New Marquette Law School Poll finds Evers, Baldwin with leads among Wisconsin voters

MILWAUKEE — A new Marquette Law School Poll of Wisconsin voters finds Democrat Tony Evers with 49 percent support and incumbent Republican Scott Walker with 44 percent support among likely voters in the state’s race for governor. Libertarian candidate Phil Anderson receives 6 percent. Among likely voters, those who say they are certain to vote in the November election, only 1 percent say they lack a preference or do not lean to a candidate. In the previous Marquette Law School Poll conducted in August, the race for governor was tied among likely voters, with Evers at 46 percent, Walker at 46 percent and Anderson with 6 percent.

In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Democrat Tammy Baldwin leads among likely voters with 53 percent, while 42 percent support Republican Leah Vukmir and 4 percent say they lack a preference or do not lean toward a candidate. In August, the race was closer, with Baldwin receiving 49 percent and Vukmir 47 percent.

In the race for attorney general, incumbent Republican Brad Schimel is the choice of 48 percent and Democrat Josh Kaul is the choice of 41 percent of likely voters. Ten percent lack a preference in this race. This is the first time this year’s attorney general race has been measured by the Marquette poll.

Among all registered voters surveyed in the poll, Evers receives 47 percent support, Walker receives 43 percent and Anderson 7 percent in the race for governor.

Among all registered voters in the Senate race, Baldwin receives 52 percent support and Vukmir 40 percent.

For attorney general, registered voters give Schimel 47 percent support and Kaul 40 percent.

The poll was conducted Sept. 12-16, 2018. The sample includes 800 registered voters in Wisconsin interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points. For likely voters, the sample size is 614 and the margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points.

Eight issue questions were asked of half the sample. The state issues have a sample size of 406 and a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points. The national issues have a sample size of 394 and a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points. The half-sample items are listed at the end of this release.

Favorability and awareness of candidates

The non-incumbent candidates are substantially less well-known than the incumbents, though voters are becoming more familiar with the candidates over time.

Awareness of Evers and Vukmir has increased among likely voters since the Marquette Law School Poll in August. Kaul and Anderson are far behind in name recognition. Results for September and August are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Favorability and awareness of candidates, Sept. and Aug., among likely voters

Sept:Fav Sept:Unfav Sept:Not Heard/DK Aug:Fav Aug:Unfav Aug:Not Heard/DK
Evers 40 29 31 38 27 35
Vukmir 26 38 36 30 29 41
Kaul 7 5 87 4 3 92
Anderson 4 4 92 4 4 91
Walker 45 52 2 49 47 4
Baldwin 48 40 12 46 42 11
Schimel 24 20 56 26 16 57

Thirty-one percent of likely voters lack an opinion of Evers, down from 35 percent in August. For Vukmir, 36 percent lack an opinion now, compared to 41 percent in August.

Eighty-seven percent are unable to give an opinion of Kaul in September, compared to 92 percent who could not do so in August.

For Anderson, 92 percent could not give an opinion in September, while 91 percent could not do so in August.

Walker is the best known among all the candidates, with 2 percent lacking an opinion in September and 4 percent without an opinion in August.

Baldwin is not rated by 12 percent in September and by 11 percent in August.

Schimel is much less well-known than the other incumbents, with 56 percent in September unable to rate him and 57 percent in August unable to do so.

Among likely voters, Evers is viewed positively by 40 percent and unfavorably by 29 percent in September. Vukmir is seen favorably by 26 percent and unfavorably by 38 percent. Kaul is seen favorably by 7 percent and unfavorably by 5 percent.

Anderson is seen favorably by 4 percent and unfavorably by 4 percent.

Walker’s favorable rating is 45 percent and his unfavorable is 52 percent. For Baldwin, 48 percent have a favorable opinion and 40 percent unfavorable. Schimel is seen favorably by 24 percent with 20 percent unfavorable.

Voting groups

The electorate has become increasingly segmented by gender and education level among white voters. Differences by race have been longer-standing. Table 2 shows preference for governor among white males and females by education, and for non-whites or Hispanic likely voters.

Table 2: Vote for governor by race, gender, and education among likely voters

White, Male, Noncollege White, Female, Noncollege White, Male, College White, Female, College Nonwhite or Hispanic
Evers 40 48 49 62 49
Walker 52 46 45 36 37
Anderson 6 4 5 1 12

Evers receives his strongest support from white, female college graduates, while Walker does best with white, male non-college graduates.

Partisans are strongly supporting their party’s candidate, but independents are currently favoring Evers, as shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Vote for governor by Party ID among likely voters

Rep Dem Ind
Evers 4 93 52
Walker 94 3 32
Anderson 2 3 13

Preferences in the Senate race by race, gender, and education are shown in Table 4. Baldwin does best with white, female college graduates but also holds a substantial advantage among non-college white females. White college males are evenly divided, and Vukmir has a substantial advantage with non-college white males.

Table 4: Vote for Senate by race, gender, and education among likely voters

White, Male, Noncollege White, Female, Noncollege White, Male, College White, Female, College Nonwhite or Hispanic
Baldwin 41 57 48 64 59
Vukmir 54 40 48 30 34

The senate vote by party is shown in Table 5. Partisan alignments are strong, though Vukmir’s support among Republicans is not as strong as Baldwin’s is among Democrats. Independents favor Baldwin.

