New Marquette Law School Poll finds Sanders’ support rising among Democrats and tight races between Trump and each Democratic candidate for president

MILWAUKEE — A new Marquette University Law School poll of Wisconsin registered voters finds that Sen. Bernie Sanders leads in the Democratic primary with support from 29 percent of those saying they will take part in the April 7 voting. Of the six Marquette polls conducted since August 2019, this is the first in which Sanders has held the top spot.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg is supported by 17 percent, and Vice President Joe Biden is the first choice of 15 percent. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is at 13 percent, Sen. Amy Klobuchar is at 11 percent, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren is at 9 percent.

In January, Sanders was the choice of 19 percent, Bloomberg held 6 percent and Biden held first place with 23 percent.

The complete results for first and second choices in the Democratic primary are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: First and second choice in the Democratic primary (among Democratic primary voters)

Table 2 shows how support for each candidate has changed each month since November 2019. Support for Sanders has increased while support for Biden has declined. After entering the race in the late fall, Bloomberg rose to second place in February. Klobuchar’s support has more than doubled her support from January, while Warren has declined over the past four months.

Table 2: First choice in the Democratic primary, Nov.-Feb. (among Democratic primary voters)

Fifty-six percent of Democratic primary voters say they might change their minds about their primary choice, while 42 percent say their mind is made up. Table 3 shows that Democratic primary voters have become more certain of their primary preferences since November.

Table 3: Have voters made up their mind for president? (among Democratic primary voters)

The poll was conducted Feb. 19-23, 2020. The sample included 1000 registered voters in Wisconsin interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points.

Democratic presidential primary preference items were asked of those who said they will vote in the Democratic primary in April. That sample size is 490, with a margin of error of +/-5.1 percentage points.

Among the Democratic primary sample, the percentage of those saying they have favorable or unfavorable opinions of each candidate is shown in Table 4. Bloomberg, despite his second place standing in vote preference, is the only primary candidate with more unfavorable than favorable ratings among Democratic primary voters. Elizabeth Warren holds the third-highest favorable rating, despite her sixth place standing in vote preference.

Table 4: Favorability ratings of six candidates among Democratic primary sample

Democratic primary voters who describe themselves as liberal or very liberal are more likely to support Sanders or Warren than those who describe themselves as moderate or conservative, as seen in Table 5. The reverse pattern holds for Bloomberg and Biden, each of whom does better with moderate or conservative primary voters than with more liberal ones. Buttigieg and Klobuchar draw support more evenly across ideological identities.

In this sample, 56 percent of Democratic primary voters described themselves as moderate or conservative while 41 percent considered themselves liberal or very liberal.

Table 5: Primary choice by voter ideology among Democratic primary voters.

Sanders has consistently received more support from younger voters than from older ones. That pattern continues to hold in the February data, but he has increased support across all age groups since the January poll, as shown in Table 6.

Table 6: Sanders support by age

Table 7 shows that Sanders, Bloomberg, Klobuchar and Warren each do a little better among those who say they are absolutely certain to vote in the Democratic primary than among those who are not so certain they will vote. Biden does substantially less well among those certain to vote than with those less likely to do so. Buttigieg is also slightly weaker among the most likely to vote.

Table 7: Primary choice by likelihood of voting in primary among Democratic primary voters

Respondents were asked how likely they were “to vote in the April 7 election for state Supreme Court, presidential primaries, and other offices” and were asked in a separate question in which presidential primary they would participate.

The likelihood of voting on April 7 is shown by party identification in Table 8. Democrats are a little more likely than Republicans to say they are certain to vote, with independents least certain of participating.

Table 8: Likelihood of voting April 7 by party identification

Of those who say they are certain to vote, a majority say they will vote in the Democratic primary, while just over a third say they will vote in the Republican primary, as shown in Table 9.

