New Marquette Law School Poll finds Carson, Trump and Rubio atop tight Wisconsin GOP primary race

Clinton holds edge among Wisconsin Democrats

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Ben Carson the favorite of 22 percent in the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary, closely followed by Donald Trump and Marco Rubio at 19 percent each. In the September Marquette poll, Trump held 20 percent, Carson 16 percent and Rubio 14 percent.

In the new poll, which was in the field shortly after the Nov. 10 Republican debate in Milwaukee, Ted Cruz receives 9 percent, Jeb Bush 6 percent, Carly Fiorina 5 percent and Chris Christie 4 percent. Mike Huckabee, John Kasich and Rand Paul receive 1 percent each, while Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Rick Santorum are each below one-half percent. Bobby Jindal, whose decision to suspend his campaign came after surveys for this poll were completed, also receives less than one-half percent.

In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton leads with the support of 50 percent of Democratic registered voters, followed by Bernie Sanders with 41 percent and Martin O’Malley at 2 percent. In September, with Joe Biden included among the choices, Clinton had 42 percent, Sanders 30 percent and Biden 17 percent.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Russ Feingold is supported by 49 percent of registered voters while Republican incumbent Ron Johnson receives 38 percent support. In September, Feingold was at 50 percent to Johnson’s 36 percent.

The poll was conducted from November 12 to 15. The full sample includes 803 registered voters interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/-4.2 percentage points. Results for the Republican nomination are based on 326 registered voters who consider themselves Republicans or independents who lean to the Republican Party. The Democratic results are based on 374 Democrats or independents who lean Democratic. The margin of error for the Republican sample is +/-6.6 percentage points, and for the Democratic sample it is +/-6.1 percentage points.

The Senate candidates are slightly better known to voters in November than they were in September, with 59 percent able to give a favorable or unfavorable rating to both Feingold and Johnson, up from 55 percent in September. Sixteen percent are unable to rate either candidate in this poll, down from 20 percent. Of those able to rate only one candidate, 19 percent can rate Feingold but not Johnson while 6 percent can rate Johnson but not Feingold—virtually unchanged from September, when 18 percent could rate only Feingold and 6 percent rated only Johnson.

Feingold is rated favorably by 42 percent and unfavorably by 36 percent, with 22 percent unable to give a rating. In September, his rating was 42 percent favorable and 32 percent unfavorable, with 26 percent unable to rate. Johnson is rated favorably by 27 percent and unfavorably by 38 percent, with 35 percent unable to rate him. In September, his favorable rating was 27 percent, unfavorable was 36 percent and 38 percent were unable to rate him.

In possible matchups for November, Carson and Rubio edge Clinton by one point each, while Clinton holds a lead over Trump. Sanders holds an advantage over all three Republican candidates:

  • Carson 45 percent, Clinton 44 percent. (Not asked in September.)
  • Rubio 45 percent, Clinton 44 percent. (September: Clinton 48 percent, Rubio 40 percent.)
  • Clinton 48 percent, Trump 38 percent. (September: Clinton 50 percent, Trump 36 percent.)
  • Sanders 47 percent, Carson 41 percent. (Not asked in September.)
  • Sanders 46 percent, Rubio 42 percent. (September: Sanders 49 percent, Rubio 36 percent.)
  • Sanders 52 percent, Trump 35 percent. (September: Sanders 53 percent, Trump 34 percent.)

Paul Ryan
In the aftermath of his election as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Paul Ryan is viewed favorably by 49 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 34 percent, with 17 percent unable to give a rating. When last asked about Ryan in October 2014, 46 percent had a favorable view, 35 percent an unfavorable view and 19 percent were unable to rate him.

Asked if they think “being Speaker will help Ryan represent the people in his district or will it require him to pay more attention to issues outside his district?,” 23 percent say it will help him represent the district while 63 percent think it will require his attention to issues outside the district.

State of the state
Asked about the state budget, 30 percent say it is in better shape than a few years ago, 24 percent say it is about the same and 39 percent say it is in worse shape now. When last asked in August, 36 percent said the budget was better, 19 percent said the same and 41 percent said the budget was in worse shape. In October 2014, 44 percent said better, 23 percent the same and 27 percent said worse.

