

The poll interviewed 1,004 registered voters and 803 likely voters by landline and cell phone Oct. 9-12. For the full sample of 1,004 registered voters, the margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of 803 likely voters is +/- 3.5 percentage points.

In the race for attorney general, among likely voters, Republican Brad Schimel and Democrat Susan Happ each receive support from 42 percent, with 16 percent saying that they are undecided or don’t know for whom they will vote. Among registered voters, both candidates receive 39 percent support, with 19 percent yet to choose a candidate.

Demographic differences
Among likely voters who think of themselves as independents, Burke receives 45 percent support to Walker’s 44 percent. In the Sept. 25-28 poll, independents supported Walker by 53 percent to Burke’s 40 percent. Partisan voters remain loyal to their parties, with Walker winning 96 percent of Republican likely voters and Burke winning 94 percent of Democrats, barely changed over the past two weeks. Just 4 percent of Republicans are crossing over to vote for Burke while 3 percent of Democrats are voting for Walker.

Regionally, Burke leads in the City of Milwaukee (76-21 percent) and in the Madison media market (59-32). Walker leads in the Milwaukee market outside the city (53-40) and in the Green Bay market (58 39). In the rest of the state, Walker leads 51-46 percent.

The gender gap, which was exceptionally strong in the previous poll, has all but vanished in this poll. Among likely voters, men favor Walker by a 48-46 percentage-point margin while women favor Burke 48-47. Among all registered voters, men prefer Walker 49-43 and women are evenly split at 47 percent for each candidate. Since July, Walker’s advantage among men has varied between 11 and 28 percentage points, while Burke’s advantage among women has ranged from 6 to 18 percentage points.

In the 2012 U.S. Senate race between Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson, the gender gap among likely voters also showed substantial variation, with Baldwin’s advantage among women ranging from 2 to 16 points, while men favored Thompson by as much as 19 points and in one poll preferred Baldwin by 2.

Photo ID for voting
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court order issued late on Thursday, Oct. 9, whose effect is to block Wisconsin’s photo ID law for this election, public awareness of what is required to vote shifted rapidly over the four-day period of the poll.

Among likely voters, 82 percent of respondents interviewed on Thursday said that an ID would be required to vote, while 13 percent said it would not and 5 percent said they didn’t know. News of the change in policy spread rapidly after the Thursday evening decision. Among likely voters interviewed Friday through Sunday, 68 percent correctly said no ID would be required, while 26 percent still thought one would be and 6 percent said they didn’t know.

Voters also rapidly learned that the U.S. Supreme Court had entered an order on the issue. Among respondents interviewed Friday through Sunday, 67 percent said they knew the Supreme Court had issued an order while 20 percent believed it had not and 13 percent said they didn’t know.

Fifty-eight percent of likely voters in the poll support requiring a government-issued photo ID in order to vote while 39 percent oppose the requirement.

Gubernatorial debate
Friday night’s gubernatorial debate occurred too late to include most respondents interviewed for this poll. Of the 276 registered voters interviewed Saturday and Sunday, 28 percent say they watched or listened to the debate and an additional 20 percent say they read or heard about the debate afterward.

Among those who watched or read about the debate, 42 percent say Walker did better while 34 percent say Burke did better, 10 percent call it a tie and 12 percent say they don’t know who did better. This is a small sample of those exposed to the debate, with 131 respondents and a margin of error of +/- 8.7 percentage points, making the difference of opinion less than the margin of error. In the still-smaller likely-voter sample of those exposed to the debate, 43 percent think Walker did better, 33 percent say Burke did better, 12 say it was a tie, and 11 say they do not know. For that sample of 119 respondents, the margin of error is +/- 9.2 percentage points.

Images of the candidates
Burke is viewed favorably by 44 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 44 percent, while 11 percent say that they haven’t heard enough about her or don’t know how they feel. Two weeks ago her favorable rating was 40 percent and unfavorable was 44 percent, while 16 percent couldn’t say.

Walker is viewed favorably by 50 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 48 percent, with 1 percent not holding an opinion. That compares to 52 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable in the previous poll, with 3 percent not holding an opinion.

Asked if “cares about people like you” describes Burke, 52 percent of likely voters say it does while 37 percent say it does not and 10 percent say they don’t know. The previous poll found 49 percent saying “cares about you” described her while 41 percent said it did not and 9 percent said they didn’t know. For Walker, 48 percent of likely voters say “cares about you” describes him, while 50 percent say it does not and 2 percent say they don’t know. In late September, 48 percent said this described him while 49 percent said it did not and 2 percent lacked an opinion.

