— Just as there is a partisan split at the top of Wisconsin’s state government,
partisan divisions remain a key fact of public opinion in Wisconsin, according
to a new Marquette Law School Poll.
first poll since the November election finds voters split generally along party
lines on state issues such as whether Wisconsin should drop out of a lawsuit
challenging the Affordable Care Act, often known as Obamacare, increase the
minimum wage or prioritize increasing school spending over holding down
opinion on some issues was less divided, including support for having
legislative district boundaries be determined by a nonpartisan commission,
support for increases in state funding for special education and support for
Wisconsin’s accepting federal money to expand Medicaid.
other state issues: Determining a plan to pay for road improvements that
attracts majority support remains a challenge. And many voters have not yet reached
an opinion, favorable or unfavorable, on new Gov. Tony Evers or other new
national issues, a majority oppose a border wall with Mexico, and more voters
blame President Donald Trump than congressional Democrats for the partial
shutdown of the federal government. A majority also say there is not enough
cause to begin impeachment hearings against Trump.
poll was conducted January 16-20, 2019. The sample included 800 registered
voters in Wisconsin, interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of
error of +/- 3.9 percentage points. Ten questions were asked of half the
sample. Questions on Form A have a sample size of 399 and a margin of error of
+/- 5.5 percentage points. Questions on Form B have a sample size of 401 and a
margin of error of +/- 5.5 percentage points. The half-sample items are listed
at the end of this release.
percent of registered voters think that Wisconsin should withdraw from a
federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act, also known as
Obamacare, while 42 percent think that the state should continue to participate
in the suit. Nine percent say they do not have an opinion.
majority, 62 percent, say the state should accept federal funds to expand
Medicaid, which is called Badgercare in Wisconsin, while 25 percent oppose the
expansion, and 12 percent say they do not know.
on the Affordable Care Act lawsuit are sharply divided along partisan lines,
with 75 percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican (hereafter
“Republicans including leaners”) saying the state should continue in the
lawsuit, while 20 percent want the state to withdraw. Among Democrats including
leaners, 11 percent would continue in the suit, while 81 percent want the state
to withdraw. Among independents who do not lean to a party, 32 percent want to
continue and 39 percent want to withdraw from the suit. Twenty-four percent of
independents say they have no opinion on the lawsuit, as do 5 percent of
Republicans including leaners and 7 percent of Democrats including leaners.
are less divided on expanding Medicaid. Among Republicans including leaners,
43 percent say the state should expand Medicaid coverage while 41 percent
reject the expansion. Among Democrats including leaners, 88 percent support the
expansion while 7 percent oppose it. Among independents who do not lean to
a party, 55 percent support the expansion while 28 percent oppose expanding
Medicaid. Seventeen percent of independents and 16 percent of Republicans
including leaners say they do not have an opinion, while 5 percent of Democrats
including leaners are without an opinion.
percent of respondents prefer increasing spending on K-12 public schools, while
39 percent say they prefer reducing property taxes. Sixty-two percent of
Republicans including leaners prefer reducing property taxes, while 32 percent
support increased school spending. Among Democrats including leaners, 18
percent prefer reduced taxes, while 76 percent favor additional spending on
schools. Thirty-six percent of independents prefer lower taxes and 57 percent
prefer increased spending on schools.
across partisan groups support a major increase in state aid for special
education. Overall, 73 percent favor such an increase, with 20 percent opposed.
Among Republicans including leaners, 62 percent support and 30 percent oppose
increased aid for special education. Among Democrats including leaners, 89
percent support and 7 percent oppose more spending for special education. Among
independents, 65 percent support and 25 percent oppose more such spending.
are reluctant to raise taxes and fees for roads and highways. Fifty-two percent
prefer to keep gas taxes and fees where they are, while 42 percent favor
increasing taxes and fees to pay for increased spending on roads. Among
Republicans including leaners, 69 percent oppose a tax and fee increase for
highway spending, while 27 percent favor such an increase. Thirty-six percent
of Democrats including leaners oppose raising taxes and fees to increase
spending on roads, while 58 percent favor it. Among independents, 51 percent
oppose a tax and fee increase and 34 percent support an increase.
percent of respondents say that they support increasing the minimum wage in
Wisconsin, while 39 percent oppose raising it. Thirty-two percent of
Republicans including leaners favor an increase, while 64 percent are opposed.