Table 5: Vote for senate by party ID among likely voters

Rep Dem Ind
Baldwin 9 97 54
Vukmir 86 2 38

In the attorney general’s race, the results are shown in Table 6 and Table 7. Schimel, holds a lead among non-college white males and females but also among white college males and among non-whites. Kaul leads among white college females.

Table 6: Vote for attorney general by race, gender, and education among likely voters

White, Male, Noncollege White, Female, Noncollege White, Male, College White, Female, College Nonwhite or Hispanic
Kaul 35 39 40 50 42
Schimel 51 50 52 40 46

Table 7: Vote for attorney general by party ID among likely voters

Rep Dem Ind
Kaul 6 80 36
Schimel 90 11 44

Schimel holds 90 percent of Republican support while Kaul receives support from 80 percent of Democrats. Independents lean to Schimel. Both candidates for attorney general are less well-known than the gubernatorial and senate candidates, which may change as the election nears.

State issues among registered voters

Fifty percent of Wisconsin registered voters see the state as headed in the right direction while 47 percent think the state is off on the wrong track. In August, 53 percent said right direction and 41 percent said wrong track. In September 2014, 54 percent said the state was headed in the right direction and 42 percent said it was on the wrong track.

Thirty-one percent think the state budget is in better shape than a few years ago, while 28 percent say it is about the same and 29 percent say the budget is in worse shape. In September 2014, 41 percent said the budget was in better shape, 25 percent said it was about the same and 27 percent said the budget was in worse shape. About twice as many people now, 12 percent, say they don’t know how the budget is doing compared to 6 percent in September 2014.

Walker’s job approval among registered voters stands at 44 percent, with 50 disapproving. The trend in approval in 2018 is shown in Table 8. Among likely voters, 46 percent approve and 51 percent disapprove. In September 2014, 49 percent approved and 46 percent disapproved among registered voters.

Table 8: Scott Walker job approval trend among registered voters

Approve Disapprove Don’t know
September 2018 44 50 5
August 2018 48 45 6
July 2018 47 45 7
June 2018 49 47 3

Schools

A majority of registered voters are satisfied with the job public schools are doing in their community, with 18 percent saying they are very satisfied and 46 percent saying satisfied. Seventeen percent say they are dissatisfied and 8 percent are very dissatisfied.

Satisfaction with public schools is the lowest in the city of Milwaukee, where 46 percent say they are either very satisfied or satisfied while 48 percent are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. In each of the other four regions of the state, more than 60 percent say they are very satisfied or satisfied while less than 30 percent in each region are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. Results by region are shown in Table 9.

Table 9: School satisfaction by region among registered voters

MKE City Rest of MKE area Madison Green Bay North & West
Very satisfied 8 18 17 14 23
Satisfied 38 43 47 50 49
Dissatisfied 29 19 14 18 13
Very dissatisfied 19 8 11 4 5

Voters say they would rather increase spending on public schools than reduce property taxes by a 57 percent to 38 percent margin. Support for additional spending on public schools has increased since the question was first asked in 2013. The full trend on this issue is shown in Table 10.

Table 10: Trend in property tax vs school spending opinion, 2013-2018 among registered voters

Cut property taxes Increase school spending
3/11-13/13 49 46
5/6-9/13 49 46
4/7-10/15 40 54
2/25-3/1/18 33 63
6/13-17/18 35 59
8/15-19/18 32 61
9/12-16/18 38 57

Roads

Five percent of registered voters say roads where they live are in excellent condition, 30 percent say good condition, 32 percent say fair condition, and 32 percent say poor condition.

There are differences between the southern and northern parts of the state in opinion of roads, with the more negative views in the southern part of the state. Note: A data coding error in the July poll reversed the results by region. The corrected results for July are shown in Table 11. Table 12 gives the results for the September poll.

Table 11: Condition of roads by region in July poll (corrected) among registered voters

South North
Excellent 6 3
Good 28 45
Fair 41 30
Poor 25 22

Table 12: Condition of roads by region in September poll among registered voters

South North
Excellent 4 7
Good 26 35
Fair 34 29
Poor 36 28

Foxconn

Forty-eight percent of registered voters think the state is paying more than the Foxconn plant is worth, while 39 percent think the plant will provide at least as much value as the state is investing in the plant. Thirteen percent say they don’t know if the plant will be worth it or not. In the August poll, 44 percent said the state was paying too much and 41 percent said it was worth it.

A 58 percent majority of registered voters statewide believe the Foxconn plant will substantially improve the economy of the greater Milwaukee area, while 31 percent do not think it will and 11 percent say they don’t know. In the August poll, 61 percent said the Milwaukee area would benefit while 27 percent did not think so.

When asked if businesses where the respondent lives will benefit from Foxconn, 33 percent say businesses will benefit directly from the Foxconn plant, while 54 percent say their local businesses will not benefit and 14 percent don’t know. In the August poll 32 percent said their local businesses would benefit, while 61 percent did not think so.

Environment vs. economic growth

Fifty-nine percent say that protection of the environment should be given priority even at the risk of curbing economic growth. Twenty-seven percent would give economic growth priority even if the environment suffers to some extent.