Table 9: Vote in which primary by likelihood of voting April 7

While most partisans say they will participate in their own party’s primary, about 10 percent of Republicans say they will vote in the Democratic presidential primary, while no Democrats say they will cross over to the Republican primary, as in Table 10 (President Donald J. Trump is the only candidate listed on the Republican primary ballot. Crossover voting is permitted in Wisconsin.). About a third of independents say they will vote in the Democratic primary, though more say either they won’t vote or don’t know which primary they might vote in.

Table 10: Vote in which primary April 7 by party identification

“Electability” has been a topic of discussion for primary voters. We asked respondents, “Regardless of who you think would win, which of the current Democratic candidates do you think would run the strongest race against Donald Trump in November’s presidential election?” Responses by party identification are shown in Table 11.

Among Democrats, Sanders is seen as the strongest against Trump, with Bloomberg and Biden a distant second and third. Republicans see Bloomberg as the strongest, closely followed by Sanders with Biden a distant third. Independents give similar responses to Republicans, although they rate Biden as a weaker candidate than do Republicans.

Table 11: Who would be the strongest Democrat against Trump in the general election?

General-election matchups

General-election matchups between Trump and six Democratic candidates all indicate very close races. Sanders holds a two-percentage point edge over Trump while Biden, Buttigieg and Klobuchar tie with Trump. Bloomberg trails Trump by one point and Warren trails by three points. Each of these margins is well within the margin of error for this poll. Table 12 presents the matchups.

Table 12: General-election matchups

Trends in the matchups since August are shown in Tables 13-18. The matchup with Buttigieg was not asked in August. Klobuchar was asked only in November (half-sample) and February. The matchup with Bloomberg was first asked in February.

Table 13: Biden vs. Trump trend
Table 14: Bloomberg vs. Trump
Table 15: Buttigieg vs. Trump trend
Table 16: Klobuchar vs. Trump trend
Table 17: Sanders vs. Trump trend
Table 18: Warren vs Trump trend

Favorability of Trump and six Democrats among all registered voters is shown in Table 19. The Democratic candidates are all less favorably perceived than is Trump. With the exception of Klobuchar, all candidates have more unfavorable than favorable evaluations among all registered voters.

Table 19: Favorability ratings of Trump and six Democratic candidates among all registered voters

Favorability varies strongly by party identification, with partisans holding sharply negative views of candidates of the other party. Democrats are more divided over some of their potential nominees and some Democrat candidates remain less well known even among Democratic partisans. Tables 20-26 show favorability by party identification for each candidate. (Democrats in these tables includes all those who identify as Democrats or independents who lean Democratic, while favorability among Democratic primary voters above includes independents and Republicans planning to vote in the Democratic primary and excludes those who do not intend to vote in the primary.)

Table 20: Trump favorable or unfavorable views by party ID
Table 21: Sanders favorable or unfavorable views by party ID
Table 22: Biden favorable or unfavorable views by party ID
Table 23: Warren favorable or unfavorable views by party ID
Table 24: Buttigieg favorable or unfavorable views by party ID
Table 25: Klobuchar favorable or unfavorable views by party ID
Table 26: Bloomberg favorable or unfavorable views by party ID

Trump job approval

Forty-eight percent approve of the job Trump is doing as president, with 48 percent also disapproving. This is the first Marquette Law School Poll since Trump took office in which Trump’s disapproval is not higher than his approval. In January, 48 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved.

Trump’s job approval trend is shown in Table 27.

Table 27: Trump job approval trend
Table 27: Trump job approval trend
(continued)

Trump’s job approval is extremely high among Republicans, extremely low among Democrats and split among independents and those who lean to a party, as shown in Table 28.

Table 28: Trump job approval by party identification

Fifty-six percent of those polled approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, while 41 percent disapprove. In December, 55 percent approved and 42 percent disapproved.

 The trend in approval of Trump’s handling of the economy is shown in table 29.

Table 29: Approval of Trump’s handling of the economy trend

The trend in foreign policy approval is shown in Table 30.

