New Marquette Law School Poll finds Walker, Burke tied in Wisconsin governor’s race

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds that the Wisconsin governor’s race remains a dead heat, with Republican Gov. Scott Walker receiving the support of 46 percent of registered voters and Democratic challenger Mary Burke receiving 45 percent support. Eight percent say that they are undecided or that they do not know whom they would support. Fewer than 1 percent say they will vote for someone else.

These results closely resemble the most recent Marquette Law School Poll, in May, which showed both candidates receiving the support of 46 percent of registered voters.

Among likely voters, i.e., those who say they are certain to vote in November’s election, Burke receives 47 percent and Walker 46 percent.

The results for both registered and likely voters are within the poll’s margin of error. The July poll interviewed 804 registered voters by landline and cell phone July 17-20. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points. For the sample of 549 likely voters, the margin of error is +/- 4.3 percentage points.

In May, Walker received 48 percent to Burke’s 45 percent among likely voters, which was also within the margin of error of that poll.

Partisans remain solidly behind their candidates, with 93 percent of Republicans supporting Walker and 3 percent backing Burke. Among Democrats, Burke receives 88 percent while Walker receives 9 percent. Independents are evenly divided, with 44 percent supporting Burke and 45 percent supporting Walker. Independents in May split 49 percent for Walker and 40 percent for Burke, while Republicans backed Walker 94-3 and Democrats went for Burke 87-8.

Demographic divisions

Women support Burke over Walker by a 48-41 percent margin, while men favor Walker 51 to 41 percent. That is virtually unchanged from May, when women favored Burke 49-41 and men supported Walker 52-42.

The youngest voters, age 18-29, favor Burke over Walker by 48 to 35 percent. Those age 30-44 split evenly, 46 to 46 percent, while Walker’s strongest support comes among those 45-59 where he leads 51 to 42 percent. Voters over 60 split evenly, 45 percent for Burke and 46 percent for Walker.

Married voters favor Walker by a 54 to 38 percent margin, while those never married favor Burke by 53 to 34 percent. Those who are widowed, divorced, or separated favor Burke 53 to 38.

The gender gap appears within groups by marital status as well. Married men favor Walker 60-34, while married women prefer Walker 49-42. Among never-married men, Burke holds a 48-40 advantage, while never-married women prefer Burke 60-23. Among those widowed, divorced, or separated, men prefer Burke 50-44 and women prefer Burke 55-34.

State’s direction and issues

Approval of Walker’s handing of his job as governor stands at 47 percent approval and 48 percent disapproval. In May, approval was 49 percent, with 46 percent disapproving. In March, 47 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved.

Fifty-four percent of voters say that Wisconsin is headed in the right direction, compared to 41 percent who say that it is off on the wrong track. This is virtually unchanged from May’s 52 to 42 percentage point split and March’s 54-42 split.

Forty-five percent say the state’s budget is in better shape now than a few years ago, while 28 percent say it is in about the same shape and 22 percent say the budget is in worse shape. In January, 49 percent said the budget was in better shape, 26 percent said about the same, and 20 percent said it was in worse shape. In May, 48 percent said better, 22 percent said the same, and 25 percent said worse.

Nine percent of voters say Wisconsin is creating jobs faster than other states, 42 percent say the state is creating jobs at about the same rate as other states, and 43 percent say Wisconsin is lagging behind other states. In May, 13 percent said the state was creating jobs faster, 38 percent said about the same, and 43 percent said lagging behind.

Support for increasing the minimum wage claimed 56 percent, as against 39 percent opposition. When last asked in March, 63 percent supported increasing the minimum wage, while 33 percent opposed an increase.

Opinion on same-sex marriage is little changed in the wake of a June federal trial court ruling striking down a Wisconsin constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Fifty-six percent of voters say they would vote to repeal the ban if they could, while 37 percent would keep it. When asked in March, before the court ruling, 59 percent said they would repeal the amendment while 36 percent would keep it in place.