National issues

Forty-seven percent of registered voters say they have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, while 45 percent have an unfavorable view.

Asked what should be done about the ACA/Obamacare health reform, 4 percent say keep the law as it is, 55 percent say keep and improve the law, 25 percent say repeal and replace the health reform law and 10 percent say the law should be repealed and not replaced. Opinion on the health reform law has changed little since June 2017, when 6 percent said keep as the law, 54 percent said improve it, 27 percent said repeal and replace and 7 percent said repeal and not replace the law.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has a 29 percent favorable rating while 29 percent have an unfavorable view and 41 percent are not able to give a rating. In July, when last asked, 27 percent gave a favorable rating while 22 percent had an unfavorable view and 50 percent were unable to rate him. All but 152 voter interviews for the poll were completed before Sunday, when details emerged of an alleged sexual assault when Kavanaugh was in high school.

Tariffs and free trade

Thirty-one percent think increased tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will improve the U.S. economy while 52 percent think tariffs will hurt the economy. Seventeen percent say they don’t know. In the August poll, 34 percent said tariffs would improve the economy while 48 percent said tariffs would hurt the economy.

Partisan differences in views of tariffs are sharp, with 59 percent of Republicans saying tariffs are good for the U.S. economy, 20 percent saying they are bad for the economy and 20 saying they don’t know. A large majority of Democrats say tariffs are bad for the economy and a majority of independents see tariffs as a bad thing for the economy, as shown in Table 13.

Table 13: View of tariffs by Party ID among registered voters

Rep Dem Ind
Good for Econ 59 8 28
Bad for Econ 20 76 56
DK 20 16 16

On free trade agreements in general, 58 percent think these agreements have been a good thing for the U.S. economy, while 25 percent think they have been bad for the economy. Sixteen percent say they don’t know. In August, 55 percent said free trade has been good for the economy while 29 percent said free trade has been bad for the economy, while fourteen percent said they didn’t know.

Views of abortion remain close to their long-term averages in polling since 2012, with 26 percent saying abortion should be legal in all cases, 36 percent saying legal in most cases, 21 percent illegal in most cases and 9 percent saying it should be illegal in all cases. The long-term average over eight statewide polls is 26 percent legal in all cases, 34 percent legal in most, 23 percent illegal in most and 12 percent saying illegal in all cases.

There has been an increase in support for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the years since 2012. Sixty-eight percent say undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. and eventually apply for citizenship, 15 percent say undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay as temporary guest workers but with no path to citizenship and 14 percent say such immigrants should be required to leave the country. When first asked in September 2012, 51 percent supported a path to citizenship, 23 percent favored a guest worker status and 20 percent preferred requiring undocumented immigrants to leave.

Support for a path to citizenship has increased across each party identification group. Table 14 shows preferences on this issue by party among registered voters in the current poll, and Table 15 shows how partisans divided in September 2012.

Table 14: Policy for undocumented immigrants by party ID September 2018 among registered voters

Rep Dem Ind
Path to citizenship 43 90 69
Guest worker 26 7 14
Leave US 27 0 16
DK 4 3 1

Table 15: Policy for undocumented immigrants by party ID September 2012 among registered voters

Rep Dem Ind
Path to citizenship 36 64 51
Guest worker 29 19 24
Leave US 31 14 19
DK 3 4 4

Views of President Trump

In the new poll results, President Donald Trump has a 42 percent approval rating, with 54 percent disapproving. In the previous Marquette Law School poll in August, his approval was 45 percent with 51 percent disapproving. Partisans are deeply divided on Trump’s job performance, as shown in Table 16.

Table 16: Trump job approval by party ID among registered voters

Rep Dem Ind
Approve 81 4 41
Disapprove 14 94 54
DK 4 1 4

Asked if Trump has changed the Republican party—and if so, how—23 percent say he has changed it for the better, 49 percent say he has changed it for the worse and 23 percent say he hasn’t changed it much either way.

Partisans have differing views of Trump’s effect on his party, as seen in Table 17.

Table 17: How Trump has changed GOP by party ID among registered voters

Rep Dem Ind
For better 51 3 17
For worse 13 85 49
Not changed 29 11 31
DK 6 2 3

There are some divisions among Republican voters. Asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable view of the late Sen. John McCain, among all registered voters, 70 percent said favorable while 19 percent had an unfavorable view. When broken down by party identification in Table 18, more Democrats and independents had a favorable view of the 2008 Republican presidential nominee than did Republicans.

Table 18: Opinion of John McCain by party ID among registered voters

Rep Dem Ind
Favorable 59 85 65
Unfavorable 28 10 20
Not heard/DK 11 5 15

Among Republicans with a favorable view of McCain, Trump’s approval rating is 72 percent while among those with an unfavorable view of McCain it is 93 percent. A smaller difference also appears for approval of Walker. Among those Republicans with a favorable view of McCain, Walker’s approval rating is 85 percent, while among those with an unfavorable view of McCain it is 94 percent.

Enthusiasm for voting

Overall, 62 percent of registered voters say they are very enthusiastic about voting in this year’s elections, with 24 percent somewhat enthusiastic and 13 percent either not very or not at all enthusiastic.

Among Republicans, 64 percent are very enthusiastic, while among Democrats 75 percent are. Among independents, 49 percent say they are very enthusiastic about voting this year. In August, 69 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats were very enthusiastic, along with 56 percent of independents.