Table 30: Approval of Trump’s handling of foreign policy

Opinions about impeachment

Views about Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine changed very little following the U.S. Senate vote not to convict Trump based on impeachment counts approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. In the new results, forty-one percent say that Trump did something seriously wrong in his dealings with Ukraine, 13 percent say he did something wrong but not seriously so and 36 percent say Trump did nothing wrong. Nine percent say they don’t know. In January, 40 percent said he did something seriously wrong, 14 percent said it was wrong but not serious and 37 percent said he did nothing wrong.

The trend in views of Trump’s dealing with Ukraine is shown in Table 31.

Table 31: Did Trump do something wrong in his dealing with Ukraine

Following the Senate vote to acquit Trump, 42 percent say the Senate should have convicted Trump and removed him from office, while 52 percent say the Senate should have acquitted him of the charges. Five percent say they don’t know. These views are little changed from the January poll which asked, before the Senate proceedings, what the Senate should do. Tables 32 and 33 show the results for January and February respectively.

Table 32: Should Senate vote to remove
Table 33: Should Senate have voted to remove

National policy issues

With the presidential election on the horizon, we asked about two social issues that divide the parties and are often subject of campaign debate.

Opinions about abortion have been a longstanding issue in elections and legislation. In the current February poll, 18 percent say abortions should be legal in all circumstances, with 37 percent saying it should be legal in most circumstances. Twenty-two percent say it should be illegal in most circumstances, while 15 percent say it should be illegal in all circumstances. The full trend for this question is shown in Table 34.

Table 34: Abortion position

Views of same-sex marriage have changed considerably over time. The recent trend in Wisconsin, shown in Table 35, shows over two-thirds support for the legal status of same-sex marriage, with about a quarter continuing to oppose it.

Table 35: View of same-sex marriage

What United States policy should be regarding undocumented immigrants already in the country is another long-running issue. Table 36 shows the trend in opinion on this issue. Over time, there has been majority support for a policy allowing a path to citizenship and this majority has grown in recent years.

The number of those who believe that undocumented immigrants should be required to leave the United States has modestly declined over time.

Table 36: What to do with undocumented

Free-trade agreements have been a focus of recent policy, with the recent adoption of the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement to replace NAFTA. The percentage who see free-trade agreements as good for the United States has grown in recent years, as shown in Table 37.

Table 37: Free trade agreements

Views of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, have remained about evenly divided since 2017, as shown in Table 38.

Table 38: Opinion of ACA/Obamacare

A proposed “Medicare for all” program in which all Americans would receive health coverage through a single government-run Medicare program divides the public, with 46 percent strongly or somewhat in favor of such a program and 51 percent strongly or somewhat opposed. Opposition has risen from 41 percent in October 2018, as shown in Table 39.

Table 39: Medicare for all by poll dates

An alternative to Medicare for all is the so-called “public option” in which government medical coverage would compete with private insurance and be available for any who chose to sign up for the government alternative. Sixty-one percent support a public option, with 32 percent opposed. The trend is shown in Table 40.

Table 40: Public option

State issues

Voters see the state budget as stable, with 48 percent saying the budget is in about the same shape as in recent years, as shown in Table 41. Eighteen percent say it is in better shape, and 20 percent say it is in worse shape, than in recent years.

Table 41: State budget better, same, or worse

More than half, 56 percent, say it is more important to increase spending on public schools than it is to reduce property taxes, while 38 percent say reducing property taxes is more important. Support for increased school spending peaked in early 2018, while support for cutting property taxes was at its highest in 2013, as shown in Table 42.

Table 42: Cut property taxes or provide more funding for public schools

A majority of respondents, 57 percent, say that they would be inclined to vote for a local referendum that raised taxes to support public schools, while 34 percent would be inclined to vote against it. This is little changed since the question was last asked in 2016, as shown in Table 43. These results are statewide and are not connected to any specific referendum.

Table 43: Support or oppose referendum to raise taxes for public schools

Voters favor a non-partisan approach to redistricting over the current process in which the legislature and governor are responsible for drawing legislative and congressional districts. This item was also asked in January 2019, as shown in Table 44.