Personal perceptions

Burke still remains unfamiliar to nearly half of Wisconsin voters, as 49 percent say they either haven’t heard enough about her or don’t know if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of her. In May, the number was 51 percent. At the launch of her candidacy in October 2013, 70 percent were unable to rate her.

Burke receives ratings of 26 percent favorable and 24 percent unfavorable in July, nearly the same as May’s 27 percent favorable and 22 percent unfavorable result.

Only 8 percent of voters did not give a rating for Walker. He is seen favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 47 percent. In May, 47 percent had a favorable view and 48 percent unfavorable.

Voters were asked if the phrase “cares about people like you” describes Walker and Burke. Forty-five percent say that “cares about people like you” describes Walker, while 49 percent say that that does not describe him and 5 percent say that they do not know. For Burke, 38 percent say that the phrase describes her while 31 percent say that it does not. Thirty percent are not able to say if this describes her. Those results are little different from May, when 44 percent said “cares about you” described Walker and 52 percent said it did not, and, for Burke, 39 percent said it described her while 29 percent said it did not.

When asked if “able to get things done” describes Walker, 66 percent say it does, while 29 percent say it does not, with 4 percent unable to say. For Burke, 36 percent say “able to get things done” describes her, while 28 percent say it does not and 35 percent were unable to say. The May results were also quite similar, with Walker seen as able to get things done by 68 percent, with 28 percent saying “no” for him, while Burke got responses of 36 percent “yes” to 26 percent “no.” In May, 4 percent did not know if this described Walker and 38 percent did not know if it described Burke.

John Doe investigation

In the wake of the release of court documents concerning an investigation by prosecutors into possible campaign finance law violations, known as a “John Doe” proceeding, 75 percent of voters say they have heard or read about the investigation while 24 percent say they have not. Of those who have heard, 54 percent say it is “just more politics” while 42 percent say it is “really something serious.” In October 2012, 76 percent had heard of a “John Doe” investigation at that time, with 46 percent saying it was “just more politics” and 45 percent saying it was “really something serious.”

Voter involvement

In the July poll, 68 percent of registered voters say they are absolutely certain to vote in November. In contrast, before the November 2012 election, 88 percent said they were similarly certain to vote. Midterm elections consistently show lower turnout than presidential years. In 2010, 2.1 million voters went to the polls, compared to 3 million in November 2012.

Seventy-two percent of Republicans and 75 percent of Democrats say they are absolutely certain to vote this fall, while 63 percent of independents say this. When asked how enthusiastic they are about voting in November, 60 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of Democrats, and 50 percent of independents say “very enthusiastic.”

The parties and campaigns have already begun to contact voters. One in three voters, 33 percent, say they have been contacted by phone, in person or by mail in the last month. Of those who have been contacted, 14 percent say they were contacted only by Democrats, 25 percent say only by Republicans and 53 percent say they were reached by both parties.

Republicans were most likely to be contacted by only the Republican party, 35 percent, or by both parties, 49 percent, with only 7 percent of Republicans saying only the Democrats contacted them. Democrats, in contrast, were about equally likely to be contacted by both parties, with 27 percent saying only the Democrats contacted them, 29 percent saying only the Republicans, and 42 percent saying both parties had been in contact.

Independents are much more likely to be contacted by both parties, with 64 percent reporting such contact, while 12 percent said only the Democrats had contacted them and 18 percent saying only the Republicans. Of those who have been contacted, regardless of party, 75 percent say they are certain to vote, while 65 percent of those who have not been contacted say they are certain to vote.

Party affiliations

In the July poll, people who identified themselves as Republicans made up 24 percent of the sample, people saying they are Democrats 30 percent and those labeling themselves independents 41 percent. In May, Republicans were 24 percent, Democrats 32 percent and independents 41 percent. In eight statewide Marquette Law School polls since January 2013, Republicans have averaged 26 percent, Democrats 30 percent and independents 40 percent. Partisanship was slightly higher for both parties in 2012, when, over Marquette Law School’s 14 polls, Republicans averaged 28 percent, Democrats 32 percent and independents 37 percent.