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 Sept. 12-16, 2018. The margin of error is +/-4 percentage points for the full sample.

For likely voters, the sample size is 614 and the margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points.

Eight issue questions were asked of half the sample. The state issues have a sample size of 406 and a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points. The national issues have a sample size of 394 and a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points. State half-sample issues include Foxconn (3 items) and priority of the environment or economic growth. Half-sample national issues involve tariffs and free trade, how to deal with undocumented immigrants and preference for abortion policy.

The partisan makeup of the sample, including those who lean to a party, is 45 percent Republican, 46 percent Democratic and 8 percent independent. The long-term total for the previous 47 statewide Marquette polls, with 41,752 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 32 percent Republican, 33 percent Democratic and 34 percent independent, compared to the long-term totals of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 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 tight races for Wisconsin Governor, U.S. Senate seat

MILWAUKEE — A new Marquette Law School Poll of Wisconsin voters finds a tight race for governor following last week’s statewide primary elections. Among likely voters (that is, those who say they are certain to vote), incumbent Republican Scott Walker receives 46 percent, Democrat Tony Evers receives 46 percent and Libertarian Phil Anderson 6 percent. Only 2 percent say they lack a preference or do not lean to a candidate.

Among likely voters in the race for the Wisconsin U.S. Senate seat on the ballot in November, 49 percent support the incumbent, Democrat Tammy Baldwin, and 47 percent support Republican Leah Vukmir, while 3 percent say they lack a preference or do not lean toward a candidate.

Among all registered voters surveyed in the poll, the race for governor remains tight, with Walker at 46 percent, Evers at 44 percent and Anderson with 7 percent.

There is a wider margin among all registered voters in the Senate race, with Baldwin receiving 51 percent and Vukmir 43 percent.

Awareness of Evers and Vukmir has increased among registered voters since the last Marquette Law School Poll in July. Forty-six percent lack an opinion of Evers, down from 60 percent in July. For Vukmir, 48 percent lack an opinion now, compared to 66 percent in July.

Among likely voters only, 35 percent lack an opinion of Evers and 41 percent lack an opinion of Vukmir.

Evers is viewed favorably among 38 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 27 percent. Among all registered voters 31 percent have a favorable view and 23 percent an unfavorable opinion.

Vukmir has a 30 percent favorable rating and a 29 percent unfavorable rating among likely voters while among registered voters 25 percent rate her favorably and 26 percent rate her unfavorably.

Few respondents lack opinions of the incumbents. Among all registered voters, 5 percent lack an opinion of Walker and 17 percent have no opinion of Baldwin. For likely voters, 4 percent have no opinion of Walker and 11 percent have no opinion of Baldwin.

Walker is viewed favorably among 49 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 47 percent. Among all registered voters 49 percent have a favorable view and 45 percent an unfavorable opinion.

Baldwin has a 46 percent favorable rating and a 42 percent unfavorable rating among likely voters while among registered voters 43 percent rate her favorably and 40 percent rate her unfavorably.

The poll was conducted August 15-19, 2018. The sample included 800 registered voters in Wisconsin interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points. For likely voters the sample size is 601, and the margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Ten issue questions were asked of half the sample. The state issues have a sample size of 411 and a margin of error of +/- 5.6 percentage points. The national issues have a sample size of 389 and a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points. The half-sample items are listed at the end of this release.

Ranking state priorities

When asked the most important issue facing the state, 24 percent of registered voters pick jobs and the economy, 22 percent choose K-12 education and 19 percent say health coverage is their most important issue. No other issue reached double digits as “the most important,” although the condition of roads ranked fourth, with 9 percent of registered voters selecting it.

When voters were asked for their second-most-important issue, the condition of roads rose to the top three most-frequent answers, with K-12 education first at 18 percent, jobs and the economy at 17 percent, the condition of roads at 16 percent and health coverage at 15 percent.

The full set of the-most-important-issue responses is shown in Table 1.

Table 1: The most important issue facing Wisconsin

Most important 2nd most important 1st or 2nd
Jobs and the economy 24 17 41
K-12 education 22 18 40
Health coverage 19 15 34
Condition of state roads, highways and bridges 9 16 25
Something else not on list 9 7 16
Cutting taxes 6 9 15
Prisons and the criminal justice system 6 8 14
State aid to local government 1 5 6
The UW System 2 4 6
Don’t know 2 2 4
Refused 0 0 0

Fifty-three percent of Wisconsin registered voters see the state as headed in the right direction while 41 percent think the state is off on the wrong track. In July, 52 percent said right direction and 42 percent said wrong track.

Walker’s job approval among registered voters stands at 48 percent, with 45 disapproving. The trend in approval in 2018 is shown in Table 2. Among likely voters, 50 percent approve and 47 percent disapprove.

 

Table 2: Scott Walker Job Approval Trend in 2018 Among Registered Voters

Approve Disapprove Don’t know
August 2018 48 45 6
July 2018 47 45 7
June 2018 49 47 3
March 2018 47 47 6

Schools

Asked if they think the state’s public schools are in better, the same or worse shape now than they were a few years ago, 15 percent say better shape now, 34 percent say about the same and 44 percent say schools are in worse shape now.