Table 44: Redistricting by governor and legislature or by non-partisan commission

Economic outlook and issues

Wisconsin registered voters hold a positive view of the performance of the economy over the past 12 months, with 47 percent saying the economy has improved over the past year, 15 percent saying it has worsened and 36 percent saying it has stayed the same. The trend in economic evaluations is shown in Table 45.

Table 45: Economic evaluation of past year

Looking ahead to the next year, 36 percent say the economy will improve, while 21 percent think it will get worse and 37 percent say the economy will remain the same. The trend in economic outlook is shown in Table 46.

Table 46: Economic outlook for next year
Table 46: Economic outlook for next year (continued)

Respondents are asked each survey about their family’s financial situation. In February, 62 percent said they are “living comfortably,” while 29 percent said they are “just getting by,” and 8 percent said they are “struggling.” This trend is shown in Table 47.

Table 47: Family financial situation by poll date

State of the state

In February, 52 percent say the state is headed in the right direction, while 39 percent say it has gotten off on the wrong track. The trend in opinion is shown in Table 48.

Table 48: Right direction or on wrong track trend

Gov. Tony Evers’ job approval stands at 51 percent, with disapproval at 38 percent. Ten percent say they don’t have an opinion. The trend in job approval of Evers is shown in Table 49.

Table 49: Evers’ job approval trend

Approval of the state legislature’s handling of its job stands at 46 percent with disapproval at 40 percent. Thirteen percent say they don’t have an opinion.

Table 50: Approval of legislature trend

Table 51 presents the favorability ratings of elected officials in Wisconsin and the percentage of respondents who haven’t heard enough or say they don’t know.

Table 51: Favorability ratings of governor and senators

About the Marquette Law School Poll

The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 1,000 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone from Feb. 19-23, 2020. The margin of error is +/-3.6 percentage points for the full sample.

The Democratic presidential candidate preference items were asked of those who said they would vote in the Democratic primary. That sample size is 464, with a margin of error of +/-5.1 percentage points.

Three questions were asked of half the sample (Form A), and three were asked of the other half-sample (Form B). Questions on Form A have a sample size of 500 and a margin of error of +/- 5.2 percentage points. Questions on Form B have a sample size of 500 and a margin of error of +/- 5.1 percentage points.

Form A questions were approval of the state legislature, condition of the state budget and how to conduct redistricting. Form B questions concerned abortion, undocumented immigrants, and same-sex marriage.

The partisan makeup of the sample, including those who lean to a party, is 45 percent Republican, 44 percent Democratic and 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup of the sample, excluding those who lean to a party, is 31 percent Republican, 29 percent Democratic and 39 percent independent.

Since January 2017, the long-term partisan balance, including those who lean to a party, in the Marquette Law School Poll has been 45 percent Republican and 44 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. Partisanship, excluding those who lean, has been 30 percent Republican and 28 percent Democratic, with 40 percent independent.

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

New Marquette Law School Poll finds majorities of Wisconsin voters disapprove of Trump foreign policy and killing of Iranian general

MILWAUKEE — A new Marquette Law School poll of Wisconsin registered voters finds 61 percent saying Iran and the United States are likely to avoid a major military conflict following the U.S. drone attack that killed an Iranian general and an Iranian missile attack on bases in Iraq where U.S. troops are stationed. Thirty percent believe that a major military conflict is likely and 8 percent say they don’t know.

Forty-three percent agree with the statement, “It’s about time that the U.S. struck back against Iran,” while 51 percent disagree and 5 percent say they don’t know.

In the wake of the military exchange between the United States and Iran, 44 percent approve of President Donald J. Trump’s handling of foreign policy and 53 percent disapprove, with 2 percent saying they don’t know. In December, 43 percent approved and 54 percent disapproved.

The trend in opinion of Trump’s foreign policy is shown in Table 1.

The poll was conducted Jan. 8-12, 2020. The sample included 800 registered voters in Wisconsin interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points.

Democratic presidential primary preference items were asked of those who said they will vote in the Democratic primary in April. That sample size is 358, with a margin of error of +/- 6.3 percentage points.