When it comes to being “able to get things done,” 46 percent say this describes Burke while 39 percent say it does not, with 15 percent saying they don’t know. Two weeks ago, 42 percent said this described her while 40 percent said it did not, with 17 percent unable to say. For Walker, 67 percent say he is someone who is able to get things done while 30 percent disagree, with 2 percent unable to say. In late September, 63 percent said he was someone able to get things done while 35 percent disagreed, with 2 percent unable to say. All figures are for likely voters.

Voter involvement and participation
Partisans of both parties remain highly likely to vote, with 82 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats saying they are certain they will vote in November. That is up slightly from 80 and 77 percent, respectively, two weeks ago.

Independents have moved sharply up in their reported likelihood of voting, with 80 percent saying they are certain they will vote, up from 67 percent two weeks ago. Independents usually trail partisans in turnout.

All party groups increased their reported enthusiasm for voting over the past two weeks, with 70 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents saying they are “very enthusiastic” about voting this November. In the late-September poll, 58 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of Democrats, and 44 percent of independents said they were very enthusiastic.

Voters report varying levels of personal political activity. Among all registered voters, 40 percent say they have tried to persuade someone to vote for or against a candidate in the last three months, 15 percent report having put up a yard sign or bumper sticker and 15 percent say they have contributed money to a candidate or party.

Thirty-five percent say they talk to family and friends about politics more than once a week and another 22 percent say they do so once a week; another 17 percent say they talk once or twice a month while 15 percent say a few times a year. Ten percent say they never talk about politics with family and friends.

Talking to co-workers about politics is less common, with 16 percent of those polled saying they do so more than once a week, 16 percent once a week, 14 percent once or twice a month, and 12 percent a few times a year. Forty-one percent say they never talk about politics with co-workers.

The potential downside of political conversation is seen in the 27 percent who say there is someone with whom they’ve stopped talking about politics due to disagreements over the governor’s race. In May 2012, two weeks before the recall, 34 percent said they had stopped talking with someone about politics.

Voters are also on the receiving end of party contacts. Sixty percent of registered voters say they have been contacted by a party or candidate since July 1, and 40 percent say they have been contacted in the last week. Of those contacted, 14 percent say they were contacted only by Democrats, 29 percent only by Republicans and 53 percent by both parties.

Jobs
Among likely voters, 50 percent say the state is lagging behind other states in job creation, 37 percent say the state is keeping pace and 10 percent say the state is adding jobs faster than other states. In late September, 43 percent said that Wisconsin was lagging behind other states in job creation, while 38 percent said that the state was adding jobs about the same rate as other states and 12 percent said faster than other states.

State budget
Forty-five percent of likely voters see the state budget as in better shape than a few years ago, while 28 percent see it as in worse shape, with 24 percent saying it is about the same. In the poll taken two weeks ago, 46 percent said that the budget was in better shape than a few years ago, while 31 percent said worse shape and 18 percent said about the same.

Direction of the state
Among likely voters, 53 percent say that the state is headed in the right direction while 43 percent say that the state is off on the wrong track. In the previous poll, 56 percent said right direction and 42 percent said wrong track.

Among likely voters, 50 percent approve of the way Walker is handling his job as governor while 48 percent disapprove. Two weeks ago 52 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved.

Attorney general candidates and issues
The candidates for attorney general are only gradually becoming better known to voters. Seventy-four percent of likely voters say they haven’t heard enough of or don’t have an opinion of Brad Schimel, down slightly from 80 percent two weeks ago. Seventy-two percent lack an opinion of Susan Happ, barely changed from the 75 percent who said they didn’t have an opinion in late September. Almost all interviews were completed before the Sunday afternoon debate, televised statewide from Marquette Law School, between Schimel and Happ.

Schimel is viewed favorably by 15 percent and unfavorably by 10 percent, compared to 12 percent favorable and 7 percent unfavorable two weeks ago. For Happ, 14 percent have a favorable view and 14 percent unfavorable, versus 11 percent favorable and 13 percent unfavorable in late-September.

Same-sex marriage and other issues
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Oct. 6 effectively allowing same-sex marriage in Wisconsin and several other states, 63 percent of likely voters support legalizing marriage of gay and lesbian couples while 30 percent are opposed. In May, 53 percent of likely voters supported same-sex marriage while 40 percent opposed it.

