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.

Final pre-election Marquette Law School Poll finds Walker leading Burke in Wisconsin governor’s race

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Republican Gov. Scott Walker leading Democratic challenger Mary Burke 50 percent to 43 percent among likely voters in the Wisconsin governor’s race. 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 that they are certain to vote in the November election.

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

The poll interviewed 1,409 registered voters, including 1,164 likely voters, by landline and cell phone Oct. 23-26. For the full sample of 1,409 registered voters, the margin of error is +/- 2.7 percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of 1,164 likely voters is +/- 3.0 percentage points. This is the final Marquette Law School Poll before the Nov. 4 election.

The previous Marquette Law School Poll, conducted Oct. 9-12, found the race tied among likely voters, with the candidates holding 47 percent each, while 48 percent of registered voters supported Walker to Burke’s 45 percent support.

In the race for attorney general, among likely voters Republican Brad Schimel receives support from 43 percent and Democrat Susan Happ receives support from 39 percent, with 14 percent saying that they are undecided or don’t know for whom they will vote. Among registered voters, both candidates receive 40 percent support, with 16 percent yet to choose a candidate.

Turnout differences
“Shifting turnout intentions have provided most of the dynamics of the race this fall,” said Marquette Law School Poll director Charles Franklin. “While the results among all registered voters have varied between a tie and a 3-point Walker edge, the likely-voter results have ranged from a 2-point Burke advantage to the current 7-point Walker lead.”

In the current poll, 93 percent of Republicans say that they are certain to vote, while 82 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents say the same. Two weeks ago 82 percent of Republicans, and 80 percent of both Democrats and independents, said that they were certain to vote. By comparison, in the final Marquette Law School Poll before the 2012 gubernatorial recall election, 92 percent of Republicans, 77 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of independents said that they were certain to vote.

In August, 82 percent of Democrats said they were certain to vote while 77 percent of Republicans said so. In early September this reversed, with 80 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats saying they were certain to vote. Late in September, 80 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats said they were certain to vote. Independent intentions held steady in August and September between 67 and 69 percent.

Thirteen percent of registered voters said they had already voted either by absentee or in-person early voting, including 11 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of independents.

Gender gap and independent voters
After narrowing to just 2 percentage points in the previous poll, the gender gap in vote choice has returned. Among registered voters, Burke leads 50-40 among women and Walker leads 53-39 among men. Among likely voters, Burke’s lead among women is 49-43 while Walker’s lead among men is 58-36. In the six Marquette Law School Polls since July, Burke has averaged a 49-42 lead among women and Walker a 52-40 lead among men for registered voters. Among likely voters, Burke has averaged a 52-42 lead among women and Walker a 55-40 advantage among men.

Registered voters who described themselves as independents support Walker by 46 percent to 40 percent over Burke. Likely voters who are independents support Walker over Burke by 52 percent to 37 percent. Two weeks ago, among independents, Walker had a 45-42 advantage with registered voters, and Burke had a 45-44 edge with likely voters. In six polls since July, Walker has averaged a 46-42 advantage among registered voters who describe themselves as independents and a 50-42 margin among likely voters in this group.

Ninety-two percent of Republicans support Walker and 88 percent of Democrats support Burke among both registered and likely voters. Over the past six polls, among registered voters, 92 percent of Republicans support Walker and 90 percent of Democrats support Burke. Among likely voters in these polls, 94 percent of Republicans back Walker and 93 percent of Democrats favor Burke.

Images of the candidates
Burke’s favorability ratings have turned down in the latest poll, with 38 percent of registered voters viewing her favorably while 45 percent have an unfavorable view. In earlier polls in September and October, her favorable-unfavorable ratings were 36-35, 36-37 and 40-43. Among likely voters, her current favorable-unfavorable rating is 39-49, with the ratings in the three earlier polls since the beginning of September being, oldest to newest, 41-39, 40-44 and 44-44. Among registered voters, 17 percent lack an opinion of Burke, down from 69 percent in January. Among likely voters, 12 percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t know their view of Burke.