Democratic presidential primary candidates

With less than a month remaining until the Iowa caucuses, the top four Democratic primary candidates in Wisconsin remain former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Among those who say they will vote in the Democratic presidential primary in April, Biden is the first choice of 23 percent, followed by Sanders at 19 percent, Buttigieg at 15 percent, and Warren at 14 percent. Michael Bloomberg and Andrew Yang are the first choice of 6 percent each.

The complete results for the Democratic primary are shown in Table 2.

Three-fifths of Democratic primary voters, 60 percent, say they might change their minds about their primary choice, while 38 percent say their minds are made up.

Among the Democratic primary sample, favorability of candidates is shown in Table 3.

General election matchups

General election matchups between Trump and four Democratic candidates all indicate very close races.

A summary of the general election results for January is shown in Table 4. For comparison, the December results are shown in Table 5 and the November results in Table 6.

Trump Job Approval

Forty-eight percent approve of the job Trump is doing as president, with 49 percent disapproving. That is little changed from December, when 47 percent approved and 50 percent disapproved. This is the first time Trump’s disapproval has fallen below 50 percent in the Marquette Law School Poll since March 2017 when 47 percent disapproved.

Trump’s job approval trend is shown in Table 7.

Trump’s job approval is high among Republicans, is low among Democrats, and is split among independents as shown in Table 8.

Fifty-five percent of those polled approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, while 42 percent disapprove. In December, 53 percent approved and 45 percent disapproved.

The trend in approval or disapproval of Trump’s handling of the economy is shown in table 9.

Opinions about impeachment

Views about Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine also changed very little following public testimony and the vote by the U.S. House of Representatives in favor of impeachment.

Forty percent say that Trump did something seriously wrong in his dealings with Ukraine, 14 percent say he did something wrong but not seriously so, and 37 percent say Trump did nothing wrong. Nine percent say they don’t know. In December, 42 percent said he did something seriously wrong, 9 percent said it was wrong but not serious, and 37 percent said he did nothing wrong.

The trend in views of Trump’s dealing with Ukraine is shown in Table 10.

Forty-seven percent approve of the House of Representatives’ vote to impeach Trump, while 49 percent disapprove and 3 percent say they don’t know.

Asked about the upcoming Senate trial, 44 percent say the Senate should convict Trump and remove him from office, while 49 percent say the Senate should acquit him of the charges. Six percent say they don’t know.

In December, prior to the House impeachment vote, a different question asked if Trump should be impeached and removed from office or not. Forty percent said he should be impeached and removed, 52 percent said he should not be, and 6 percent said they did not know.

National policy issues

Just over four in 10 respondents, 41 percent, say that global warming will cause a great deal of harm to people in the United States, with 21 percent saying it will cause a moderate amount of harm. Sixteen percent say it will cause only a little harm and 19 percent say it will cause no harm at all, while 2 percent say they don’t know.

Thirty-five percent say that the number of legal immigrants into the United States should be increased, 41 percent say it should remain the same and 20 percent say it should be reduced. Four percent say they don’t know.

Over one-third of respondents, 37 percent, say that tariffs hurt the U.S. economy, while 32 percent say tariffs help the economy, 24 percent say they don’t make any difference, and 7 percent say they don’t know. The trend in views of tariffs is shown in Table 11.

Twenty-six percent believe the U.S. and North Korea will reach an agreement on reducing nuclear weapons in the next year or two, with 65 percent saying they don’t think an agreement will be reached and 9 percent saying they don’t know. In October, 24 percent thought an agreement would be reached and 66 percent thought it would not.

Cynicism about government

Almost half, 48 percent, strongly agree that the government is run by a few big interests and 32 percent say they somewhat agree. Thirteen percent somewhat disagree and 6 strongly disagree. The trend in this view of the government is shown in Table 12.

About two-thirds, 64 percent, strongly agree that the government wastes a lot of money collected in taxes, with 24 percent somewhat agreeing, 8 percent somewhat disagreeing, and 2 percent strongly disagreeing. The trend in this question is shown in Table 13.