In November, 57 percent of registered voters say Wisconsin is lagging behind other states in job creation, with 31 percent saying job creation is about the same as other states and 6 percent saying Wisconsin is creating jobs faster than other states. In August, 50 percent said Wisconsin was lagging, 36 percent said it was about the same and 9 percent said Wisconsin was adding jobs faster than other states. In October 2014, 42 percent said the state was lagging, 38 percent said it was about the same and 13 percent said jobs were growing faster than other states.

Seventy percent of registered voters say they heard of the recent announcements of plant closings at GE in Waukesha and Oscar Mayer in Madison, while 30 percent did not hear. Seventy-six percent of respondents from the Milwaukee media market and 88 percent from the Madison market say they heard of the closings, while 56 percent of those in the rest of the state heard of the closings.

Fifty percent of respondents heard about Amazon and Quad/Graphics adding jobs in the state, with 49 percent saying they did not hear. Awareness of these job additions was concentrated in the Milwaukee media market, where 73 percent heard of the additions. In the Madison market, 36 percent heard of them, as have 33 percent in the rest of the state.

Approval of Walker and legislative parties
Approval of how Scott Walker is handling his job stands at 38 percent, with 58 percent disapproval. In September, 37 percent approved and 59 percent disapproved.

Thirty-one percent say they approve of the way Republicans in the legislature are handling their job, with 60 percent disapproving and 9 percent saying they don’t know. For Democrats in the legislature, 39 percent approve while 49 percent disapprove, with 12 percent saying they don’t know.

Views of policy proposals
The public varies in its awareness of recent policy debates in the legislature. Fifty percent have not heard or lack an opinion of proposals to replace state hiring based on the civil service exam. Forty-seven percent say they have not heard or don’t have an opinion about proposals to change the structure of the Government Accountability Board. Twenty-eight percent are not aware of plans to borrow $350 million for road construction. Twenty-six percent are unaware of changes to campaign finance regulations. Twenty-four percent are unaware of a proposal to create a state agency to refinance student loans. Nineteen percent are unaware of a proposed ban on the use of fetal tissue from abortions in medical research.

Support and opposition to these proposals also vary. Sixty-one percent support an agency to refinance student loans, while 15 percent are opposed and the rest are unaware or have no position.

Thirty percent support replacing the civil service exam with resume-based hiring of state employees, with 19 percent opposed.

Thirty-eight percent support borrowing an additional $350 million for road construction, with 34 percent opposed.

Twenty-five percent support splitting the Government Accountability Board into two new boards and replacing retired judges as members with an equal split of Republicans and Democrats, with 28 percent opposed.

Thirty-two percent support a ban of the use of fetal tissue from abortions in medical research while 47 percent oppose such a ban.

Thirteen percent favor doubling current campaign contribution limits and allowing unlimited contributions by individuals to political parties, while 61 percent oppose that change.

Presidential qualities
Voters are almost evenly split over whether a president should have experience in the political system or should be someone from outside the existing political establishment. Forty-nine percent say experience is more important, while 45 percent say someone from outside the establishment is more important. Sixty-one percent of Republicans say an outsider is more important, with 32 percent preferring experience. Among Democrats, 77 percent favor experience while 19 percent say getting an outsider is more important. Among independents, 55 percent favor an outsider, and 39 percent say experience is more important.

Among Republicans saying experience is more important, Rubio is the top presidential choice of 32 percent, followed by Bush at 15 percent, Carson at 13 percent, and Cruz at 12 percent, with no other candidate in double digits. Among Republicans saying an outsider is most important, Trump is the choice of 28 percent followed by Carson at 27 percent and Rubio at 12 percent, with no one else in double digits.

Among Democrats ranking experience more important, Clinton is supported by 55 percent to Sanders’ 38 percent, while among those ranking an outsider more important, Sanders receives 51 percent to Clinton’s 35 percent.

Seventy-eight percent of registered voters say it is more important that a president be willing to compromise in order to achieve some of their goals, while 18 percent say it is more important for a president to be uncompromising about principles. Party differences are smaller on this question, with

68 percent of Republicans, 91 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of independents saying compromise is more important. Twenty-seven percent of Republicans, 6 percent of Democrats and 20 percent of independents say it is more important for a president to be uncompromising on one’s principles. Among Republicans with a favorable view of the Tea Party, 54 percent say compromise is more important while 41 percent favor uncompromising support for principles.

