MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton with support from 46 percent of Wisconsin registered voters and Republican candidate Donald Trump with support from 36 percent in a head-to-head presidential matchup. Sixteen percent say they will vote for neither candidate, will not vote, or don’t know how they will vote.
In the most recent Marquette Law School Poll, in July, Clinton had 43 percent support and Trump 37 percent, with 18 percent saying they would vote for neither, would not vote or didn’t know.
Among likely voters, i.e., those who say they are certain they will vote in November, Clinton is supported by 52 percent and Trump by 37 percent in the new poll, with 10 percent saying they will support neither candidate. In July, likely voters gave Clinton 45 percent support, Trump 41 percent and 14 percent said they would vote for neither.
In a four-way matchup including Clinton, Trump, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Clinton is supported by 42 percent of registered voters, with Trump at 33 percent, Johnson at 10 and Stein at 4. A total of 11 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 47 percent, Trump 34, Johnson 9 and Stein 3. In July’s four-candidate question among registered voters, Clinton received 40 percent, Trump 33, Johnson 10 and Stein 4. Among likely voters in that poll, Clinton received 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 49 percent while Republican incumbent Ron Johnson receives 43 percent. In July, Feingold had 48 percent support and Johnson 41 percent.
Among likely voters in November’s election, Feingold has the support of 53 percent while Johnson is supported by 42 percent. Among likely voters in July, Feingold was supported by 49 percent and Johnson by 44 percent.
When Libertarian candidate Phil Anderson is included in the Senate contest, among registered voters, Feingold receives 47 percent, Johnson 38 percent and Anderson 7 percent. Among likely voters, it is Feingold 50 percent, Johnson 39 percent and Anderson 7 percent.
For registered voters in the July poll, Feingold received 45 percent, Johnson 38 percent and Anderson 8 percent. Among likely voters, Feingold received 46 percent, Johnson 40 percent and Anderson 7 percent.
Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, 78 percent say they are absolutely certain they will vote in November compared to 80 percent in the July poll. Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, certainty of voting rose from 78 percent in July to 81 percent in August.
The poll was conducted August 4-7, 2016. The full sample includes 805 registered voters interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points. Results for likely voters are based on 683 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 5.0 percentage points.
Favorable and unfavorable views of candidates
Trump is viewed favorably by 27 percent and unfavorably by 65 percent of registered voters. Seven percent say they either haven’t heard enough or don’t know how they feel about him. In July, Trump’s rating was 29 percent favorable and 63 percent unfavorable.
Clinton is viewed favorably by 43 percent and unfavorably by 53 percent of registered voters. Four percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t know how they feel about her. In July, 36 percent rated Clinton favorably and 58 percent unfavorably.
Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate, is seen favorably by 13 percent and unfavorably by 15 percent, with 72 percent lacking an opinion of him. In July, 11 percent had a favorable view of Johnson, 10 percent an unfavorable view and 79 percent lacked an opinion.
In the U.S. Senate race, Feingold is seen favorably by 44 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 36 percent, with 20 percent lacking an opinion. Johnson has a 34 percent favorable and 32 percent unfavorable rating, with 33 percent without an opinion. Libertarian candidate Anderson is viewed favorably by 4 percent and unfavorably by 5 percent, with 92 percent lacking an opinion of him. In July, Feingold had a 40 percent favorable and 32 percent unfavorable rating while Johnson’s was 34 percent favorable and 35 percent unfavorable. In July Anderson was 2 percent favorable, 4 percent unfavorable and 94 percent had no opinion of him.
Comparison of candidate traits
Asked if “honest” describes Clinton, in the August poll, 32 percent of registered voters say it does, while 64 percent say it does not. For Trump, 33 percent of August respondents say “honest” describes him, while 64 percent say it does not. In July, 28 percent described Clinton as honest and 68 percent did not, while 33 percent described Trump as honest and 62 percent said this did not describe him.
Forty-seven percent describe Clinton as someone who “cares about people like me” and 51 percent do not. Thirty-one percent say Trump cares about people like them while 67 percent do not see him this way. In the June Marquette Law School Poll, when this question was most recently asked, 42 percent described Clinton as caring and 55 percent did not, compared to 27 percent who described Trump as caring while 70 percent did not.
Asked if a candidate has the qualifications to be president, 58 percent say Clinton does, while 41 percent say she does not. Twenty-nine percent say Trump has the qualifications to be president, while 68 percent say he does not. In July, 56 percent described Clinton as qualified while 42 percent did not and 32 percent said Trump had the qualifications to be president and 67 percent said that he did not.
Respondents were asked how comfortable they were with the idea of each candidate as president. In August, 43 percent say they are very or somewhat comfortable with Clinton as president, with 55 percent very or somewhat uncomfortable, including 41 percent saying they are “very uncomfortable.” For Trump, 31 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 July, 40 percent were very or somewhat comfortable with Clinton, with 60 percent very or somewhat uncomfortable, including 43 percent “very uncomfortable.” Thirty percent were very or somewhat comfortable with Trump while 68 percent were very or somewhat uncomfortable, including 53 percent very uncomfortable.