Likely voters continue to support an increase in the minimum wage, with 61 percent in favor and 35 percent opposed.

Fifty-nine percent of likely voters would like the state to accept increased federal support for expanding the Medicaid program to cover those just over the poverty line, while 30 percent say the state should reject that expansion.

Twenty-five percent of likely voters say they would like to see Scott Walker run for president in 2016 while 40 percent would like to see Rep. Paul Ryan run. Among Republicans, 49 percent would like Walker to run while 44 percent would not. Twenty-two percent of independents would like him to run, with 72 percent opposed. Just 5 percent of Democrats favor a Walker run, with 92 percent opposed. For Ryan, 69 percent of Republicans favor a presidential bid with 23 percent opposed. Thirty-eight percent of independents support a Ryan run, with 53 percent opposed, and 15 percent of Democrats favor a Ryan presidential effort, with 78 percent opposed.

Party composition of the sample
In this particular poll, Republicans make up 28 percent of the registered voter sample and 29 percent of the likely voter sample, with Democrats at 31 percent of both registered and likely voters. Independents are 37 percent of both registered and likely voters.

Over all Marquette Law School Polls conducted in 2014, Republicans have averaged 26 percent of registered and 28 percent of likely voters, while Democrats have averaged 30 percent in both registered and likely voter samples. Independents have averaged 40 percent of registered and 38 percent of likely voters. In the poll conducted Sept. 25-28, Republicans were 28 percent of registered and 31 percent of likely voters while Democrats were 28 percent of registered and 30 percent of likely voters. Independents were 40 percent of registered and 37 percent of likely voters in September.

About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive independent statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. Beginning in 2012, the poll has provided highly accurate estimates of election outcomes, in addition to gauging public opinion on a variety of major policy questions.

This poll interviewed 1,004 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, Oct. 9-12, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points for the full sample. The sample included 803 likely voters. The margin of error for likely voters is +/- 3.5 percentage points.

New Marquette Law School Poll finds Walker leading in race for Wisconsin governor; attorney general race remains tied

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll in the Wisconsin governor’s race finds Republican Gov. Scott Walker receiving the support of 50 percent of likely voters and Democratic challenger Mary Burke receiving 45 percent support. Another 3 percent say that they are undecided or that they do not know whom they will support, while 1 percent say that they will vote for someone else. Likely voters are those who say they are certain to vote in the November election.

Among registered voters, Walker receives 46 percent and Burke 45 percent, with 4 percent undecided and 1 percent saying they will vote for someone else.

In the previous Marquette poll, conducted Sept. 11-14, Walker held a 49-46 edge over Burke among likely voters and registered voters tied at 46 percent support for each candidate.

The poll interviewed 801 registered voters and 585 likely voters by landline and cell phone from Sept. 25 to 28. For the full sample of 801 registered voters, the margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of 585 likely voters is +/- 4.1 percentage points.

In the race for attorney general, among likely voters, Republican Brad Schimel receives support from 41 percent and Democrat Susan Happ from 39 percent, with 19 percent saying that they are undecided or don’t know for whom they will vote. Among registered voters, Schimel receives 37 percent and Happ 37 percent, with 22 percent yet to choose a candidate. Both results are inside the margin of error for the poll.

A large gender gap is present in voting for both governor and attorney general. Among likely voters, Walker leads among men with 62 percent to 34 percent for Burke. Among women, Burke leads with 54 percent to Walker’s 40 percent. With registered voters, Walker leads among men 54-39 percent while Burke leads among women 50-40 percent.

With likely voters in the attorney general’s race, Schimel leads among males, with 49 percent to Happ’s 32 percent, while among females Happ leads, with 45 percent to Schimel’s 34 percent. For registered voters, Schimel leads among men by 44-33 percent while Happ leads among women 41-31 percent.

Walker wins 95 percent of Republican likely voters while Burke wins 94 percent of Democrats. Independents support Walker by 53 percent to Burke’s 40 percent.

Burke holds an edge among likely voters with family income below $40,000 with 53 percent to 43 percent for Walker. Those with family incomes between $40,000 and $75,000 lean to Walker over Burke by 50 percent to 46 percent. Among families with incomes over $75,000, Walker receives 53 percent to Burke’s 42 percent.