Of Republicans who prefer uncompromising positions, 25 percent favor Carson, 24 percent Trump and 18 percent prefer Rubio, with all others below 10 percent support. Among those who prefer compromise, Carson and Rubio each receive 20 percent support, followed by Trump at 18 percent and Cruz at 10 percent.

Among Democrats preferring an uncompromising approach, Sanders receives 51 percent support to Clinton’s 45 percent, while those preferring compromise give Clinton 51 percent to Sanders’s 40 percent.

Views of government
Eighty-four percent of registered voters agree or strongly agree (hereafter “agree”) that “government is run by a few big interests,” while 14 percent disagree or strongly disagree (hereafter “disagree”). Seventy-two percent of Republicans agree, as do 91 percent of Democrats and 86 percent of independents. Twenty-five percent of Republicans, 8 percent of Democrats and 13 percent of independents disagree.

Sixty-nine percent agree that “government ignores the interests of hard working Americans,” while 28 percent disagree. Sixty-six percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independents agree. Twenty-nine percent of Republicans, 27 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of independents disagree.

Fifty-nine percent agree that “government is taking away my personal freedoms and liberty,” while 39 percent disagree. Among Republicans, 71 percent agree while 28 percent disagree. Among Democrats, 42 percent agree and 55 percent disagree. For independents, 64 percent agree while 35 percent disagree.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents say income differences in America are too large, with 28 percent disagreeing. Among Republicans 43 percent agree while 53 percent disagree. Ninety percent of Democrats agree and 9 percent disagree, while 72 percent of independents agree and 24 percent disagree.

Forty-eight percent agree that government should do something to reduce income differences, while 49 percent disagree. Among Republicans, 22 percent agree while 75 percent disagree. For Democrats, 73 percent agree and 23 percent disagree. Among independents, 46 percent agree and 52 percent disagree.

About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 803 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, from November 12-15, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.2 percentage points for the full sample. For Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, the sample size is 326, with a margin of error of +/-6.6 percentage points. For Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, the sample size is 374, with a margin of error of +/-6.1 percentage points. Republican and Democratic presidential primary items were asked of the corresponding party samples.

The partisan makeup of this sample, including those who lean to a party, is 41 percent Republican, 47 percent Democratic and 11 percent independent. The long-term estimate over the previous 30 statewide Marquette polls, with 25,924 respondents, is 42 percent Republican and 47 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup excluding those who lean to a party is 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 38 percent independent, compared to the long-term estimate of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 39 percent independent. The entire questionnaire, full results and breakdowns by demographic groups are available at http://law.marquette.edu/poll.

The methodology statement can be found here.

Marquette Law School Poll finds Walker job approval at 37 percent, following presidential run

Trump takes GOP lead, Clinton holds Dem edge in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Gov. Scott Walker’s job approval at 37 percent with 59 percent disapproval among Wisconsin voters following his presidential bid. In August, 39 percent approved and 57 percent disapproved.

Thirty-five percent say they would like to see Walker seek a third term as governor in 2018 while 62 percent would not. Support among Republican voters for a third-term bid is 79 percent.

With Walker out of the race, Donald Trump has moved into first place among Wisconsin Republican voters, with 20 percent support, followed by Ben Carson at 16 percent, Marco Rubio at 14 percent and Carly Fiorina at 11 percent. The remainder of the field includes Jeb Bush at 7 percent, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul each at 5 percent, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie and John Kasich each at 3 percent, Rick Santorum at 1 percent and Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore at less than 1 percent. Lindsey Graham receives no support.

Trump shows a significant gain from August when he was supported by 9 percent, as do Fiorina and Rubio, who were both at 7 percent in August. Carson was at 13 percent a month ago.

Among Republicans and Republican leaners who said they would have voted for Walker had he stayed in the race, Trump receives 22 percent support, Rubio 14 percent, Carson 11 percent and Cruz 10 percent. Other candidates each received less than 10 percent from Walker supporters.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads with 42 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders with 30 percent and Joe Biden at 17 percent. Martin O’Malley receives 1 percent with Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb at less than 1 percent. In August, Clinton was at 44 percent, Sanders at 32 and Biden at 12 percent and the rest below 1 percent.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Russ Feingold is supported by 50 percent of registered voters while Republican incumbent Ron Johnson receives 36 percent support. In August, the race was tighter, with Feingold at 47 percent to Johnson’s 42 percent. In April, Feingold received 54 percent to Johnson’s 38 percent.