More than half of respondents say you can’t trust the government to do what is right, with 26 percent saying they strongly agree and 38 percent saying they somewhat agree. Twenty-three percent say they somewhat disagree and 9 percent strongly disagree. The trend for this question is shown in Table 14.

Asked about the FBI, 33 percent say they have a great deal of confidence in the FBI, 39 percent have some confidence, 18 percent have only a little, and 8 percent say they have no confidence at all. This trend is shown in Table 15.

Racial prejudice

One-third of respondents, 34 percent, say that racial prejudice against black people is a very serious problem, with 38 percent saying it is somewhat serious. Seventeen percent say it is a not so serious problem and 9 percent say it is not a problem at all.

Prejudice against Hispanic or Latino people is seen as a very serious problem by 29 percent, as a somewhat serious problem by 36 percent, as a not so serious problem by 19 percent, and as not a problem at all by 12 percent.

State issues

Thirty-five percent say that Foxconn will be worth the money the state provides in incentives to the company, while 46 percent say the state is paying more than the plant is worth and 19 percent say they don’t know. There have been only modest shifts in views of Foxconn since the project was announced, as shown in Table 16.

A majority of respondents are very satisfied (15 percent) or satisfied (44 percent) with the public schools in their community, while 22 percent say they are dissatisfied and 11 percent are very dissatisfied. The percentage of those very satisfied has declined from 23 percent in 2012, while those dissatisfied have increased from 17 percent, as shown in Table 17.

More than half, 55 percent, say it is more important to increase spending on public schools than it is to reduce property taxes, while 41 percent say reducing property taxes is more important. Since 2013, support for increased school spending peaked in early 2018, while support for cutting property taxes was at its height in early 2013, as shown in Table 18.

Over two-thirds of respondents, 70 percent, favor “Wisconsin’s current law allowing residents to obtain a license to carry concealed handguns,” while 25 percent oppose it. When previously asked in January 2016, 63 percent favored and 31 percent opposed the law.

In 2012, shortly after the state’s current law went into effect in late 2011, a question with a different wording showed a much more narrow division. That question asked, “Do you favor or oppose legalizing possession of concealed weapons?” Responses to that question are shown in Table 19.

Economic outlook and issues

Wisconsin registered voters hold a positive view of the performance of the economy over the past 12 months, with 48 percent saying the economy has improved over the past year, 17 percent saying it has worsened, and 33 percent saying it has stayed the same. The trend in economic evaluations of the past year is shown in Table 20.

Looking ahead to the next year, 33 percent say the economy will improve, while 23 percent think it will get worse and 37 percent say the economy will remain the same. The trend in economic outlook is shown in Table 21.

Evaluation of state elected officials

Gov. Tony Evers’ job approval stands at 51 percent, with disapproval at 40 percent. Nine percent say they don’t have an opinion. In December, 50 percent approved, while 38 percent disapproved. The trend in job approval of the governor is shown in Table 22.

In January, 46 percent say the state is headed in the right direction, while 47 percent say it has gotten off on the wrong track. This is a shift from 2019 when a majority said the state was headed in the right direction, as shown in Table 23.

Table 24 presents the favorability ratings of elected officials in Wisconsin and the percentage of respondents who haven’t heard enough or say they don’t know.

About the Marquette Law School Poll

The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 800 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone Jan. 8-12, 2020. The margin of error is +/-4.1 percentage points for the full sample.

The Democratic presidential candidate preference items were asked of Democrats, independents who lean Democratic, and independents who do not lean to either party. That sample size is 358 with a margin of error of +/- 6.3 percentage points.

Four questions were asked of half the sample (Form A) and four were asked of the other half-sample (Form B). Questions on Form A have a sample size of 400 and a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points. Questions on Form B have a sample size of 400 and a margin of error of +/- 5.8 percentage points.

Form A questions were right direction or wrong track for the state, satisfaction with public schools, concealed carry, and Foxconn. Form B questions were the effect of global warming, legal immigration, the effect of tariffs on the economy, and whether the United States and North Korea will agree to limits on nuclear arms.