Among likely voters in the July poll, Republicans made up 25 percent, Democrats 32 percent and independents 38 percent. In May, likely voters were composed of 26 percent Republicans, 31 percent Democrats and 39 percent independents.

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 804 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, July 17-20, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points for the full sample. The sample included 549 likely voters. The margin of error for likely voters is +/- 4.3 percentage points.

New Marquette Law School Poll finds Wisconsin governor’s race tied

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds that the Wisconsin governor’s race has tightened to a dead heat, with both Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke receiving the support of 46 percent of registered voters, while 6 percent are undecided or say they do not know whom they would support.

That represents a significant tightening of the race from the most recent Marquette Law School Poll in March, which Walker led 48-41.

Turnout in the fall election is likely to play an important role. While the race is tied among all registered voters, among likely voters—those who say they are absolutely certain to vote in November—Walker receives 48 percent to Burke’s 45 percent, which is inside the +/-3.5 percentage point margin of error for the poll. Among those who are both certain to vote and who say they are excited about voting, Walker receives 50 percent to Burke’s 45 percent.

The poll interviewed 805 Wisconsin registered voters by landline and cell phone May 15-18.

“Turnout is one of the biggest unknowns of the fall election,” said Charles Franklin, professor of law and public policy and director of the Marquette Law School Poll. “Between now and Election Day, some voters will become more engaged by the election, while others may lose interest. These results show that the election outcome can change depending on turnout as both parties seek to mobilize their supporters.”

Demographic divisions

Partisans are strongly united behind their candidates, with 94 percent of Republicans supporting Walker and 88 percent of Democrats backing Burke. Independents split 49 percent for Walker to 40 percent for Burke.

In the March poll, Walker received 92 percent of the Republican vote while Burke got 84 percent from Democrats, and independents split 48 percent for Walker to 37 percent for Burke. The small amount of crossover voting declined to 3 percent of Republicans for Burke from 5 percent in March. Eight percent of Democrats said they would vote for Walker, down from 9 percent in March.

In May the gender gap finds Walker leading among men by 52 percent to 42 percent while Burke leads among women by 49 percent to 41 percent. In March, Walker won men by 52 to 37 percent while Burke and Walker tied among women with 44 percent each.

Voters age 18 through 44 support Burke over Walker by 51 percent to 41 percent, reversing a 49 percent to 38 percent Walker advantage in March. Among voters 45 and older, support has been more stable, with Walker receiving 49 percent to Burke’s 42 percent, as compared to Walker’s 47-43 margin over Burke in March.

Party affiliations

Democratic partisanship has grown in May to 32 percent from 27 percent in March, while Republicans make up 24 percent of the May sample and 25 percent of the March sample. Independents are 41 percent in May and were 44 percent in March.

In the 20 Marquette Law School polls since January 2012, surveying more than 17,000 Wisconsin registered voters, Democrats have averaged 31 percent, Republicans 27 percent and independents 38 percent.

Among those saying they are certain to vote in November, Republicans make up 26 percent, Democrats 31 percent and independents 40 percent. Among those certain to vote and most excited about voting in November, Republicans are 29 percent, Democrats 30 percent and independents 39 percent.

State’s direction

Approval of Walker’s handing of his job as governor has risen slightly in May to 49 percent, with 46 percent disapproving. In March, 47 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved.

Fifty-two percent of voters say Wisconsin is headed in the right direction, while 42 percent say it is off on the wrong track, little changed from 54 percent right direction and 42 percent wrong track in March. Forty-eight percent of voters see the state budget as being in better shape now than a few years ago, while 22 percent see it about the same and 25 percent say it is in worse shape now. When the question was last asked in January, 49 percent said the budget was in better shape, 26 percent the same and 20 percent worse than a few years ago.