Marquette Law School Professor Charles Franklin, director of the poll, notes that the Senate candidates remain relatively unknown to voters: “Only 55 percent of registered voters are able to say if they have a favorable or unfavorable view of both candidates. Seven percent can rate Johnson but not Feingold while 18 percent can rate Feingold but not Johnson. And 19 percent are unable to rate either candidate. This is a recipe for volatility until the campaign moves into full swing.”

Feingold is rated favorably by 42 percent and unfavorably by 32 percent, with 26 percent unable to give a rating. In August, his rating was 42 percent favorable and 30 percent unfavorable, with 28 percent unable to rate. Johnson is rated favorably by 27 percent and unfavorably by 36 percent, with 37 percent unable to rate him. In August, his favorable rating was 30 percent, unfavorable was 31 percent, and 38 percent were unable to rate him.

The poll was conducted from September 24 to 28. The full sample includes 803 registered voters interviewed by cell phone and by landline, with a margin of error of +/-4.1 percentage points. Results for the Republican nomination are based on 321 registered voters who consider themselves Republicans or independents who lean to the Republican Party. The Democratic results are based on 394 Democrats or independents who lean Democratic. The margin of error for the Republican sample is +/-6.5 percentage points and for the Democratic sample it is +/-5.9 percentage points.

Looking ahead to possible general election preferences of Wisconsin voters, the poll found these results in head-to-head match-ups:

  • Clinton 50 percent, Bush 38 percent.
  • Clinton 48 percent, Rubio 40 percent.
  • Clinton 50 percent, Trump 36 percent.
  • Sanders 49 percent, Bush 39 percent.
  • Sanders 49 percent, Rubio 36 percent.
  • Sanders 53 percent, Trump 34 percent.

Walker support by party
Among Republicans, 79 percent would like Walker to run again for governor. Support for a third term is 65 percent among independents who lean Republican, while 15 percent of independents with no party leaning support a third-term bid. Support for a third term among independents who lean Democratic is 9 percent and among Democrats is 6 percent.

Asked if they would have supported Walker had he stayed in the Republican presidential race, 28 percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say they would, while 55 percent say they would have voted for some other Republican candidate. Ten percent say they would not have voted, five percent say they didn’t know and 2 percent say they would have voted in the Democratic primary. In August, Walker’s presidential bid was backed by 25 percent of GOP voters, down from 40 percent in April.

Among Republicans, 25 percent say they were pleased Walker ran and wish he had stayed in the race, while 40 percent say they were pleased but it was time to get out. Thirty percent say they wish he had not run. Support for the presidential bid is lower among independents who lean Republican, with 10 percent pleased and wishing he stayed in, 35 percent pleased but saying it was time to get out, and 51 percent saying they wish he had not run. Among independents with no party leaning, 67 percent wish he had not run, while 77 percent of Democratic leaners and 79 percent of Democrats wish Walker had not run for president.

Currently, 38 percent see Walker as very conservative, up from 31 percent in October 2014. Thirty-five percent see him as conservative, down from 42 percent in 2014. Seven percent see him as moderate, compared to 10 percent in 2014, and 10 percent see him as liberal or very liberal, the same as in 2014. Nine percent now say they don’t know where to place him ideologically, compared to 6 percent in 2014.

Economic conditions
Over the past year, perceptions of the economy’s direction have become somewhat less positive. Currently 24 percent say the economy has gotten better in the last year, 27 percent say it has worsened, and 47 percent say it has stayed about the same. In September 2014, 30 percent said the economy had improved over the year, 29 percent said it had worsened, and 41 percent said it had stayed about the same.

Looking ahead, 25 percent expect the economy to improve over the next 12 months, 20 percent expect it to worsen, and 50 percent think it will stay about the same. A year ago, 34 percent expected improvement, 17 percent expected worsening, and 44 percent expected little change.

Views of Pope Francis
Favorable views of Pope Francis have increased. His favorable ratings have risen to 66 percent, from 51 percent in August, with 12 percent holding unfavorable views of him in both months. Those unable to give a rating fall to 21 percent from 36 percent in August. Favorable ratings have increased 5 points among Catholics, to 75 percent from 70 percent. Among Protestants, the increase is 21 points, to 59 from 38 percent. Those who say they have no religious affiliation report a 16 percent increase in favorability, to 71 percent from 55 percent.