The partisan makeup of the sample, including those who lean to a party, is 47 percent Republican, 43 percent Democratic and 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup of the sample, excluding those who lean to a party, is 28 percent Republican, 26 percent Democratic, and 44 percent independent.

Since January 2017, the long-term partisan balance, including those who lean to a party, in the Marquette Law School Poll has been 45 percent Republican and 44 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. Partisanship, excluding those who lean, has been 30 percent Republican and 28 percent Democratic, with 41 percent independent.

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

New Marquette Law School Poll finds no change in impeachment views following end of public testimony

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School poll of Wisconsin registered voters finds that support for impeachment has not changed following the conclusion of public testimony before the Intelligence Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives in November.

In the new results, 40 percent think that President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 52 percent do not think so and 6 percent say they do not know. One percent volunteered that they thought Trump should be impeached but not removed from office. In November, 40 percent favored impeachment and removal from office, while 53 percent were opposed and 6 percent said they didn’t know. The November poll was conducted during the first week of public testimony before the Intelligence Committee but before the second week of testimony.

In October, before public hearings began, 44 percent favored impeachment and removal from office, while 51 percent were opposed and 4 percent said they didn’t know.

The new survey was conducted Dec. 3-8, 2019, after the conclusion of public testimony before the Intelligence Committee in the congressional impeachment hearings. The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from four constitutional law professors on Dec. 4, during the field period for the survey.

The trend in responses to this question is shown in Table 1.

Opinions about Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine also changed very little following public testimony.

The new poll finds 52 percent saying they believe Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rivals while 29 percent believe Trump did not do this. Eighteen percent say they don’t know. In November, the percentages were the same for each category: 52 percent said he asked for an investigation, while 29 percent said they did not think he did so and 18 percent said they didn’t know.

In the December poll, 44 percent say they believe Trump withheld military aid to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rivals, while 36 percent do not believe Trump did this and 19 percent say they don’t know. In November, 41 percent said they believed Trump withheld aid, 38 percent did not believe he did, and 21 percent said they did not know.

Forty-two percent say that Trump did something seriously wrong in his dealings with Ukraine, 9 percent say he did something wrong but not seriously so, and 37 percent say Trump did nothing wrong. Eleven percent say they don’t know. In November, 42 percent said he did something seriously wrong, 9 percent said it was wrong but not serious, and 38 percent said he did nothing wrong.

The poll sample included 800 registered voters in Wisconsin interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.

Democratic presidential primary preference items were asked of those who said they will vote in the Democratic primary in April. That sample size is 358, with a margin of error of +/-6.3 percentage points.

Views of impeachment by partisanship and attention to hearings

There are large partisan differences in views of impeachment, with Democrats much more supportive and Republicans much more opposed, and a plurality of independents opposed. These partisan divisions have changed only modestly from October to December.

Partisans are reacting differently to the evidence and testimony, with Democrats much more likely to say that Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rivals than are Republicans. Independents are more than twice as likely as partisans to say that they do not know if Trump asked for an investigation: 39 percent say they don’t know, while 39 percent say he did ask and 20 percent say he did not ask.

Republicans are less likely to think that Trump withheld aid to pressure Ukraine for an investigation, with two-thirds of Republicans saying that Trump did not withhold aid, whereas about eight in ten Democrats say that he did so. Almost half of independents, 48 percent, say they don’t know if Trump withheld aid, with 33 percent saying he did and 18 percent saying he did not.

Thirty-one percent of all registered voters say they are following the news and testimony in the impeachment hearings very closely, with another 39 percent saying they are following fairly closely. Eighteen percent are not following too closely and 11 percent are following not at all closely.

There are no statistically significant differences in attention to the hearings between Republicans and Democrats, although independents are more likely to say they are not following closely at all.

Those who are following the hearings most closely are more likely to have an opinion about the evidence than are those not paying close attention. Of those paying very close attention, 58 percent say that Trump asked for an investigation, 33 percent say he did not ask and only 9 percent say they don’t know. By contrast, among those not following the hearings at all closely, 21 percent say Trump asked, 24 percent say he did not ask, and 55 percent say they don’t know.