Voters remain divided about job creation in the state. Forty-three percent say Wisconsin is lagging behind other states in job creation, 38 percent say the state is keeping up with others and 13 percent say Wisconsin is creating jobs faster than other states. In March, 45 percent said lagging, 37 percent keeping up and 12 percent said Wisconsin was creating jobs faster than other states.

Personal perceptions
Burke continues to become more familiar to voters. In May, 51 percent of voters say they either haven’t heard enough about her or don’t know if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of her, down from 59 percent in March and 70 percent in January. Twenty-seven percent have a favorable opinion and 22 percent an unfavorable opinion of her. In March, 19 percent were favorable and 22 percent unfavorable.

Walker receives a 47 percent favorable and 48 percent unfavorable rating, with 5 percent not giving a rating. In March, 49 percent rated him favorably and 47 percent unfavorably, with 4 percent not rating him.

Voters were asked if the phrase “cares about people like you” describes Walker and Burke. Forty-four percent say “cares about people like you” describes Walker, while 52 percent say that does not describe Walker. For Burke, 39 percent say the phrase describes her while 29 percent say it does not. Thirty-one percent are not able to say if this describes Burke, while 4 percent are unable to say if it describes Walker.

When asked if “able to get things done” describes Walker, 68 percent says it does, while 28 percent say it does not, with 4 percent unable to say. For Burke, 36 percent say “able to get things done” describes her, while 26 percent say it does not and 38 percent were unable to say.

Voters see business experience as an important qualification for governors. The new poll included this question: “Which is more important for someone to have before becoming governor: extensive political experience or extensive business experience?” Fifty-nine percent say business experience is more important while 27 percent choose political experience. Among Republicans, 75 percent say business experience is more important while 17 percent say political experience. For Democrats, 46 percent prefer business experience to 38 percent for political experience. Independents prefer business experience by 61 percent to 25 percent.

Vote fraud
In the wake of recent legislation limiting early voting and legal challenges to photo ID requirements for voting, some members of the public believe there is a substantial amount of vote fraud in the state, committed by both individuals or election officials.

Voters were asked if they believe vote fraud affects “a few thousand votes,” “a few hundred,” “a few dozen” or “less than a dozen” votes each election in Wisconsin. In the situation of one person’s claiming to be someone else, or in-person voter impersonation, 20 percent say this happens a few thousand times or more each election, 23 percent say a few hundred times, 21 percent a few dozen times, and 26 percent say this happens less than a dozen times each election.

For absentee ballots submitted in someone else’s name, 20 percent say this happens a few thousand times, 28 percent a few hundred, 19 percent a few dozen, and 22 percent less than a dozen times in an election.

Similarly, for voting by non-citizens or non-Wisconsin residents, 20 percent say this happens a few thousand times or more, 24 percent say a few hundred times, 19 percent a few dozen times and 26 percent say it happens less than a dozen times.

As for election officials submitting false vote counts, 17 percent believe this affects a few thousand votes, 27 percent a few hundred votes, 18 percent a few dozen votes and 25 percent say it affects less than a dozen votes each election.

Across the four different types of possible vote fraud, 39 percent of respondents say at least one type of fraud affected a few thousand votes or more each election. Only 7 percent say fraud accounted for less than a dozen votes on all four types of possible fraud.

Among partisans, 54 percent of Republicans believe fraud affects a few thousand votes or more for at least one type of fraud, while 41 percent of independents and 25 percent of Democrats say so. Partisans are somewhat different in the type of fraud they perceive. Thirty-six percent of Republicans think voter impersonation, the type of fraud photo ID requirements are supposed to prevent, affects a few thousand or more votes, while just 7 percent of Democrats and 20 percent of independents agree. But on fraud by election officials reporting incorrect results, the partisan differences are less, with 16 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of Democrats, and 21 percent of independents thinking that this affects a few thousand votes or more each election.