Second choices
Combining first and second choices is an alternative measure of a candidate’s strength. The table below provides the first, second, and combined support of all Republican candidates among Republicans and independents who lean Republican. The table is ordered by combined support and then by name. By this measure, Rubio ranks first, followed by Carson, Fiorina and Trump.

Candidate First Choice Second Choice Combined
Rubio 14 17 31
Carson 16 12 28
Fiorina 11 15 26
Trump 20 5 25
Bush 7 10 17
Cruz 5 8 13
Christie 3 7 10
Huckabee 3 6 9
Paul 5 4 9
Kasich 3 1 4
Jindal 1 2 3
Santorum 1 2 3
Graham 0 2 2
Pataki 0 1 1
Gilmore 0 0 0

Among the Democrats, Clinton ranks first in combined support, and Biden moves to second place, with Sanders in third.

Candidate First Choice Second Choice Combined
Clinton 42 27 69
Biden 17 38 55
Sanders 30 21 51
O’Malley 1 3 4
Chafee 0 3 3
Webb 0 2 2

Opinions of other political figures
Approval of how President Barack Obama is handling his job stands at 51 percent, with 45 percent disapproving. In August, 48 percent approved and 48 percent disapproved.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is rated favorably by 21 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 29 percent, with 49 percent unable to give a rating. In October 2014, she received a 29 percent favorable and 25 percent unfavorable rating, with 45 percent unable to give a rating.

About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 803 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, from September 24-28, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.1 percentage points for the full sample. For Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, the sample size is 321, with a margin of error of +/- 6.5 percentage points. For Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, the sample size is 394, with a margin of error of +/-5.9 percentage points. Republican and Democratic presidential primary items were asked of the corresponding party samples.

The partisan makeup of this sample, including those who lean to a party, is 40 percent Republican, 49 percent Democratic and 9 percent independent. The long-term estimate over the previous 29 statewide Marquette polls, with 25,121 respondents, is 43 percent Republican and 47 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup 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 38 percent independent.

Marquette Law School Poll finds Walker, Clinton leading primary fields among Wisconsin voters

For U.S. Senate, Feingold 47, Johnson 42

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Scott Walker leading in Wisconsin in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, with 25 percent of voters who are Republican or lean Republican saying that he is their first choice. Following Walker are Ben Carson at 13 percent, Donald Trump at 9 percent, and Ted Cruz at 8 percent. Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio receive 7 percent each. Jeb Bush is the choice of 6 percent, and each of the remaining candidates garners 4 percent or less.

In April, the Marquette poll had Walker at 40 percent, with Rand Paul in second place at 10 percent. Trump was not included in the April list of candidates.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads with 44 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 32 percent and Joe Biden at 12 percent. Lincoln Chaffee, Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb each receive less than 1 percent support. In April, Clinton had 58 percent support and Biden 12 percent while Sanders was not included in the April poll. Elizabeth Warren, who was not included in this poll, had received 14 percent support in April.

In the 2016 race for the U.S. Senate, Democrat Russ Feingold receives 47 percent support and Republican Ron Johnson 42 percent. In April, Feingold received 54 percent to Johnson’s 38 percent. Feingold is viewed favorably by 42 percent and unfavorably by 30 percent, with 28 percent unable to give a rating. Johnson is seen favorably by 30 percent and unfavorably by 31 percent, with 38 percent unable to rate him. In April, Feingold’s rating was 47 percent favorable and 26 percent unfavorable, with 26 percent unable to rate. For Johnson in April, 32 percent had a favorable view, 29 percent unfavorable, and 39 percent were unable to rate.

The full sample includes 802 registered voters interviewed by cell phone and by landline with a margin of error of +/-4.3 percentage points. Results for the Republican nomination are based on 334 registered voters who consider themselves Republicans or independents who lean to the Republican Party. The Democratic results are based on 396 Democrats or independents who lean Democratic. The margin of error for the Republican sample is +/-6.6 percentage points and for the Democratic sample it is +/-6.1 percentage points.

Looking ahead to possible general election preferences of Wisconsin voters:

  • Clinton 47, Bush 42.
  • Clinton 52, Walker 42.
  • Clinton 50, Cruz 38.
  • Clinton 51, Trump 35.