A similar pattern holds with attention and opinion on whether Trump withheld aid to pressure Ukraine for an investigation. Both the percentage saying he did this and the percentage saying he did not are higher among the most attentive, and both such percentages are lower among the least attentive. Among the most attentive, only 5 percent say they don’t know while 58 percent of the least attentive say they don’t know.

General election matchups

General election matchups between Trump and five Democratic candidates all indicate very close races, slightly closer than in the November poll.

A summary of the general election results for December is shown in Table 10. For comparison, the November results are shown in Table 11 and the October results in Table 12.

Democratic Presidential Primary Candidates

Among those who say they will vote in the Democratic presidential primary in April, Joe Biden receives the most support. Biden is the first choice of 23 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 19 percent, Elizabeth Warren at 16 percent and Pete Buttigieg at 15 percent. Corey Booker is the first choice of 4 percent. Recently announced candidate Michael Bloomberg has the support of 3 percent, as does Andrew Yang and Amy Klobuchar.

The complete results for the Democratic primary are shown in Table 13.

Two-thirds of Democratic primary voters, 65 percent, say they might change their minds about their primary choice, while 34 percent say their mind is made up.

Among the Democratic primary sample, favorability of candidates is shown in Table 14.

Trump Job Approval

Forty-seven percent approve of the job Trump is doing as president, with 50 percent disapproving. That is little changed from October when 47 percent approved and 51 percent disapproved. The approval-disapproval ratio of 47-50 matches Trump’s best rating in the Marquette Law School Poll since taking office, that from Oct. 24-28, 2018.

Trump’s job approval during 2019 is shown in Table 15.

Trump’s job approval is high among Republicans, is low among Democrats, and is split among independents as shown in Table 16.

Fifty-three percent of those polled approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, while 45 percent disapprove. In November, 55 percent approved and 43 percent disapproved.

Forty-three percent of those polled approve of Trump’s handling of foreign policy, while 54 percent disapprove. In the previous poll, 44 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved.

Twenty-five percent say that Trump has changed the Republican party for the better, while 44 percent say he has changed it for the worse and 26 percent say he hasn’t changed it much either way. An additional 5 percent say they don’t know.

Views of how Trump has changed the Republican party vary by partisanship, with Republican identifiers more positive about the effect Trump has had on the party, as shown in Table 17.

Economic outlook and issues

Wisconsin registered voters hold a net positive view of the performance of the economy over the past 12 months, with 44 percent saying the economy has improved over the past year, 21 percent saying it has worsened, and 34 percent saying it has stayed the same. The trend in economic evaluations of the past year is shown in Table 18.

Looking ahead to the next year, 32 percent say the economy will improve, while 25 percent think it will get worse and 37 percent say the economy will remain the same. The trend in economic outlook during 2019 is shown in Table 19.

Evaluation of state elected officials

Gov. Tony Evers’ job approval stands at 50 percent, with disapproval at 38 percent. Eleven percent say they don’t have an opinion. In November, 47 percent approved, while 42 percent disapproved. The trend in job approval of the governor is shown in Table 20.

Table 21 presents the favorability ratings of elected officials in Wisconsin and the percentage of respondents who haven’t heard enough or say they don’t know.

About the Marquette Law School Poll

The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 800 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone, Dec. 3-8, 2019. The margin of error is +/-4.2 percentage points for the full sample.

The Democratic presidential candidate preference items were asked of those who said that they will vote in the Democratic primary. That sample size is 358 with a margin of error of +/-6.3 percentage points.

The partisan makeup of the sample, including those who lean to a party, is 45 percent Republican, 44 percent Democratic and 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup of the sample, excluding those who lean to a party, is 30 percent Republican, 29 percent Democratic, and 39 percent independent.

Since January 2017, the long-term partisan balance, including those who lean to a party, in the Marquette poll has been 45 percent Republican and 45 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. Partisanship, excluding those who lean, has been 30 percent Republican and 29 percent Democratic, with 40 percent independent.

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