Voters say they would rather increase spending on public schools than reduce property taxes, by a 61 percent to 32 percent margin. In June, 59 percent preferred higher school spending to 35 percent who preferred lower property taxes. Opinion on this has shifted since the question was first asked in March 2013, when 49 percent preferred to reduce property taxes while 46 percent favored increased spending for public schools. The full trend on this issue is shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Trend in property tax vs school spending opinion, 2013-2018

Cut property taxes Increase school spending
3/11-13/13 49 46
5/6-9/13 49 46
4/7-10/15 40 54
2/25-3/1/18 33 63
6/13-17/18 35 59
8/15-19/18 32 61

Prisons

Thirty-five percent of voters say Walker has not paid enough attention to the issues of prisoner abuse at the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake juvenile prisons, while 12 percent say he has done all he should on this issue. A substantial 49 percent say they have not heard enough about the issue to have an opinion.

A majority (73 percent) say they would favor eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of non-violent offenses in order to allow judges to make sentencing decisions on a case-by-case basis. Nineteen percent oppose such a change.

Opinion is more closely divided on mandatory minimum sentences for violent offenders, with 50 percent in favor of eliminating mandatory sentences while 40 percent prefer to continue mandatory sentences.

Eighty-seven percent support expanding job training programs for inmates while in prison, while 9 percent are opposed.

Ninety percent say the state should help offenders released from prison find jobs, while 6 percent are opposed to this.

Views of President Trump

President Trump has a 45 percent approval rating with 51 percent disapproving among registered voters. In the previous Marquette Law School poll, in July, his approval was 42 percent with 50 percent disapproving. Partisans are deeply divided on Trump’s job performance.

Table 4: Trump job approval by party ID

Rep Dem Ind
Approve 87 4 41
Disapprove 9 94 52
Don’t know 3 2 3

How has Trump changed the GOP: for better or worse?

Asked if Trump has changed the Republican party—and if so, how—26 percent say he has changed it for the better, while 44 percent say he has changed it for the worse and 23 percent say he hasn’t changed it much either way.

Partisans have differing views of Trump’s effect on his party.

Table 5: How Trump has changed GOP by party ID

Rep Dem Ind
For better 55 4 20
For worse 11 81 44
Not changed 28 13 27
Don’t know 6 3 9

Does Trump keep promises, care about you?

Trump is seen as keeping his campaign promises by 55 percent of respondents and as not having done so by 41 percent, with 4 percent saying they don’t know.

Partisan differences are shown in Table 6.

Table 6: Is Trump keeping promises by party ID

Rep Dem Ind
Is keeping 90 23 51
Is not keeping 10 70 44

Thirty-nine percent of respondents say that Trump cares about people like them, while 57 percent say he does not. Differences by party are shown in Table 7.

Table 7: Does Trump care about people like you by party ID

Rep Dem Ind
Cares 80 5 33
Does not care 18 92 62

Trump approval on immigration and Russia

On Trump’s handling of the issue of immigration, 41 percent approve while 54 percent disapprove.

Forty-one percent favor building a wall along the Mexico border while 54 percent oppose a wall. Four percent say they don’t know.

On Trump’s handling of relations with Russia, 37 percent approve while 52 percent disapprove.

The state of political conversations

Forty percent of Wisconsin registered voters say they talk about politics with family and friends more than once a week, and an additional 24 percent say they have such conversations about once a week. Fourteen percent say they talk politics once or twice a month, 13 percent talk a few times a year and 9 percent never talk about politics with family and friends.

Conversations about politics with coworkers are often avoided altogether, with 46 percent saying they never have these conversations and 11 percent saying they do so only once or twice a year. Fourteen percent talk about politics with coworkers more than once a week, and an additional 13 percent do so about once a week. Twelve percent say they talk politics with coworkers once or twice a month

Contrary to the idea that voters today live in “information bubbles,” hearing only opinions that agree with their own views, respondents report that their political conversations include a substantial mix of opinions. In talking to family and friends, 48 percent say they talk to about an equal mix of people with liberal and conservative views, and 41 percent say their conversations are an equal mix of pro-Democratic and pro-Republican opinions.

Seven percent say the family and friends they talk with are almost all liberal, 15 percent say they are mostly liberal, 19 percent say they are mostly conservative and 10 percent say they talk almost exclusively to conservatives.

In partisan terms, 13 percent say the family and friends they talk with are almost all Democrats, 15 percent say they are mostly Democrats, 13 percent say they are mostly Republican and 14 percent say they talk entirely with Republicans.

Thirty-one percent of respondents say they have tried to convince someone to vote for or against a particular candidate. Eighteen percent say there is someone they have stopped talking to due to political disagreements. When asked the week before the recall election in 2012, 35 percent said they had stopped talking to someone.

Marijuana legalization

Sixty-one percent say marijuana should be fully legalized and regulated like alcohol while 36 percent oppose legalization. When previously asked in July 2016, 59 percent supported legalization and 39 percent were opposed.

Foxconn

Forty-four percent think the state is paying more than the Foxconn plant is worth, while 41 percent think the plant will provide at least as much value as the state is investing in the plant. Fifteen percent say they don’t know if the plant will be worth it or not. In the July poll, 46 percent said the state was paying too much and 39 percent said it would provide at least as much value as the state was investing.