In April, the results showed Clinton leading Bush 49-38. She led Walker 52-40 and Cruz 52-36. Trump was not matched against Clinton in the April poll.

Wisconsinites’ perceptions of Walker
Thirty-nine percent of those polled approve of the job Walker is doing as governor, while 57 percent disapprove. In April, 41 percent approved while 56 percent disapproved. Thirty-three percent say that they like Walker’s decision to run for president, while 63 percent say they do not. Among Republicans, support for his presidential bid is much higher, 70 percent, while 28 percent do not like his running. Among independents who lean Republican, 44 percent say they like his bid while 53 percent do not. Among independents, independents who lean Democratic, and Democratic partisans, support for his run is 15 percent or less. In April, 34 percent of all those polled said they would like him to run while 62 percent said they would not.

Asked whether the phrase “cares about people like you” describes Walker, 37 percent say it does, while 59 percent say it does not. When last asked in October 2014, shortly before the gubernatorial election, 46 percent said this described Walker, while 50 percent said it did not.

Asked if “able to get things done” describes Walker, 60 percent say it does while 38 percent say it does not. In October 2014, 63 percent said this described Walker while 33 percent said it did not.

State conditions
Forty-six percent say Wisconsin is headed in the right direction while 52 percent say the state has gotten off on the wrong track. In April, 43 percent said right direction and 53 percent said wrong track.

Fifty percent say the state is lagging behind other states in creating jobs, 36 percent say it is creating jobs at about the same rate as others and 9 percent say the state is growing jobs faster than other states. In April, 52 percent said Wisconsin was lagging, 34 said it was adding jobs at the same rate as others and 8 percent said the state was adding jobs faster.

After the legislative debate over the budget in the spring and summer, 41 percent say the state budget is in worse shape than a few years ago while 36 percent say it is better and 19 percent say it is about the same. In April, 38 percent said the budget was worse, 33 percent said better and 25 percent said it was about the same.

Political issues
Forty-eight percent say they support the recently enacted ban on almost all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy while 44 percent oppose the ban. Partisan differences on this issue are substantial, with 77 percent support among Republicans, 67 percent among independents who lean Republican, 54 percent among independents, 30 percent among independents who lean Democratic and 23 percent among Democrats.

Protestants and Catholics are equally supportive of the ban, at 54 percent support, while those with no religious attachment offer only 23 percent support. Frequency of attendance at religious services also is related to views on this legislation, with 67 percent support among those who attend services at least once a week, 43 percent support among those who attend a few times a year and 32 percent among those who seldom or never attend religious services. Of those under 45 years old, 40 percent support the ban while 51 percent oppose it. Of those age 45 and older, 54 percent approve of the ban while 40 percent oppose it. There is only a slight difference by gender, with women supporting the ban 48 to 46 and men supporting it 49 to 42.

Cuts to the University of Wisconsin system receive a mixed review. Asked whether the university system could absorb the $250 million cut that was approved in the budget, 38 percent say it could while 58 percent say the cut would reduce educational quality. However, 52 percent say the university could absorb the extension of a tuition freeze on in-state students, while 44 percent say this would reduce educational quality.

A majority, 52 percent, say they agree with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country, while 40 percent say they disagree with the ruling. Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, 25 percent agree with the ruling while 68 percent disagree. Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, 76 percent agree with the ruling and 18 percent disagree. For independents who lean toward neither party, 52 percent agree with the ruling while 31 percent disagree with it.

Asked what policy should apply to those immigrants currently in the country illegally, 49 percent say they should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship, 25 percent say they should be allowed to stay as guest workers only and 23 percent say they should be required to leave the country. When last asked in October 2014, 52 percent favored a path to citizenship and 20 percent a guest worker option, while 24 percent said they should be required to leave. Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, 32 percent support a path to citizenship and 28 percent a guest worker option, while 37 percent say they should be required to leave. Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, 63 percent favor a citizenship process and 22 percent a guest worker program, while 11 percent say they should be required to leave. Fifty-four percent of independents favor a citizenship path, 19 percent a guest worker program, and 24 percent a requirement to leave.

Republican presidential debate
Forty-three percent of respondents say they watched the Aug. 6 Republican debate, while 56 percent did not. Fifty-one percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say they watched, while 40 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic did so.