Regionally, Burke leads in the city of Milwaukee 69-24 percent and in the Madison media market 66-31 percent. Walker leads in the Milwaukee market outside the city by 62-32 and in the Green Bay market 52‑43. In the rest of the state, Walker leads 58-39 percent.

Photo ID for voting
Following a federal appeals court ruling in September permitting the state to enforce a law requiring a government-issued photo ID in order to vote, poll respondents remain supportive of the requirement—though not all know that such an ID will be required in order to vote this November.

Sixty-three percent of registered voters favor requiring a photo ID while 33 percent are opposed. In the Marquette Law School Poll taken Sept. 11-14, just before the court ruling permitting the enforcement of the photo ID requirement, 61 percent favored and 35 percent opposed the requirement.

A fifth of registered voters have not learned that a photo ID will be required this November. Twenty percent say that voters will not have to show an ID, while 71 percent say that they will have to show an ID. Among likely voters, 18 percent think that no ID will be required while 75 percent say it will be.

Awareness of the ID requirement is highest among supporters of the requirement, with 76 percent of them knowing that an ID will be required this November while 17 percent think that it will not be. Among opponents, 65 percent know that a government-issued photo ID will be required this November while 26 percent think it will not.

Democrats are least likely to be aware of the requirement, with 65 percent aware and 27 percent not aware. Seventy-one percent of independents know that they will need an ID while 20 percent do not. Republicans are most aware of the ID requirement, with 79 percent aware and 15 percent not aware.

The youngest voters are less aware of the requirement, with 65 percent of 18-29 year olds aware of it and 26 percent not aware. Among those 30-44, 16 percent do not know of the need for an ID, while 20 percent of 45-59 year olds and 21 percent of those over 60 do not know.

Among likely voters, i.e., those certain that they will vote in November, 18 percent are unaware of the ID requirement. Among those who are registered but think that there is some chance they won’t vote, 25 percent are unaware that they will need an ID.

Twenty-one percent of men and 20 percent of women are unaware of the requirement.

Regional differences in awareness of the ID requirement are slight. Although sample sizes are small, 18 percent in both the city of Milwaukee and the suburban counties of Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee are unaware of the requirement. The more rural parts of the state show a slightly higher (22 percent) rate of unawareness of the requirement. None of the regional differences are statistically significant.

Among registered voters, 1.3 percent say that they do not have a currently valid photo ID.

Burke jobs-plan copying and latest jobs report
Just over half of registered voters, 54 percent, say that they have read or heard about recent news reports that the Burke campaign copied parts of a jobs plan from the campaigns of other Democratic candidates, while 45 percent say that they have not heard of this story. A similar number (53 percent) say that they have read or heard about recent news reports that ranked Wisconsin 33rd of 50 states in job creation, while 46 percent say that they have not heard of this report.

The impact of these two news stories has differed slightly. Eighteen percent say that the Burke jobs plan story makes them less likely to vote for her, while 73 percent say that it makes no difference and 7 percent say that it makes them more likely to support her. For the story on ranking in jobs growth, 26 percent say that this makes them less likely to vote for Walker, 65 percent say that it makes no difference and 8 percent say that it makes them more likely to vote for him.

Sixty-three percent of Republicans say that they have heard of the Burke jobs plan story, while only 47 percent of Democrats say this. Fifty-four percent of independents have heard of the story. Conversely, Democrats are more likely to hear of the state’s job ranking, with 58 percent having heard of this story compared to 46 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents.

Partisan differences also appear in the reaction to the two stories. Thirty-three percent of Republicans say that the Burke story makes them less likely to support her, as do 16 percent of independents and 5 percent of Democrats. This reaction was reversed on the jobs ranking, with 45 percent of Democrats saying that this story makes them less likely to support Walker while 28 percent of independents and 6 percent of Republicans say this.

Jobs
Perception of job growth in Wisconsin remains about evenly divided, with 45 percent saying the state is lagging behind other states, 38 percent saying the state is about keeping pace and 10 percent saying the state is adding jobs faster than others. This question was asked earlier in this survey (i.e., in the phone calls) than the item asking about awareness of the recent news report ranking job growth.

In mid-September, 42 percent said that Wisconsin was lagging behind other states in job creation, while 37 percent said about the same rate and thirteen percent said faster than other states. In August, 48 percent said Wisconsin was lagging, 34 percent said it was moving at the same rate as other states and 8 percent said it was creating jobs faster than other states.