A majority (61 percent) of registered voters statewide believe the Foxconn plant will substantially improve the economy of the greater Milwaukee area, while 27 percent do not think it will and 11 percent say they don’t know. In the July poll, 53 percent said the Milwaukee area would benefit while 33 percent did not think so.

When asked if businesses where the respondent lives will benefit from Foxconn, 32 percent say businesses will benefit directly from the Foxconn plant, while 61 percent say their local businesses will not benefit and 7 percent don’t know. In the July poll, 30 percent said their local businesses would benefit, while 58 percent did not think so.

Effects of tariffs and of trade agreements

Thirty-four percent think increased tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will improve the U.S. economy while 48 percent think tariffs will hurt the economy. Seventeen percent say they don’t know. In the July poll, 24 percent said tariffs would improve the economy while 55 percent said tariffs would hurt the economy.

Partisan differences in views of tariffs are sharp, with a majority (60 percent) of Republicans saying tariffs are good for the U.S. economy, 19 percent saying they are bad for the economy and 22 saying they don’t know. A large majority of Democrats say tariffs are bad for the economy and a majority of independents see tariffs as a bad thing for the economy.

Table 8: View of tariffs by party ID

Rep Dem Ind
Good for Econ 60 6 33
Bad for Econ 19 74 55
Don’t know 22 21 11

On free trade agreements in general, 55 percent think these agreements have been a good thing for the U.S. economy, while 29 percent think they have been bad for the economy. Fourteen percent say they don’t know.

The Mueller investigation and Russian interference

Confidence in the Mueller investigation’s ability to be fair and impartial has become more polarized since June 2017, with growth in both “a great deal of confidence” and in “no confidence at all” categories. Twenty-eight percent say they have a great deal of confidence while 29 percent say they have no confidence in the investigation. The trend in confidence since June of 2017 is shown in Table 5.

 

Table 9: Confidence in Mueller Investigation Trend, 2017-2018

A great deal Some Only a little No confidence at all Don’t know
August 2018 28 20 14 29 7
June 2018 29 18 15 32 5
March 2018 24 22 20 23 10
June 2017 20 31 17 21 11

In this poll, 5 percent of Republicans have a great deal of confidence in the Mueller investigation while 53 percent have none at all. Among Democrats, 52 percent have a great deal of confidence while 7 percent have none at all. Thirty percent of independents have a great deal of confidence while 26 percent have none at all.

Wisconsin voters say they are very (35 percent) or somewhat (16 percent) concerned about possible Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election, while 16 percent are not too concerned and 31 percent are not concerned at all.

 

Table 9: Concern over Russia interference in 2016 election Trend, 2017-2018

Very concerned Somewhat concerned Not too concerned Not at all concerned Don’t know
August 2018 35 16 16 31 1
March 2018 33 22 19 26 0
March 2017 30 20 18 30 2

Republicans feel less concerned about Russian influence, with 53 percent not at all concerned, 23 percent not too concerned, 15 percent somewhat concerned and 9 percent very concerned. Among Democrats there is more concern, with 63 percent very concerned, 25 percent somewhat concerned, 5 percent not too concerned and 6 percent very concerned. Independents fall in between, with very concerned (38 percent), somewhat concerned (12 percent), not too concerned (18 percent) and not at all concerned (31 percent).

Enthusiasm for voting

Overall, 63 percent of registered voters say they are very enthusiastic about voting in this year’s elections, with 24 percent somewhat enthusiastic and 12 percent either not very or not at all enthusiastic.

Among Republicans, 69 percent are very enthusiastic, while among Democrats 67 percent are. Among independents, 56 percent say they are very enthusiastic about voting this year. In the July poll, 62 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of Democrats were very enthusiastic, as were 51 percent of independents.

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, August 15-19, 2018. The margin of error is +/-4 percentage points for the full sample.

For likely voters the sample size is 601 and the margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Ten issue questions were asked of half the sample. The state issues have a sample size of 411 and a margin of error of +/- 5.6 percentage points. The national issues have a sample size of 389 and a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points. State half-sample issues include Foxconn (3 items), priority for property tax cuts or public schools, and marijuana legalization. Half-sample national issues are tariffs, free trade, confidence in the Mueller investigation, concern over Russian interference in the 2016 election, and whether to build a wall along the Mexican border.

The 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 46 statewide Marquette polls, with 40,952 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 31 percent Republican, 29 percent Democratic and 38 percent independent, compared to the long-term totals of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 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 roughly one in three Wisconsin voters still undecided one month before primaries

MILWAUKEE — A new Marquette Law School Poll finds that, with four weeks to go until the Wisconsin primary elections, approximately one in three voters in the state remains undecided on candidates. In the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, 30 percent of primary voters are undecided. Among Democratic primary voters, 38 percent say that they don’t know which of 8 candidates they will support for the gubernatorial nomination.

The numbers are little changed from the previous poll, conducted June 13-17, where in these races 30 percent of Republican primary voters and 34 percent of Democratic voters were undecided on the candidates.

These non-incumbent candidates are not yet well known to registered voters in Wisconsin. Two-thirds of registered voters are unable to say if they have a favorable or unfavorable view of the Republican Senate candidates, although the candidates are somewhat better-known among Republicans and among Republican primary voters. Nonetheless, even among primary voters, more than half lack an opinion of either candidate. Table 1 gives results for all registered voters, for those who say they are Republicans or lean to the Republican party, and for those who say they will vote in the Republican primary.