Party unity and division
In the head-to-head matchup of Clinton and Trump, 79 percent of Republicans support Trump, 6 percent vote for Clinton and 14 percent say they would vote for neither, would not vote or don’t know. Among Democrats, 90 percent support Clinton and 2 percent Trump, with 6 percent saying they would vote for neither, would not vote or don’t know. Independents split 36 percent for Clinton, 34 percent for Trump and 29 percent saying they would vote for neither, they wouldn’t vote or they don’t know.
In July, Trump received 80 percent support from Republicans, Clinton was backed by 93 percent of Democrats, and independents divided 35 percent for Clinton and 36 percent for Trump, with 27 percent saying they would vote for neither, they wouldn’t vote or they don’t know.
When third-party candidates are included in the vote question, 75 percent of Republicans say they will vote for Trump, 6 percent for Clinton, 8 percent for Johnson and 2 percent for Stein, with 10 percent saying they would vote for none of these candidates, would not vote or don’t know. Among Democrats, 85 percent back Clinton, 2 percent Trump, 5 percent Johnson, and 4 percent Stein, while 4 percent support none, wouldn’t vote or don’t know.
With the third-party candidates specifically mentioned in the question, independents divide 28 percent for Clinton, 28 percent for Trump, 19 percent for Johnson and 6 percent for Stein, with 19 percent saying they would vote for none of these candidates, would not vote or don’t know.
Republicans and independents who lean Republican see their party as divided, with 47 percent saying it is divided now and will still be divided in November, 42 percent saying it is divided now but will unite before the election and 5 percent saying the party is united now. Those numbers have barely moved from July, prior to the convention, when 46 percent said the GOP would remain divided, 45 percent said it was divided but would unite and 5 percent said it was already united.
Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, 16 percent say the party is divided and will remain so, 35 percent say it is divided but will unite before the election and 47 percent say the party is united now. In July, 19 percent thought the party would remain divided, 40 percent said it was divided but would unite and 39 percent said the party was already united.
Party unity and the Senate vote
Among Republicans, 87 percent say they will vote for Johnson, 6 percent for Feingold and 7 percent don’t support either candidate. When Libertarian candidate Anderson is included in the question, 81 percent of Republicans support Johnson, 6 percent Feingold, 5 percent Anderson and 9 percent do not support any of the three.
Among Democrats, 92 percent support Feingold, 5 percent Johnson and 4 percent lack a preference. When Anderson is included in the list of candidates, 88 percent of Democrats choose Feingold, 4 percent Johnson and 4 percent Anderson, with 4 percent choosing none of the three.
Independents divide 42 percent for Feingold and 44 percent for Johnson, with 14 percent supporting neither. When Anderson is added, the division is 41 percent for Feingold, 36 percent for Johnson, 12 percent for Anderson and 12 percent choosing none of the three.
The state of the state
In August, 45 percent of registered voters say the state in headed in the right direction, while 51 percent say it is off on the wrong track. When last asked in June, 46 percent said right direction and 50 percent said wrong track.
Thirty percent of August respondents say the state’s budget is in better shape than a few years ago while 36 percent say it is in worse shape now, with 28 percent saying it is about the same. In June, 31 percent said the budget was better, 37 percent said worse and 25 percent said it was the same.
How to fund the transportation budget has become a topic of discussion among lawmakers, including the governor, in recent weeks. Respondents in the August poll were asked how the state should deal with a projected $939 million shortfall in next year’s transportation budget. Forty-three percent say they would increase gas taxes or registration fees to maintain current road projects, 33 percent say they would cut most or all of the spending on road projects to avoid any tax increase and 12 percent say they would support borrowing most or all of the $939 million needed to maintain current taxes and projects. Fifty-five percent of Republicans said they would cut projects, while 25 percent would raise taxes and 8 percent would borrow, Among Democrats, 59 percent would raise revenue, 18 percent would cut projects and 12 would borrow. Forty-five percent of independents support tax increases, 27 percent favor project cuts and 15 percent would rather borrow.
Approval of how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is handling his job stands at 38 percent, with disapproval at 59 percent. In July, approval was 38 percent and disapproval was 58 percent.
In this statewide poll, House Speaker Paul Ryan is viewed favorably by 54 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 31 percent. Fourteen percent do not have an opinion of him. In July, 48 percent had a favorable opinion, 33 percent unfavorable and 18 percent were unable to say. Among Republicans statewide, Ryan’s approval is 80 percent favorable, 12 percent unfavorable and 7 percent have no opinion.
President Obama’s job approval stands at 53 percent, with 41 percent disapproval. In July, 51 percent approved and 45 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 805 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone, August 4‑7, 2016. The margin of error is +/- 4.6 percentage points for the full sample. For likely voters, the unweighted sample size is 683 and weighted sample size is 619, with a margin of error of +/-5.0 percentage points.
The partisan makeup of the full registered-voter sample, including those who lean to a party, is 44 percent Republican, 47 percent Democratic and 8 percent independent. The long-term estimate over the previous 36 statewide Marquette polls, with 31,341 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 30 percent Republican, 35 percent Democratic and 32 percent independent, compared to the long-term estimate of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 39 percent independent.