Drug testing for unemployment and food stamps
Fifty-six percent of registered voters support drug testing for recipients of unemployment benefits and food stamps, while 41 percent think such testing would “be a waste of money with little impact.” Support for testing is strongest among Republican voters by a 78-20 percent margin, while independents support testing by 50-46 percent and a majority of Democrats oppose testing (40 percent in support and 55 percent in opposition).

Among young voters, age 18-29, opinion is evenly split 50-50, while those age 30-44 favor testing 53-44 percent, those age 45-59 favor it 59-39 and those age 60 and over support testing 59-34. A majority in some places opposes testing: in the city of Milwaukee 55 percent oppose and 44 percent favor, and in the Madison media market 56 percent oppose and 42 percent favor. In other regions of the state majorities support drug testing, with the Milwaukee media market outside the city favoring it 63-33, Green Bay 65‑32 and the rest of the state 56-41.

State budget
Forty-one percent of registered voters see the state budget as in better shape than a few years ago while 30 percent see it as in worse shape, with 23 percent saying about the same. In the poll taken two weeks ago, 41 percent said that the budget was in better shape than a few years ago, while 27 percent said worse shape and 25 percent said about the same. In January 2014, 49 percent said better, 20 percent said worse and 26 percent said the same shape.

Direction of the state
Among registered voters, 54 percent say that the state is headed in the right direction while 43 percent say that the state is off on the wrong track. Earlier in the month 54 percent said right direction and 42 percent said wrong track.

Among registered voters, 48 percent approve of the way Walker is handling his job as governor while 49 percent disapprove. Two weeks ago 49 percent approved and 46 percent disapproved.

Images of the candidates
Burke is viewed favorably by 36 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 37 percent, while 26 percent say that they haven’t heard enough about her or don’t know how they feel. Two weeks ago her favorable rating was 36 percent, unfavorable was 35 percent, while 29 percent couldn’t say.

Walker is viewed favorably by 47 percent and unfavorably by 47 percent, with 6 percent not holding an opinion, compared to 49 percent favorable and 45 percent unfavorable in the previous poll, with 5 percent not holding an opinion.

Asked if “cares about people like you” describes Burke, 46 percent say it does while 38 percent say it does not and 15 percent say they don’t know. The previous poll found 48 percent saying “cares about you” described her while 34 percent said it did not and 17 percent said they didn’t know. For Walker, 44 percent say “cares about you” describes him, while 54 percent say it does not and 2 percent say they don’t know. In mid-September 47 percent said this described him while 50 percent said it did not and 3 percent lacked an opinion.

When it comes to being “able to get things done,” 40 percent say this describes Burke while 38 percent say it does not, with 21 percent saying they don’t know. Two weeks ago, 44 percent said this described her while 35 percent said it did not with 20 percent unable to say. For Walker, 62 percent say he is someone who is able to get things done while 36 percent disagree, with 2 percent unable to say. In mid‑September, 64 percent said he was someone able to get things done while 31 percent disagreed, with 5 percent unable to say.

Attorney general candidates and issues
The candidates for attorney general remain unknown to more than 8 in 10 voters. Eighty-five percent of registered voters say they haven’t heard enough of or don’t have an opinion of Brad Schimel, almost unchanged from 86 percent two weeks ago. Seventy-nine percent lack an opinion of Susan Happ, which is an increase from the 73 percent who said they didn’t have an opinion in mid-September.

Schimel is viewed favorably by 9 percent and unfavorably by 6 percent, compared to 8 percent favorable and 6 percent unfavorable two weeks ago. For Happ, 8 percent have a favorable view and 11 percent unfavorable, versus 12 percent favorable and 14 percent unfavorable in mid-September.

Registered voters continue to support an increase in the minimum wage, with 59 percent in favor and 36 percent opposed.

Sixty-one percent would like the state to accept increased federal support for expanding the Medicaid program to cover those just over the poverty line, while 27 percent say the state should reject that expansion.

About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive independent statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. Beginning in 2012, the poll has provided highly accurate estimates of election outcomes, in addition to gauging public opinion on a variety of major policy questions.

This poll interviewed 801 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, Sept. 25-28, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points for the full sample. The sample included 585 likely voters. The margin of error for likely voters is +/- 4.1 percentage points.

Clarification on margin of error in the Marquette Law School Poll

In the original version of this press release concerning the Marquette Law School Poll, the margin of error for Scott Walker’s five-percentage-point margin over Mary Burke was not clearly explained.