Eighteen percent say they read or talked about the debate a lot, 39 percent say they read or talked some, while 24 percent say they had not talked much about it and 19 percent say they had not read or talked at all about the debate. Twenty-two percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say they had read or talked a lot about the debate and 38 percent say they had done so some. Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, 16 percent read or talked a lot and 43 percent had done so some, while for independents 17 percent read or talked a lot and 28 percent had done some of this.

Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican who watched the debate, Walker is the first choice for the GOP nomination of 21 percent while he is chosen by 30 percent of those who did not watch. Carson is the first choice of 17 percent of watchers and 10 percent of non-watchers. Trump is the choice of 5 percent of debate watchers and 13 percent of non-watchers.

Among those Republicans and leaners who read or talked a lot or some about the debate, Carson is the top choice of 17 percent, followed by Walker at 16 percent and Cruz at 12 percent. For those who read or talked only a little or not at all, Walker is the first choice of 38 percent, followed by Trump at 11 percent and Carson and Bush at 7 percent each.

Second choices
Combining first and second choices is an alternative measure of a candidate’s strength. The table below provides the first, second, and combined support of all Republican candidates among Republicans and independents who lean Republican. The table is ordered by first choice support and then by name. The top three first-choice candidates remain the top three in the combined strength measure as well. Rubio rises to fourth place in the combined measure from a tie for fifth among first choices

Candidate First Choice Second Choice Combined
Walker 25 18 43
Carson 13 9 22
Trump 9 10 19
Cruz 8 7 15
Fiorina 7 9 16
Rubio 7 10 17
Bush 6 9 15
Huckabee 4 5 9
Christie 2 4 6
Jindal 2 0 2
Paul 2 5 7
Gilmore 1 0 1
Kasich 1 2 3
Perry 1 1 2
Santorum 1 1 2
Graham 0 1 1
Pataki 0 1 1

Among the Democrats, the top ranking remains the same when considering only first choices or first and second choices combined, with Clinton, Sanders and Biden in that order. Biden is the strongest second-choice candidate with 34 percent.

Candidate First Choice Second Choice Combined
Clinton 44 28 72
Sanders 32 20 52
Biden 12 34 46
Chaffee 1 2 3
O’Malley 1 3 4
Webb 1 2 3

Environmental issues
Sixty-one percent of all registered voters say they support strict limits on carbon-dioxide emissions for existing coal-fired power plants, while 34 percent oppose those limits. The question mentioned both positive and negative effects of such a limit:

“Do you support or oppose setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health. Power plants would have to reduce their emissions and/or invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The cost of electricity to consumers and companies would likely increase.”

Thirty-six percent of Republicans and Republican leaners support this regulation while 58 percent oppose it. Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, 83 percent support this and 14 percent oppose this. Independents divide 66 percent in favor and 31 percent opposed.

This summer, Pope Francis released an encyclical urging the world to do more to address climate change. Forty-six percent of registered voters say they had not heard about Pope Francis’ statement on climate change; 36 percent agree with his message; and 17 percent disagree. Among Catholics, 39 percent say they had not heard of this, 45 percent say they agree and 15 percent say they disagree.

Views of Pope Francis are generally positive, with 51 percent having a favorable opinion of him, 12 percent unfavorable and 36 percent unable to say. Among Catholics, 70 percent have a favorable opinion, 6 percent unfavorable, and 23 percent are unable to give an opinion.

Opinions of other political figures
Approval of how President Barack Obama is handling his job stands at 48 percent, with 48 percent disapproving. In April, 49 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s favorable rating stands at 36 percent, with 40 percent unfavorable and 24 percent unable to give a rating. In April, 39 percent viewed her favorably, 38 percent unfavorably and 23 percent could not say.

About the Marquette Law School Poll
The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 802 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, August 13-16, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 4.3 percentage points for the full sample. For Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, the sample size is 334, with a margin of error of +/-6.6 percentage points. For Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, the sample size is 396, with a margin of error of +/-6.1 percentage points. Republican and Democratic presidential primary items were asked of the corresponding party samples.

The partisan makeup of this sample, including those who lean to a party, is 42 percent Republican, 48 percent Democratic and 9 percent independent. The long-term estimate over the previous 28 statewide Marquette polls with 24,319 respondents is 43 percent Republican and 47 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup excluding those who lean to a party is 27 percent Republican, 28 percent Democratic and 42 percent independent, compared to the long-term estimate of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 38 percent independent.