MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton with 43 percent support and Republican candidate Donald Trump with 37 percent support in a head-to-head presidential matchup among Wisconsin registered voters. Eleven percent say they will vote for neither candidate.
In the previous Marquette Law School Poll, in June, Clinton had 42 percent support and Trump 35 percent, with 17 percent saying they would vote for neither.
Among likely voters, i.e., those who say they are certain they will vote in November, Clinton is supported by 45 percent and Trump by 41 percent in the new poll, with 9 percent saying they will support neither candidate. In June likely voters gave Clinton 46 percent support, Trump 37 percent and 13 percent said they would vote for neither.
In a four-way matchup among Clinton, Trump, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Clinton receives 40 percent, Trump 33, Johnson 10 and Stein 4. A total of 12 percent in that matchup say they will vote for none of the candidates, won’t vote or don’t know how they will vote. Among likely voters, Clinton receives 43 percent, Trump 37, Johnson 8 and Stein 2 percent.
In a head-to-head matchup for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race, among registered voters, Democratic candidate Russ Feingold is supported by 48 percent while Republican incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson receives 41 percent. In June, Feingold had 45 percent and Johnson 41 percent.
Among likely voters in November’s election, Feingold has the support of 49 percent while Johnson is supported by 44 percent. In June, Feingold had 51 percent to Johnson’s 42 percent among likely voters.
When Libertarian candidate Phil Anderson is included in the Senate contest, among registered voters, Feingold receives 45 percent, Johnson 38 percent and Anderson 8 percent. Among likely voters, it is Feingold 46 percent, Johnson 40 percent and Anderson 7 percent.
Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, 80 percent say they are absolutely certain they will vote in November compared to 78 percent in the June poll. Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, certainty of voting fell to 78 percent in July from 84 percent in June.
The poll was conducted July 7-10, 2016. The full sample includes 801 registered voters interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points. Results for likely voters are based on 665 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points.
Favorable and unfavorable views of candidates
Trump is viewed favorably by 29 percent and unfavorably by 63 percent of registered voters. Eight percent say they either haven’t heard enough or don’t know how they feel about him. In June, Trump’s rating was 26 percent favorable and 64 percent unfavorable.
Clinton is viewed favorably by 36 percent and unfavorably by 58 percent of registered voters. Five percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t know how they feel about her. In June, 37 percent rated Clinton favorably and 58 percent unfavorably.
Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate, is seen favorably by 11 percent and unfavorably by 10 percent, with 79 percent lacking an opinion of him.
In the U.S. Senate race, Feingold is seen favorably by 40 percent and unfavorably by 32 percent, with 27 percent lacking an opinion. Johnson has a 34 percent favorable and 35 percent unfavorable rating, with 32 percent without an opinion. Libertarian candidate Anderson is viewed favorably by 2 percent and unfavorably by 4 percent, with 94 percent lacking an opinion of him. In June, Feingold had a 40 percent favorable and 33 percent unfavorable rating while Johnson’s was 33 percent favorable and 31 percent unfavorable.
There has been little change in perception of the presidential candidates between the June and July polls, despite media coverage of controversies involving both candidates. That included FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the Clinton email server investigation had been closed. The July poll began interviews two days after Comey’s announcement.
Asked if “honest” describes Clinton, in the July poll, 28 percent say it does while 68 percent say it does not, the same percentages as in the June poll. Asked if she has the qualifications to be president, 56 percent say Clinton does, while 42 percent say she does not, also the same as in the June poll.
For Trump, 33 percent of July respondents say “honest” describes him, while 62 percent say it does not. In June, 32 percent described him as honest and 62 percent said this did not describe him. Thirty-two percent in July say Trump has the qualifications to be president, while 67 percent say he does not. In June, 30 percent said he had the qualifications and 66 percent did not think so.
There has been similarly slight change in comfort with Clinton and Trump as president. In July, 40 percent say they are very or somewhat comfortable with Clinton as president, with 60 percent very or somewhat uncomfortable, including 43 percent saying they are “very uncomfortable.” In June, 38 percent were very or somewhat comfortable, with 61 percent very or somewhat uncomfortable, including 42 percent “very uncomfortable.”
For Trump, in July, 30 percent say they are very or somewhat comfortable with him as president while 68 percent say they are very or somewhat uncomfortable, including 53 percent saying “very uncomfortable.” In June, 28 percent were very or somewhat comfortable with Trump while 72 percent were very or somewhat uncomfortable, including 55 percent very uncomfortable.
Party unity and division
In the head-to-head matchup of Clinton versus Trump, 80 percent of Republicans support Trump, 3 percent vote for Clinton and 15 percent say they would vote for neither, not vote or don’t know. Among Democrats, 93 percent support Clinton and 3 percent Trump, with 4 percent saying neither, they would not vote or don’t know. Independents split 34 percent for Clinton, 36 percent for Trump and 30 percent saying neither, they wouldn’t vote or they don’t know. In June, Trump received 78 percent support from Republicans, Clinton was backed by 91 percent of Democrats and independents divided 31 percent for Clinton and 32 percent for Trump with 35 percent saying neither, they wouldn’t vote or they don’t know.