The margin of error for likely voters is 4.1 percentage points. The original release said “This is the first time since March a candidate has held a lead outside the margin of error among likely voters.”  While the margin is greater than the margin of error, a proper statistical test for the difference of two percentages is the difference in percentages divided by approximately twice the margin of error.

This is because the leading candidate could theoretically be as low as 4.1 points below the sample estimate while the trailing candidate could be 4.1 points above the sample estimate. Therefore, with a 4.1-percentage-point margin of error, a lead of approximately 8.2 points would be required to attain the standard .05 level of statistical significance.

These issues do not affect the statement that Walker receives 50 percent support and Burke 45 percent support among likely voters in the poll.

 

New Marquette Law School Poll finds Wisconsin governor’s race remains statistical dead heat

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Republican Gov. Scott Walker receiving the support of 46 percent of all registered voters and Democratic challenger Mary Burke also receiving 46 percent support in the Wisconsin governor’s race. Another 5 percent say that they are undecided or that they do not know whom they will support, while 1 percent say they will vote for someone else.

Among likely voters, Walker receives 49 percent and Burke 46 percent, with 4 percent undecided and fewer than 1 percent saying they will vote for someone else. Likely voters are those who say they are certain to vote in November’s election.

The results for both registered and likely voters are within the poll’s margin of error. The September poll interviewed 800 registered voters and 589 likely voters by landline and cell phone from Sept. 11 to 14. For the full sample of 800 registered voters the margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of 589 likely voters is +/- 4.1 percentage points.

This is the fourth Marquette Law School Poll in a row with governor’s race results inside the margin of error, indicating a very close election with no clear front-runner. Since the most recent Marquette Law School Poll, in August, Walker has gained ground among likely voters while Burke has improved among registered voters. Walker trailed Burke by 2 points among likely voters in August but now has a 3-point advantage. Among registered voters in August, Walker had a 3-point advantage, but registered voters now show a tie.

In the race for attorney general, among registered voters, Democrat Susan Happ receives 39 percent and Republican Brad Schimel 38 percent, with 20 percent saying that they are undecided or don’t know for whom they will vote. Among likely voters, Schimel receives 42 percent to Happ’s 41 percent, with 16 percent yet to choose a candidate. Both results are inside the margin of error for the poll. In August, Happ held a 40-33 lead among registered voters and a 42-32 lead among likely voters.

Shifting enthusiasm
According to Marquette Law School Poll Director Charles Franklin, much of the shift between the August and September polls, and the differences between likely and registered voters, can be accounted for by shifting involvement by partisans.

“In July and August, Democrats were more likely to vote than were Republicans, producing an advantage for Burke among likely voters,” Franklin said. “But in the September poll, it is Republicans who have an advantage in enthusiasm. Eighty percent of Republicans said they are certain to vote in November, compared to 73 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of independents. In August, 82 percent of Democrats, 77 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of independents were certain to vote.”

Similarly, 67 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Democrats say that they are “very enthusiastic” about voting in November, as do 47 percent of independents. In August, 59 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of independents said they were “very enthusiastic.”

“Elections are about both candidate preference and turnout,” Franklin said. “Changes in either can shift elections.”

Differences in partisan enthusiasm were also reflected in the composition of this month’s sample. Republicans hold a 1-percentage-point advantage among registered voters polled, with 29 percent identifying themselves as Republicans and 28 percent saying that they are Democrats. A total of 41 percent say that they are independent. This is the first time in 24 Marquette Law School Polls that Republicans have held an edge among all registered voters. Among likely voters, Republicans have a 32 percent to 28 percent advantage over Democrats, with 38 percent independent. This is the fourth time the GOP has had an edge among likely voters in the Marquette Law School Poll, which began in 2012. In August, Democrats had a 4-point advantage among registered voters and a 6-point margin among likely voters. Across all Marquette polls in 2013 and 2014, Democrats have averaged a 4-point advantage among registered voters and a 3-point advantage among likely voters.

“It is unusual to see a 5-point net shift in partisan composition,” Franklin said. “People should be appropriately skeptical since it is always possible this sample is simply an outlier. However, the shift to more Republicans and fewer Democrats occurred across all regions of the state and most demographic groups, demonstrating that it was not a localized difference in response rates.”