Among Democrats including leaners, 82 percent favor raising the minimum wage
and 9 percent are opposed. Fifty percent of independents favor an increase and
43 percent are opposed.
are willing to consider releasing some prisoners before they have completed
their full sentence, but support depends on how much of the sentence has been
served. Half the sample was asked if they agreed or disagreed with the
statement, “Once a prisoner has served at least half of their sentence, they
should be released from prison and given a less costly form of punishment if
they can demonstrate that they are no longer a threat to society.” The other
half of those polled were asked a question that specified release after
two-thirds of the sentence was completed. For those asked about release after
half of the sentence was served, 42 percent agreed with early release while 43
percent opposed early release. When the time served was set at two-thirds of
the sentence, 51 percent supported early release and 34 percent were opposed.
percent of voters say they prefer redistricting of legislative and
congressional districts to be done by a nonpartisan commission, while 18
percent prefer redistricting be done by the legislature and governor.
Majorities in each partisan group favor a nonpartisan commission for
redistricting, with 63 percent of Republicans including leaners, 83 percent of
Democrats including leaners, and 76 percent of independents favoring a
nonpartisan commission. Less than 30 percent of each group preferred
redistricting be done by the legislature and governor, with support for the
current system coming from 27 percent of Republicans including leaners, 10
percent of Democrats including leaners, and 10 percent of independents.
percent of respondents say that use of marijuana should be made legal, while
35 percent oppose legalization. When this question was last asked in
September 2014, 46 percent favored legalization and 51 percent were
alternative wording of the question produced similar results. When asked if
marijuana should be “fully legalized and regulated like alcohol,” 58 percent
favored legalization and 36 percent opposed.
percent of voters strongly approve of the limits placed on the governor and
attorney general by the lame-duck session of the legislature, with 16 percent
approving somewhat. Forty-one percent strongly disapprove and 14 percent
disapprove somewhat. Fourteen percent lack an opinion.
former Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to sign the lame duck legislation, 18 percent
strongly approve, 15 percent somewhat approve, 11 percent somewhat disapprove
and 41 percent strongly disapprove. Fourteen percent lack an opinion.
leaving office, Walker said in interviews that he might consider a future run
for office in Wisconsin. Thirty-seven percent say they would like to see him
run for governor or senator in 2022, while 53 percent say they do not want him
between governor and legislature
percent say that Gov. Tony Evers is trying to cooperate with Wisconsin
legislative leaders, while 25 percent say Evers really is not interested in
cooperating. Twenty-eight percent say they do not know.
percent of respondents say Wisconsin legislative leaders are trying to
cooperate with Evers, while 46 percent say the leaders are not really
interested in cooperating. Thirty-two percent say they do not know.
percent of respondents favor building a wall along the border with Mexico,
while 51 percent oppose the wall. In March 2017, when the question was first
asked, 37 percent favored and 59 percent opposed building a wall. When asked
most recently, in August 2018, 41 percent favored and 54 percent opposed
building a wall.
percent of respondents support the partial shutdown of the federal government
over the issue of funding a border wall, with 66 percent opposed to the
shutdown. Fifty-five percent of Republicans including leaners support the
shutdown, while 41 percent oppose it. Five percent of Democrats including
leaners support the shutdown, while 92 percent oppose it. Among independents,
25 percent support the shutdown, with 69 percent opposed.
were asked, “Regardless of how you feel about the shutdown, who do you think is
most responsible for it?” Forty-three percent say Trump, 7 percent say
Republicans in Congress, 34 percent say Democrats in Congress and 14 percent
say all are equally responsible.