Table 1: percentage unable to give favorable or unfavorable opinion of Republican candidates

  All Reg. Voters Rep & Lean Rep Rep Primary Voters
Kevin Nicholson 69 61 56
Leah Vukmir 66 58 51

With the Democratic gubernatorial candidates, the percentage of respondents saying they haven’t heard enough or don’t know if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of each candidate is shown in Table 2. The Democratic candidates are only a little better known, if at all, among fellow Democrats or among Democratic primary voters than among all registered voters.

Table 2: percentage unable to give favorable or unfavorable opinion of Democratic candidates

  All Reg. Voters Dem & Lean Dem Dem Primary Voters
Tony Evers 60 54 51
Matt Flynn 74 77 78
Mike McCabe 84 86 84
Mahlon Mitchell 85 86 82
Josh Pade 93 96 95
Kelda Roys 89 88 87
Paul Soglin 71 69 65
Kathleen Vinehout 75 71 69

In contrast, relatively few registered voters lack an opinion of the incumbents, with 6 percent lacking an opinion of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and 18 percent lacking an opinion of Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Primary preferences

The Republican primary for U.S. Senate has tightened since March, with Vukmir now at 34 percent and Nicholson at 32 percent. Nicholson held an advantage in the March and June polls, as shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Republican senate primary

  Feb-March June July
Kevin Nicholson 28 37 32
Leah Vukmir 19 32 34

Among those who say they will vote in the Democratic primary for governor, Evers receives 31 percent of the vote, while all other candidates are in single digits, as shown in Table 4.

Table 4: Democratic gubernatorial primary

  Feb-March June July
Tony Evers 18 25 31
Matt Flynn 7 7 5
Mike McCabe 6 7 3
Mahlon Mitchell 4 4 6
Josh Pade NA 1 0
Kelda Roys 0 2 3
Paul Soglin 9 7 4
Kathleen Vinehout 5 5 6

Evers’ percentage has increased from 18 percent in the March poll to 25 percent in June and to 31 percent in the current poll.

The poll was conducted July 11-15, 2018. The sample included 800 registered voters in Wisconsin, interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points. For the Democratic primary, the sample size is 305 and the margin of error is +/- 6.6 percentage points. For the Republican primary, the sample size is 266 and the margin of error is +/- 7 percentage points.

Ten issue questions were asked of half the sample and have a margin of error of +/- 5.9 percentage points. The half-sample items are listed at the end of this release.

Effects of trade tariffs

Twenty-four percent think increased tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will improve the U.S. economy, while 55 percent think tariffs will hurt the economy. Twenty-one percent say they don’t know. In the June poll, twenty-nine percent said tariffs would improve the economy, while 55 percent said tariffs would hurt the economy.

Partisan differences in views of tariffs are sharp, with a plurality (44 percent) of Republicans saying tariffs are good for the U.S. economy, while 29 percent say they are bad for the economy and 26 percent say they don’t know. A large majority of Democrats say tariffs are bad for the economy, as do a majority of independents.

Table 5: view of tariffs by Party ID

  Rep Dem Ind
Good for Econ 44 7 22
Bad for Econ 29 79 54
Don’t know 26 14 24

Harley-Davidson Motorcycles recently announced that some production would be moved out of the U.S. due to European tariffs. Thirty-seven percent say the increased European tariffs are the reason Harley-Davidson is moving some production out of the U.S., while 47 percent say that production would have left the U.S. regardless of tariff issues. There is a sharp partisan split on views of the impact of tariffs, with 21 percent of Republicans saying the production change was due to tariffs, while 67 percent say the change would have happened anyway. Among Democrats, 56 percent say the shift is due to tariffs, while 31 percent say production would have left the U.S. in any case. Independents fall between the partisans, with a plurality saying production would have moved in any case.

Table 6: reason for Harley production move, by party ID

  Rep Dem Ind
Due to tariffs 21 56 31
Would move in any case 67 31 40
Don’t know 12 13 28

State of the state and incumbent ratings

Fifty-two percent of Wisconsin voters see the state as headed in the right direction, while 42 percent think the state is off on the wrong track. This is unchanged since June.

Walker’s job approval stands at 47 percent, with 45 percent disapproving. The trend in approval in 2018 is shown in Table 7.

Table 7: Scott Walker Job Approval Trend in 2018

  Approve Disapprove Don’t know
July 2018 47 45 7
June 2018 49 47 3
March 2018 47 47 6

Baldwin is viewed favorably by 41 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 40 percent, with 18 percent not able to give a rating. In June she had a 41 percent favorable and 43 percent unfavorable rating. In March her rating was 37 percent favorable and 39 percent unfavorable.

State issues
Fifty-nine percent of registered voters say the quality of roads and highways where they live is only fair or poor, while 40 percent rate the quality of their roads excellent or good.

Those in the northern and western regions of the state, including the Green Bay, Wausau, Eau Claire and La Crosse areas, have a somewhat less favorable view of road quality, with 34 percent saying roads are excellent or good while 66 percent rate roads as fair or poor. In the southern parts of the state, including the Milwaukee and Madison areas, 48 percent say roads are excellent or good, while 52 percent rate roads as fair or poor.