The belief that vote fraud is substantial is related to support for a photo ID requirement for voting. Overall, 60 percent support a photo ID requirement while 36 percent oppose it, a margin that has hardly moved in more than two years of polling on the issue. Among those who think voter impersonation affects a few thousand or more votes, 86 percent support a photo ID requirement. Of those who think a few hundred votes are affected, support for photo ID falls to 74 percent. For those seeing a few dozen ballots affected, support drops to 52 percent, and among those who say voter impersonation affects less than a dozen votes, support for photo ID drops to 29 percent. This pattern is nearly identical for absentee and non-citizen fraud questions.

Views on government
Voters also express considerable distrust of political institutions. Two out of three voters, 67 percent, agree or strongly agree that “you really can’t trust the government to do the right thing.” Twenty-nine percent disagree or strongly disagree.

Eighty-two percent agree or strongly agree that “government is pretty much run by a few big interests looking out for themselves.” Seventeen percent disagree or strongly disagree.

Fully 90 percent agree or strongly agree that “government wastes a lot of money we pay in taxes.” Nine percent disagree or strongly disagree.

Distrust of government crosses partisan divides. A majority of each partisan camp—Republicans, Democrats, and independents—agree or strongly agree with each of the foregoing three items.

Voters were also asked, “How much attention do you feel the state government in Wisconsin pays to what the people in your community think when it decides what to do?” Forty-four percent say none or only a small amount, 42 percent say a moderate amount and 12 percent say a large or very large amount.

Asked to agree or disagree that “people like me don’t have any say about what the government does,” 48 percent agree or strongly agree; 17 percent neither agree nor disagree; and 33 percent disagree or strongly disagree. Partisan differences are modest. Forty-three percent of Republicans, 44 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents agree or strongly agree. Forty-two percent of Republicans, 35 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents disagree or strongly disagree.

Other issues
Funding for transportation faces a public reluctant to pay more for highway construction and maintenance. Forty percent are willing to raise gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to pay for highway projects, while 58 percent are unwilling. Thirty-two percent are willing to have the state borrow money to pay for highway projects, with 65 percent unwilling. And only 28 percent are willing to take money from other programs to pay for highways, while 65 percent are unwilling to do so. In contrast, support for using tolls to pay for highway projects commands majority support, with 56 percent willing to use tolls and 42 percent unwilling to do so.

Despite the reluctance to pay for highway projects, 71 percent of voters agree that “the economic benefits from good quality highways, railroads and airports outweigh the cost to taxpayers,” with 18 percent disagreeing and 11 percent saying they don’t know.

Opinion on same-sex marriage has been changing, and with it has come a change in the poll’s wording of a question on the subject. From 2004 through 2012, many national pollsters asked a question on same-sex unions that allowed three options: marriage, civil unions, and no legal recognition for same-sex couples. This is the form of the question the Marquette Law School Poll has used.

However, as public opinion has changed and as court rulings have evolved, the civil union option has become an increasingly unlikely policy. In this poll, we asked voters both the older three-option question and the two-option version phrased, “Do you favor or oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally?”

The older item was asked early in the interview, while the new two-option item was asked some 19 questions later. With the three-option question, 49 percent support marriage, 25 percent support civil unions and 18 percent prefer no legal recognition. When offered only two options, 55 percent favor allowing marriage while 37 percent oppose marriage and 6 percent say they do not know. Of those originally favoring civil unions on the three-part question, 26 percent shift to supporting marriage on the two-option question while 65 percent say they oppose marriage and 8 percent say they don’t know.

Presidential perceptions
Do Wisconsin voters want to see Walker run for president in 2016? In the new results, 27 percent would like to see him run while 67 percent would not.

Among Republicans, 50 percent would like him to run while 39 percent would not. For independents, 27 percent want him to run and 68 percent do not. Only 9 percent of Democrats want him to run, with 87 percent opposing a run for president.

For Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, 38 percent would like him to run for president with 51 percent opposed. Two out of three Republicans, 65 percent, would like Ryan to run, with 23 percent opposed. Thirty-eight percent of independents want him to run, with 51 percent opposed, and 19 percent of Democrats would like to see Ryan run with 71 percent opposed.