When third-party candidates are included in the vote question, 76 percent of Republicans say they will vote for Trump, 3 percent for Clinton, 10 percent for Johnson, 1 percent for Stein, with 9 percent saying they would vote for none of these candidates, would not vote or don’t know. Among Democrats, 89 percent back Clinton, 3 percent Trump, 3 percent Johnson, and 2 percent Stein, while 2 percent support none, wouldn’t vote or don’t know.
With the third-party candidates specifically mentioned in the question, independents divide 29 percent for Clinton, 30 percent for Trump, 15 percent for Johnson and 6 percent for Stein, with 20 percent saying they would vote for none of these candidates, would not vote or don’t know.
Divisions remain in both parties following a lengthy and contentious nomination process.
Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, 59 percent say the Republican convention should nominate Trump, while 39 percent say they would like the Republican convention to nominate someone other than Trump. Among those saying Trump should be the nominee, 97 percent say they will vote for Trump over Clinton. Forty-two percent of those wishing for a different nominee say they will vote for Trump, 13 percent for Clinton and 45 percent say they will vote for neither, not vote or don’t know.
In the four-way presidential matchup, 96 percent support Trump among those saying he should be the nominee, with 3 percent for Johnson, none for Clinton or Stein and 1 percent undecided. Of those who would like a different nominee, 33 percent would vote for Trump, 28 percent for Johnson, 10 percent for Clinton and 2 percent for Stein. Twenty-seven percent say they would vote for none of these, not vote or don’t know.
Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, 50 percent say they prefer Clinton to be the party’s nominee while 47 percent prefer Sanders. In June, 44 percent preferred Clinton and 53 percent supported Sanders. Among those choosing Clinton as the nominee, 95 percent say they will vote for her over Trump in November. Among those who would prefer Sanders as the nominee, 68 percent say they will vote for Clinton, 9 percent for Trump and 23 percent for neither, not vote or don’t know. In June, Clinton received 67 percent support among those who preferred Sanders as the nominee while Trump won 4 percent of Sanders backers. Clinton was the choice of 97 percent of those who supported her for the nomination.
In the four-way matchup, Democrats preferring Clinton as the nominee give her 90 percent support, 1 percent for Trump, 2 percent for Johnson, 2 percent for Stein and 4 percent say none of these, they would not vote or they don’t know. Among those who prefer Sanders as the nominee, 61 percent say they will vote for Clinton, 6 percent for Trump, 14 percent for Johnson, 10 percent for Stein and 9 percent would not support any of these or not vote or don’t know.
Republicans and independents who lean Republican see their party as divided, with 46 percent saying it is divided now and will still be divided in November, 45 percent saying it is divided now but will unite before the election, and 5 percent saying the party is united now. In June, 45 percent said the GOP would remain divided, 41 percent said it was divided but would unite, and 12 percent said it was already united.
Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, 19 percent say the party is divided and will remain so, 40 percent say it is divided but will unite before the election and 39 percent say the party is united now. In June, just 18 percent said the party was united, 53 percent said it was divided but would unite, and 26 percent thought it would remain divided.
Views on illegal drugs
Registered voters were asked, “When it comes to marijuana, some people think that the drug should be fully legalized and regulated like alcohol. Do you agree or disagree with that view?” Fifty-nine percent say they agree while 39 percent disagree. In September 2014, when the poll last asked about marijuana, a different question wording was used: “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not?” In that poll, 46 percent said it should be legal and 51 percent said it should not be legal.
In the July poll, 42 percent of Republicans agree that marijuana should be legal while 56 percent disagree. Sixty-eight percent of Democrats agree it should be legal while 30 percent disagree. Independents divide with 63 percent supporting legalization and 36 opposed.
Asked to agree or disagree that each of four drugs “is a major problem in the area where I live,” 41 percent agree that marijuana is a major problem while 53 percent disagree.
Sixty-two percent agree that heroin is a major problem where they live while 30 percent disagree.
Fifty-four percent agree that methamphetamine or “crystal meth” is a major problem in their area while 39 percent do not think so.
Forty-three percent say crack cocaine is a major problem while 46 percent disagree that it is a major problem where they live.
Views of elected officials
Approval of how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is handling his job stands at 38 percent, with disapproval at 58 percent. In June, approval was 39 percent and disapproval was 57 percent.
House Speaker Paul Ryan is viewed favorably by 48 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 33 percent. Eighteen percent do not have an opinion of him. In June, 49 percent had a favorable opinion, 32 percent unfavorable and 18 percent were unable to say.
President Obama’s job approval stands at 51 percent, with 45 percent disapproval. In June, 51 percent approved and 43 percent disapproved.
About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 801 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone, July 7‑10, 2016. The margin of error is +/- 4.1 percentage points for the full sample. For likely voters, the unweighted sample size is 665 and weighted sample size is 629, with a margin of error of +/-4.5 percentage points.
The partisan makeup of the full registered-voter sample, including those who lean to a party, is 41 percent Republican, 49 percent Democratic and 9 percent independent. The long-term estimate over the previous 35 statewide Marquette polls, with 30,540 respondents, is 42 percent Republican and 48 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup of this sample, excluding those who lean to a party, is 25 percent Republican, 30 percent Democratic and 41 percent independent, compared to the long-term estimate of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 39 percent independent.