Walker’s favorable rating in the latest poll is 48 percent, with 47 percent unfavorable, among registered voters. His previous ratings since the beginning of September are 49-45, 47-47 and 48-48. Among likely voters he is currently seen favorably by 51 percent and unfavorably by 46 percent. His ratings among likely voters in the three most recent polls are, in chronological order, 52-46, 52-46 and 50-48.

Asked if “cares about people like you” describes Burke, 47 percent of registered voters say it does, while 41 percent say it does not and 12 percent say they don’t know. The previous poll found 49 percent saying “cares about you” described her while 36 percent said it did not and 14 percent said they didn’t know. Among likely voters, 47 percent say “cares” describes Burke while 43 percent say it does not, with 10 percent saying they don’t know. The previous poll had 52 percent of likely voters saying “cares” described Burke with 37 percent saying it did not.

For Walker, 46 percent of registered voters say “cares about you” describes him, while 50 percent say it does not and 3 percent say they don’t know. In the previous poll, 46 percent said this described him while 50 percent said it did not and 4 percent lacked an opinion. Among likely voters, 49 percent say “cares” describes Walker while 48 percent say it does not. Two weeks ago, 48 percent said this described him while 50 percent said it did not.

When it comes to being “able to get things done,” 42 percent of registered voters say this describes Burke while 41 percent say it does not, with 16 percent saying they don’t know. Two weeks ago, 44 percent said this described her while 38 percent said it did not, with 18 percent unable to say. Among likely voters, 43 percent say Burke can get things done while 43 percent say this does not describe her. The previous poll found 46 percent saying this described her with 39 percent saying it did not.

For Walker, 63 percent of registered voters say he is someone who is able to get things done while 33 percent disagree, with 3 percent unable to say. In the previous poll, 65 percent said he was someone able to get things done while 31 percent disagreed, with 3 percent unable to say. Among likely voters in the current poll, 65 percent say Walker can get things done, with 32 percent saying this does not describe him. Two weeks earlier, 67 percent said this described him while 30 percent said it did not.

Evaluation of conditions in the state
Fifty-one percent of registered voters say the state is headed in the right direction while 44 percent say it is off on the wrong track. Among likely voters, 54 percent say right direction and 42 percent say wrong track.

Asked if “all the changes in state government” over the last few years will make the state better or worse off in the long run, 51 percent of registered voters say better and 42 percent say worse. Among likely voters, 53 percent say better and 40 percent say worse.

Among registered voters, 44 percent say the state budget is in better shape than four years ago, while 27 percent say worse and 23 percent say it is in the same shape. Among likely voters, 48 percent say better, 26 percent say worse and 20 percent say it is the same.

Thirteen percent of registered voters say the state is creating jobs faster than other states, 38 percent say it is doing about the same as other states and 42 percent say Wisconsin is lagging behind other states. Among likely voters, 14 percent say it is creating jobs faster, 38 percent the same and 42 percent say it is lagging behind. Since January, those saying the state is lagging in job creation have varied between 40 and 48 percent of registered voters and between 42 and 51 percent among likely voters. Those thinking it is adding jobs faster or keeping pace have ranged from 41 to 52 percent among registered voters and from 40 to 52 percent among likely voters.

Among registered voters, 49 percent approve of the way Walker is handling his job as governor while 47 percent disapprove. Among likely voters, 52 percent approve and 46 percent disapprove. Two weeks ago, 48 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved among registered voters, while among likely voters 50 percent approved and 48 percent disapproved.