Views of the Foxconn incentive package and the effects of the new manufacturing center are little changed from the June poll. Forty-six percent think the state is paying more than the Foxconn plant is worth, while 39 percent think the plant will provide at least as much value as the state is investing in the plant. Fourteen percent say they don’t know if the plant will be worth it or not. In the June poll, 46 percent said the state was paying too much and 40 percent said it was worth it.

A majority (53 percent) of registered voters statewide believe the Foxconn plant will substantially improve the economy of the larger Milwaukee area, while 33 percent do not think it will and 14 percent say they don’t know. In the June poll, 56 percent said the Milwaukee area would benefit and 33 percent did not think so.

When asked if businesses where the respondent lives will benefit from Foxconn, 30 percent say businesses will benefit directly from the Foxconn plant, while 58 percent say their local businesses will not benefit and 12 percent don’t know. In the June poll, 29 percent said their local businesses would benefit and 61 percent did not think so.

National issues

Respondents were asked, “Would you be willing to see your senator vote for a Supreme Court nominee who was highly qualified but with whom you disagree on a number of policies, or would you want your senator to vote against any nominee you disagree with, no matter how well qualified they may be?” Fifty-five percent said they would support a qualified nominee despite disagreement, while 29 percent said they would oppose such a nominee regardless of qualifications. In February 2016, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia but before President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Court, 57 percent said they would support a qualified nominee despite disagreements while 30 percent said they would oppose a nominee despite their qualifications.

In 2016, with a Democratic president nominating someone to serve as a justice, almost three-quarters of Democrats said they would support a qualified nominee despite disagreements, while a plurality of Republicans said they would oppose a nominee despite the nominee’s qualification.

Table 8: 2016 support or oppose nominee by party ID

  Rep Dem Ind
Support despite disagreement 38 72 62
Oppose despite qualification 48 19 18

In 2018, those views are reversed. With a Republican president nominating a Supreme Court justice, two-thirds of Republicans say they would support a qualified nominee despite disagreements while Democrats are now evenly divided on this question. In both years close to 60 percent of independents said they would support a qualified nominee despite disagreements.

Table 9: 2018 support or oppose nominee by party ID

  Rep Dem Ind
Support despite disagreement 66 44 58
Oppose despite qualification 19 42 21

Initial reaction to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, whose nomination was announced two days before the poll began interviewing, finds 27 percent with a favorable opinion, 22 percent with an unfavorable opinion and 50 percent who say they haven’t heard enough or don’t know. Partisan differences in reaction are substantial, as shown in Table 10.

Table 10: opinion of Kavanaugh by party ID

  Rep Dem Ind
Favorable 52 5 16
Unfavorable 1 45 22
Not heard/don’t know 46 49 62

The vacancy on the Supreme Court has raised the saliency of abortion as an issue, although opinion has changed little over the last six years in Wisconsin. Table 11 shows the trend in opinion since 2012.

Table 11: abortion opinion 2012-2018

  10/25-28/12 10/21-24/13 10/23-26/14 7/11-15/18
Legal in all cases 28 26 24 27
Legal in most 32 36 34 36
Illegal in most 23 25 24 18
Illegal in all cases 12 10 15 11
Don’t know 4 2 3 6

Trump job approval
President Trump has a 42 percent approval rating with 50 percent disapproving. In the previous Marquette Law School Poll, in June, his approval was 44 percent with 50 percent disapproving. Partisans are deeply divided on Trump’s job performance.

Table 12: Trump job approval by party ID

  Rep Dem Ind
Approve 86 3 28
Disapprove 8 93 45

On Trump’s handling of the issue of immigration, 40 percent approve, while 53 percent disapprove. There are sharp partisan differences, as with his overall approval rating.

Table 13: Trump handling of immigration approval by party ID

  Rep Dem Ind
Approve 74 4 37
Disapprove 17 91 55

Enthusiasm for voting

Overall, 58 percent of registered voters say they are very enthusiastic about voting in this year’s elections, with 27 percent somewhat enthusiastic and 12 percent either not very or not at all enthusiastic. Among Republicans, 62 percent are very enthusiastic, while among Democrats 69 percent are. Among independents, 51 percent say they are very enthusiastic about voting this year. In June, 67 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats were very enthusiastic, along with 51 percent of independents.

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, July 11-15, 2018. The margin of error is +/-4.1 percentage points for the full sample. For the Democratic primary, the sample size is 305 and the margin of error is +/- 6.6 percentage points. For the Republican primary, the sample size is 266 and the margin of error is +/- 7 percentage points.

Ten issue questions were asked of half the sample and have a margin of error of +/- 5.9 percentage points. The issues asked of half the sample are tariffs, Harley-Davidson, condition of roads, the three Foxconn items, support for a Supreme Court nominee, favorability to Kavanaugh, approval of Trump’s handling of trade and opinion on abortion policy.

The partisan makeup of the sample, including those who lean to a party, is 43 percent Republican, 43 percent Democratic and 12 percent independent. The long-term total for the previous 45 statewide Marquette polls, with 40,152 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 28 percent Republican, 26 percent Democratic and 44 percent independent, compared to the long-term totals of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 41 percent independent.