Asked, “Do you think any governor can run for president and still handle their duties as governor?,” 31 percent say “yes,” while 65 percent say no governor could handle both. Among Republicans, 45 percent say a governor can do both while 52 percent say “no.” Independents split 29 percent to 66 percent and Democrats divide 23 percent to 74 percent.

Two-term Democratic state representative Brett Hulsey announced his candidacy for governor in late April. Among registered voters, 87 percent say they haven’t heard of him or don’t know if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him, while 2 percent say they have a favorable and 9 percent an unfavorable impression.

Paired against Walker in a trial heat, and identified as “Brett Hulsey, the Democrat,” Hulsey receives 39 percent to Walker’s 48 percent. Those who say they will vote in the Democratic primary were given the choice of the four candidates currently registered with the Government Accountability Board. In that group, Burke is supported by 66 percent, Hulsey by 3 percent, Hari Trivedi by 1 percent, and Marcia Mercedes Perkins by 1 percent, while 24 percent say they are undecided or don’t know how they would vote.

President Barack Obama’s job approval is at 48 percent with 45 percent disapproval. In March, 47 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker holds lead over challenger Mary Burke in new Marquette Law School Poll

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Republican Gov. Scott Walker leading Democratic candidate Mary Burke, 48 to 41 percent, in the run-up to Wisconsin’s gubernatorial election this November. Walker held a 47 to 41 percent advantage in the most recent Marquette Law School Poll, taken in January.

The poll of 801 Wisconsin registered voters was conducted by cell phone and landline March 20-23 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

Forty-seven percent of respondents approve of the job Walker is doing as governor while an equal 47 percent disapprove, with 5 percent saying they don’t know. In January, Walker’s approval rating stood at 51 percent, with 42 percent disapproving.

Voters have mixed views of the direction of the state, policy issues and the economy. Fifty-four percent say the state is headed in the right direction while 42 percent say it is on the wrong track; this is little changed from January’s 54-40 percent split.

 

A majority, 55 percent, favor the $500 million tax cut enacted by the legislature and signed into law by Walker, while 34 percent oppose the tax reduction. While approving of the tax cut, 58 percent say tax cuts do more to benefit the wealthy, while 25 percent see the middle class and 9 percent see the poor as benefiting more.

Asked how Wisconsin compares to other states in job creation, 45 percent say Wisconsin is lagging behind other states, 37 percent say it is keeping pace with other states and 12 percent think Wisconsin is creating jobs faster than other states. In January, 40 percent said lagging, 41 percent said keeping pace and 11 percent said Wisconsin was adding jobs faster.

Thirteen percent believe Wisconsin will reach the 250,000 new jobs Walker pledged in his 2010 campaign, while 80 percent say the state will fall short of that number. Twenty-nine percent say this issue is very important to their vote, 44 percent say somewhat important, 14 percent not very important and 12 percent say the jobs pledge is not at all important for their vote.

Candidate images

Burke is viewed favorably by 19 percent and unfavorably by 22 percent, with 59 percent saying they either don’t know enough about her or can’t say if they have a favorable or unfavorable view of her. In January, 70 percent were unable to give an opinion about her; those expressing an opinion split 12 percent favorable and 18 percent unfavorable.

By contrast, only 5 percent are unable to rate Walker, with 49 percent favorable and 47 percent unfavorable. In January, Walker was seen favorably by 49 percent and unfavorably by 44 percent with 6 percent unable to give an opinion.

Asked if each candidate “cares about people like you,” 43 percent say Walker does while 51 percent say he does not, with 5 percent saying they didn’t know. For Burke, 36 percent say she cares about them while 29 percent say she does not and 34 percent say they don’t know.

Sixty-seven percent of voters say they have read or heard about the release of some 27,000 pages of emails from employees in Walker’s office when he was Milwaukee County Executive, while 31 percent have not. Of those who have read or heard about them 43 percent say the emails give them a less favorable view of Walker while 53 percent say the emails made no difference and 3 percent say they have a more favorable view.