of President Trump
percent approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 52 percent
disapprove. When last asked October 24-28, 2018, 47 percent approved and 50
percent say the phrase “cares about people like me” describes Trump, while 55
percent say this does not describe him. When last asked in August 2018, 39
percent said “cares about people like me” described Trump and 57 percent said
it did not.
percent say “honest” describes Trump, while 62 percent say this does not
describe him. When last asked in June 2017, 35 percent said “honest” described
Trump and 59 percent said it did not.
percent say Trump has changed the Republican party for the better, 44 percent
say he has changed it for the worse, and 31 percent say he has not changed the
party either way. In late October 2018, 28 percent said he had changed the
party for the better, 47 percent said he had changed it for the worse, and 21
percent said he had not changed the party either way.
if there is “enough cause right now” for Congress to begin hearings on whether
to impeach Trump, 33 percent say there is enough cause and 59 percent say there
is not enough cause to begin hearings.
all registered voters, 27 percent say they would definitely vote to reelect
Trump if the 2020 elections were held today, 12 percent say they would probably
vote to reelect him. Eight percent would probably vote for someone else and 49
percent would definitely vote for someone else.
presidential primary outlook
and independents were asked about eight announced and potential candidates for
the Democratic presidential nomination. With more than a year to go until the
Wisconsin presidential primary, many of these candidates are little known to
each candidate, respondents were asked if this would be a top choice for them,
an acceptable choice, someone they would not support, or if they did not know
enough about them yet. The results are shown in Table 1.
Opinion of potential Democratic candidates
of the state
percent of Wisconsin registered voters see the state as headed in the right
direction, while 33 percent think the state is off on the wrong track. In late
October 2018, 55 percent said right direction and 40 percent said wrong track.
the first Marquette Law School Poll since he took office, Evers’ job approval
among registered voters stands at 39 percent, with 22 percent disapproving and
38 percent saying they do not have an opinion.
Wisconsin legislature has a 52-percent approval rating, with 31 percent
disapproval and 16 percent without an opinion.
is viewed favorably by 41 percent and unfavorably by 24 percent. Another 28
percent say they have not heard enough about him, and 6 percent say they do not
Speaker Robin Vos is viewed favorably by 13 percent and unfavorably by 17
percent, with 59 percent saying they have not heard enough about him and 11
percent saying they do not know.
Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is viewed favorably by 24 percent and
unfavorably by 19 percent, with 47 percent saying they have not heard enough
about him and 10 percent saying they do not know.
Attorney General Josh Kaul, 16 percent have a favorable view and 7 percent have
an unfavorable view. Sixty-seven percent say they have not heard enough about
him and 10 percent say they do not know.
Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, the numbers are 16 percent favorable, 7
percent unfavorable, 67 percent who say they have not heard enough about him,
and 9 percent who say they do not know.
the Marquette Law School Poll
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, January 16-20, 2019. The margin of error is +/-3.9
percentage points for the full sample.
issue questions were asked of half the sample. Questions on Form A have a
sample size of 399 and a margin of error of +/- 5.5 percentage points.
Questions on Form B have a sample size of 401 and a margin of error of +/- 5.5
percentage points. Form A items include marijuana legalization, early prison
release after half of sentence, possible Walker candidacy in 2022, preference
for property tax cuts or more school spending, and preference for holding gas
tax and fees at current level or increasing them to pay for roads. Form B items
include marijuana legalization (with regulation like alcohol), early prison
release after two-thirds of sentence, expansion of Medicaid, minimum wage
increase and an increase in aid for special education.
partisan makeup of the sample, including those who lean to a party, is 45
percent Republican, 43 percent Democratic and 11 percent independent. The
long-term total for the previous 50 statewide Marquette polls, with 44,952
respondents, is 43 percent Republican and 47 percent Democratic, with 9 percent
independent. The partisan makeup of the current sample, excluding those who
lean to a party, is 29 percent Republican, 28 percent Democratic and 42
percent independent, compared to the long-term totals of 28 percent
Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 40 percent independent.
entire questionnaire, methodology statement, full results and breakdowns by
demographic groups are available at law.marquette.edu/poll/results-and-data.