Issues
Public views are wide-ranging across a variety of issues discussed during the campaign and show only slight differences between registered and likely voters. Among registered voters:

  • Sixty percent say the state should accept federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage while 25 percent say it should reject that expansion.
  • Fifty-nine percent say the state should increase support to K-12 schools while 35 percent say current funding is sufficient.
  • Fifty-seven percent support increasing the minimum wage while 39 percent oppose it.
  • Fifty-six percent favor permitting same-sex marriage with 34 percent opposed.
  • Fifty-two percent oppose requiring an ultrasound for a woman seeking an abortion while 41 percent support requiring it.
  • Sixty percent support requiring a photo ID to vote, with 36 percent opposed.
  • Fifty-five percent support requiring drug tests for recipients of food stamps and unemployment benefits while 41 percent oppose such testing.
  • Fifty-four percent say people are unemployed due to a lack of skills while 36 percent say it is due to a lack of jobs.
  • Fifty-four percent have an unfavorable view of existing health care reform and 34 percent hold a favorable view of it.
  • Fifty percent say the limitations on unions due to Act 10 should be retained while 43 percent say collective bargaining should be restored for public employees.
  • Forty-nine percent support expanding private school vouchers statewide with 44 percent opposed.
  • Fifty-six percent say first-offense drunk driving should be a criminal misdemeanor, while 39 percent say it should result in a non-criminal ticket as is currently the law.
  • Forty-two percent support a casino in Kenosha with 37 percent opposed, almost the same as a year ago when 41 percent supported and 38 percent opposed. Support for a casino was as high as 50 percent, with 39 percent opposed, in mid-September.

Supporters of Walker and Burke hold sharply differing views on most of these issues. The greatest difference concerns the issue of Act 10 and collective bargaining. Seventy-nine percent of Burke voters would restore collective bargaining while just 9 percent of Walker supporters agree. Eighty-nine percent of Walker supporters favor requiring a photo ID to vote, a view held by 28 percent of Burke’s supporters. On minimum wage, 87 percent of Burke supporters favor an increase while 28 percent of Walker supporters do so. Eighty-eight percent of Burke supporters, versus 33 percent of Walker supporters, would accept federal funds to expand Medicaid. Eighty-six percent of Burke supporters think state funding for elementary and high schools should be increased, while 32 percent of Walker supporters favor this. On vouchers for private schools, 70 percent of Walker supporters favor expanding the voucher program, compared to 27 percent of Burke backers.

Two issues, approval of a casino in Kenosha and how to penalize first-offense drunk driving, stand out for their small differences between the two candidate’s supporters. Sixty-two percent of Burke supporters and 52 percent of Walker supporters favor criminal penalties for first offense OWI. Among Burke supporters, 39 percent support and 37 percent oppose the casino, while among Walker voters 44 percent favor and 36 percent oppose the casino.

Attorney general candidates
With less than two weeks to go until the election, the candidates for attorney general remain largely unknown to voters. Seventy-one percent of registered voters say they haven’t heard enough of or don’t have an opinion of Brad Schimel, while 68 percent of likely voters lack an opinion. Seventy-two percent lack an opinion of Susan Happ, as do 68 percent of likely voters.

Schimel is viewed favorably by 16 percent and unfavorably by 13 percent of registered voters, compared to poll results of 18 percent favorable and 14 percent unfavorable among likely voters. Happ receives 14 percent favorable and 14 percent unfavorable views among registered voters, while likely voters split, 16 percent favorable and 15 percent unfavorable.

On one issue the candidates have debated, 37 percent of registered voters say the attorney general should appeal when a court strikes down a state statute or constitutional provision while 46 percent say the attorney general should use his or her judgment as to whether an appeal is likely to be successful. Among likely voters, opinion divides almost the same, 38-47 percent.

Party composition of the sample
In this poll, Republicans make up 26 percent of the registered voter sample and 30 percent of the likely voter sample, with Democrats at 32 percent of both registered and likely voters. Independents are 39 percent of registered voters and 36 percent of 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 previous poll, conducted Oct. 9-12, Republicans were 28 percent of registered and 29 percent of likely voters while Democrats were 31 percent of both registered and likely voters. Independents were 37 percent of both registered and likely voters.

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.