Legislative issues

As the state legislature approaches the end of its session, voters have a mixture of views about major legislative issues. Voters favor requiring a government-issued photo ID in order to vote by a 60 to 36 percent margin, essentially unchanged from the 61-37 margin when last asked in May 2012.

On early voting, also called in-person absentee voting, 39 percent favor allowing three weeks, including three weekends, for early voting; 27 percent support a two-week period including one weekend; 12 percent support a limit of two weeks with no weekend voting; and 20 percent prefer to eliminate early voting entirely.

Voters diverge over when local governments should be allowed to regulate mining and minimum wages in their communities. Fifty-three percent say local governments should be allowed to regulate sand mining in their communities while 35 percent think only the state should set such regulations. In contrast, 42 percent believe local governments should be able to set minimum wages, with 50 percent saying they should not be able to do so.

Legalization of marijuana is supported by 42 percent while 52 percent say it should remain illegal. That reverses the October poll that found 50 percent favoring legalization with 45 percent opposed.

Other issues

Forty-eight percent of respondents favor allowing marriage of gay couples, 24 percent support civil unions but not marriage and 24 percent prefer no legal recognition for same sex couples. In January, 53 percent supported marriage, 24 percent civil unions and 19 percent no legal recognition. Since September 2012, support for marriage has varied between 42 and 53 percent, support for civil unions between 24 and 27 percent and support for no legal status has varied between 19 and 28 percent.

In 2006, Wisconsin approved a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage by a 59-41 percentage point margin. Asked if that amendment were brought up for a new vote today, 36 percent would continue the ban while 59 percent would vote to repeal the amendment.

Voters support an increase in the minimum wage to help low-income workers, even when reminded that some argue this would lead some businesses to cut jobs. Sixty-three percent favor increasing the minimum wage while 33 percent oppose an increase.

A random half of the sample was asked if they would be more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate who supports increasing the minimum wage. Thirty-four percent say more likely while 16 percent say less likely and 49 percent say it would make no difference. The other half of voters were asked if they would be more or less likely to vote for a candidate who opposes increasing the minimum wage. For this group, 21 percent say more likely while 34 percent say less likely and 44 percent say it would make no difference.

With respect to the federal health care reform act, sometimes called Obamacare, 39 percent say they have a favorable view of it while 50 percent have an unfavorable view. In January 35 percent said favorable and 56 percent unfavorable. Before the troubled rollout of the federal health care exchange website in October, 42 percent said favorable and 48 percent unfavorable.

Despite this view of health care reform, voters prefer reform of the law rather than repeal. Eight percent would keep the law as it is; 52 percent would keep the law but improve it; 18 percent would repeal it but replace it with an alternative; and another 18 percent would repeal it and not replace it. Half the sample was asked if they would be more or less likely to vote for a candidate who “supports the federal health care law,” with 25 percent saying more likely, 28 percent less likely and 45 percent saying it would make no difference.

The other half of the sample was asked if they would be more or less likely to vote for a candidate who “calls for the complete repeal of the federal health care law.” Twenty-four percent say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who would repeal the law while 35 percent say they are less likely to vote for that candidate and 39 percent say it would make no difference.

Other political figures

President Barack Obama’s job approval stands at 47 percent to 49 percent disapproval. In January 44 percent approved and 50 percent disapproved.

Sen. Ron Johnson is viewed favorably by 29 percent and unfavorably by 27 percent while 44 percent say they either don’t know enough about him or can’t give a rating. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is rated favorably by 35 percent and unfavorably by 35 percent with 30 percent unable to give an opinion. Rep. Paul Ryan receives a 39 percent favorable rating and 35 percent unfavorable with 25 percent unable to rate him.

About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive independent statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. In 2012, the poll 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 March 20-23, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points for the full sample. The four half-sample items on minimum wage and health care reform have a margin of error of +/- 5.2 percentage points. The entire questionnaire, full results and breakdowns by demographic groups are available at http://law.marquette.edu/poll.