Photo ID for voting
Just as a federal appeals court ruling reinstated the Wisconsin legislature’s requirement of a government-issued photo ID in order to vote, the poll finds 61 percent of registered voters favor the photo identification requirement, while 35 percent oppose it. The federal ruling was handed down this past Friday, after interviewing for the poll began on Thursday, but there was no significant variation in support by day of interview. In seven polls since 2012, support for voter photo ID has averaged 62 percent while opposition has averaged 35 percent, with little change from poll to poll.

Partisans differ on photo ID, with 87 percent of Republicans favoring it and 12 percent opposing it. Among Democrats, 33 percent favor and 62 percent oppose the requirement. Among independents, 61 percent favor and 34 percent oppose the ID requirement.

Jobs
Perceptions of job creation in the state have divided the gubernatorial candidates and divide partisan voters as well. Forty-two percent of registered voters say that the state is lagging behind other states in job creation, while 37 percent say that Wisconsin is adding jobs at about the same rate. Thirteen percent say it is adding jobs faster than other states. In August, 48 percent said the state was lagging, 34 percent said it was moving at the same rate as other states and 8 percent said it was creating jobs faster than other states.

Among Democrats, 76 percent say the state is lagging in job creation while 19 percent say it is keeping up or doing better than other states. Among Republicans, 81 percent say Wisconsin is keeping up or doing better and 11 percent say it is lagging behind. Forty-nine percent of independents say the state is keeping up or better and 42 percent say it is lagging. Independents shifted the most from August, when 38 percent said keeping up or better and 50 percent said lagging. In August, 75 percent of Republicans said keeping up or better and 14 percent said lagging. Among Democrats there was virtually no change from August, when 75 percent said lagging and 19 percent said keeping up or better.

On Governor Walker’s 2010 campaign pledge to create 250,000 jobs in four years, 84 percent say the state will fall short of that number, while 11 percent believe it will be reached. When last asked in March 2014, 80 percent said the state would fall short and 13 percent thought the goal would be reached.

Among Republicans, 73 percent say that the state will fall short while 20 percent say that the goal will be reached. Ninety-four percent of Democrats say the goal will not be reached while 3 percent believe it will be. Among independents, 85 percent say the goal will not be reached, while 10 percent say it will.

Twenty-nine percent of those polled say that the jobs pledge is very important in deciding how they will vote, 35 percent say it is somewhat important, 20 percent say not very important and 15 percent say it is not at all important. Among Republicans, 10 percent say very important, 38 percent somewhat important, 27 percent not very and 24 percent not at all important. For Democrats, 54 percent say very important, 31 percent somewhat important, 10 percent not very and 4 percent not at all important. Independents fall in between, with 24 percent saying very important, 36 percent somewhat important, 23 percent not very and 15 percent not at all important.

State budget
In this September poll, 41 percent of registered voters say the state budget is in better shape than a few years ago, 25 percent say about the same and 27 percent say worse shape. In August, 45 percent said better shape, 26 percent about the same and 22 percent said worse shape. In January 2014, 49 percent said better, 26 percent the same and 20 percent said the budget was in worse shape. 

Direction of the state
Among registered voters, 54 percent say that the state is headed in the right direction while 42 percent say that the state is off on the wrong track—unchanged since the August poll.

Among registered voters, 49 percent approve of the way Walker is handing his job as governor while 46 percent disapprove and 4 percent say they don’t have an opinion. In August, 47 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved.

Images of the candidates
Burke is viewed favorably by 36 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 35 percent, while 29 percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t know how they feel about her. In August, 33 percent viewed her favorably, 32 percent unfavorably and 35 percent did not have an opinion.

Walker is viewed favorably by 49 percent and unfavorably by 45 percent, with 5 percent not holding an opinion. In August, he was viewed favorably by 48 percent and unfavorably by 48 percent, with 4 percent not offering an opinion.

Asked if “cares about people like you” describes Burke, 48 percent say it does while 34 percent say it does not, with 17 percent saying they don’t know. For Walker, 47 percent say this describes him while 50 percent say it does not, with 3 percent lacking an opinion. In August, 43 percent said “cares about people like you” describes Burke and 35 percent said it does not, with 21 percent unable to say. For Walker in August, 45 percent said “cares about people like you” describes him while 50 percent said it does not, with 4 percent unable to say.

When it comes to “able to get things done,” 44 percent say this describes Burke while 35 percent say it does not and 20 percent were unable to say. For Walker, 64 percent say he is someone who is able to get things done while 31 percent disagree, with 5 percent unable to say. In August, 43 percent said Burke can get things done, while 32 percent said that did not describe her and 24 percent were unable to say. For Walker in August, 68 percent saw him as able to get things done with 28 percent disagreeing and 3 percent unable to say.

Asked if Burke has been clear enough about what she would do as governor, 42 percent say she has, while 48 percent say she has not and 10 percent say they don’t know. For Walker, 57 percent say he has been clear enough, while 39 percent say he has not and 4 percent don’t know.

Attorney general candidates and issues
The candidates for attorney general are only beginning to become known to registered voters. Seventy-three percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t have an opinion of Susan Happ, while 86 percent lack an opinion of Brad Schimel. In August, 82 percent lacked an opinion of Happ and 87 percent lacked one for Schimel. Happ is viewed favorably by 12 percent and unfavorably by 14 percent, compared to August when 12 percent were favorable and 7 percent unfavorable. For Schimel, 8 percent have a favorable view and 6 percent an unfavorable view, while in August 8 percent were favorable and 5 percent unfavorable.

At the end of his eight years as attorney general, J. B. Van Hollen is also relatively unfamiliar to registered voters: 51 percent say they don’t know enough or lack an opinion of him. Twenty-six percent have a favorable view of him and 22 percent an unfavorable view.

The question when to defend state statutes in court has been an issue both for Van Hollen as attorney general and for the candidates to succeed him. Asked if “the state attorney general should appeal when a federal court strikes down a state statute or a provision of the Wisconsin constitution or use his or her judgment as to whether an appeal is likely to be successful,” 31 percent say the attorney general should appeal while 54 percent say the attorney general should use his or her judgment as to whether an appeal is likely to be successful, with 13 percent saying they don’t know.

On the issue of legalizing use of marijuana, 46 percent support legalization while 51 percent oppose it. In March, 42 percent supported and 52 percent opposed legalization.

School voucher expansion
When asked about expanding the statewide private school voucher program, 18 percent say they favor removing limits on how many students can receive vouchers. The total is currently capped at 1,000 students (outside of Milwaukee and Racine, which have separate voucher programs). Twenty-one percent would increase the limit but keep some cap on the size of the program, while 19 percent would keep the current limit and 38 percent would eliminate the statewide program entirely. Those results change little when the question includes the statement that the cost of vouchers would come out of state support for public schools, in which case 14 percent favor unlimited voucher enrollments, 20 percent would increase the current limits but retain a cap, 22 percent would keep the current limit of 1,000 students and 38 percent would eliminate the expanded voucher program.

Health care reform
Wisconsin registered voters continue to view the new federal health care reform law unfavorably, with 50 percent having an unfavorable view and 40 percent favorable. In August, 53 percent held an unfavorable view and 36 percent favorable.

When asked what to do about the health reform law, 10 percent say keep it as it is, 50 percent say keep the law but improve it, 19 percent say repeal it and replace it with a Republican alternative and 18 percent say repeal it with no replacement. These views are little changed since March 2014, when the question was last asked.

A total of 61 percent say the state should accept federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage in the state, while 29 percent oppose accepting the expansion and 9 percent say they don’t know. In August, 58 percent supported expansion and 29 percent opposed, with 12 percent saying they didn’t know.

Transportation funding
With transportation funding facing shortfalls at both state and federal levels, voters were asked how the state should pay for transportation, road building and road maintenance. Thirty percent of registered voters would be willing to increase taxes and fees, 5 percent would continue to borrow to fund road building, 13 percent would reduce construction and maintenance and 42 percent would take money from other areas of the budget. Those areas were not specified in the question.

Kenosha casino
Fifty percent of registered voters say the governor should approve a proposed new casino in Kenosha, while 39 percent say the governor should reject that proposal and 9 percent say they don’t know. In August, 49 percent supported and 35 percent opposed the casino, with 14 percent saying they didn’t know.

John Doe investigation
In the wake of recent releases of court documents related to the John Doe investigation, 74 percent say they have heard of the investigation while 24 percent have not, unchanged since July. Of those who have heard, 59 percent say it is “just politics” while 37 percent say it is “really something serious.” In July, 54 percent said it was just politics and 42 percent said it was something serious. 

About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive independent statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. Beginning in 2012, the poll has provided highly accurate estimates of election outcomes, in addition to gauging public opinion on a variety of major policy questions.

This poll interviewed 800 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, Sept. 11-14, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points for the full sample. The sample included 589 likely voters. The margin of error for likely voters is +/- 4.1 percentage points.