New Marquette Law School Poll finds opportunities, limits to public support for cooperation in the Chicago “megacity”

Study of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin residents explores attitudes on workforce training, funding for transportation and tourism, and neighborhood and police matters

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MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll of the Chicago megacity region, from southeast Wisconsin through the Chicago area and into northwest Indiana, finds a majority of residents saying that political leaders in all three states should work together to promote economic development throughout the region instead of competing with each other.

Seventy percent of northeast Illinois residents, 72 percent of northwest Indiana residents and 61 percent of southeast Wisconsin residents said that leaders should work together. Twenty-eight percent in Illinois, 26 percent in Indiana and 35 percent in Wisconsin said that political leaders should look out for their own state first.

This general support for cooperation extends to coordination on transportation projects and professional licensing, but not to tourism or efforts to attract large businesses to the region.

Nearly 60 percent in each state supported putting money in a common fund for coordinating planning for airports, railroads, highways and Lake Michigan shipping, with 63 percent in Illinois, 60 percent in Indiana and 58 percent in Wisconsin agreeing. Fewer than 40 percent in each state said that the states should go their own way on transportation planning.

Majorities in each state thought it would be better to have a single license in various trades and professions across the region than to require people to be licensed in each state with different state standards. Sixty-four percent in Illinois, 62 percent in Indiana and 54 percent in Wisconsin would support a single license, while 34 percent in Illinois, 36 percent in Indiana and 44 percent in Wisconsin thought that each state should set its own licensing requirements.

That support for regional efforts disappeared, however, on the subject of attracting large companies or tourism. A majority in each state said that states should go their own way in trying to attract large companies, with 51 percent in Illinois, 53 percent in Indiana and 60 percent in Wisconsin agreeing. Forty-three percent in Illinois, 41 percent in Indiana and 35 percent in Wisconsin would support a common fund for business recruitment. For tourism, even more respondents said that the states should go their own way, with 59 percent of Illinois, 58 percent of Indiana and 65 percent of Wisconsin supporting independent efforts by the states. Only 36 percent of Illinois, 38 percent of Indiana and 33 percent of Wisconsin would support a common fund for tourism promotion.

Respondents also said that they would be willing to move across state lines, if their jobs were nearby, in order to have lower property and income taxes. Sixty-five percent in Illinois, 67 percent in Indiana and 62 percent in Wisconsin said they would move to a lower-tax state if their job were near the border. In Illinois 28 percent said they would not move, as did 29 percent in Indiana and 31 percent in Wisconsin.

Respondents were asked whether they would strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: “The most important thing to me is how well things are going where I live and I really don’t care what’s happening elsewhere in the region.” More than 60 percent of respondents in each state disagree with the statement that the most important thing is how well things are going where they live. By a two-to-one margin, they say they care about the wider region.

“These results show that there is public support for political leaders to pursue policies of cooperation in areas where shared benefits are high, such as transportation or professional licensing,” said Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll. “On other issues where direct and competing economic interests are at stake, such as tourism or attracting business, politicians are likely to find public disapproval of cooperative efforts. And while Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin residents certainly have their own distinct identities, we found perhaps surprisingly uniform opinions across the three states when it comes to cooperation.”

The Marquette Law School Poll of the Chicago megacity surveyed 1,872 respondents from the tri-state region. In southeast Wisconsin the poll included 660 respondents from Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha counties. In Illinois, 600 respondents were interviewed from Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The 612 respondents from Indiana were from Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton and Porter counties. These 21 counties form the Chicago economic region studied by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in its 2012 report on economic conditions and prospects for the region. The margin of error for the Illinois sample is +/- 5.8 percentage points, +/- 5.2 percentage points for Indiana and +/-5.1 percentage points for Wisconsin.

Workforce preparation
A strong majority of respondents said that the training and work ethic of the labor force had a great deal or a good bit to do with determining economic growth, with 71 percent in Illinois, 74 percent in Indiana and 77 percent in Wisconsin choosing these options. Twenty-seven percent in Illinois, 22 percent in Indiana and 21 percent in Wisconsin said the workforce had only a little or nothing at all to do with economic growth.

When it came to their own careers, however, a majority in the region said that they had looked for whatever job was available rather than entering the workforce with a clear plan. In Illinois, 49 percent looked for what was available, as did 62 percent in Indiana and 52 percent in Wisconsin. Forty-nine percent of Illinois respondents said that they started their careers with a clear plan along with 37 percent in Indiana and 47 percent in Wisconsin.

Views of how much education is needed these days for a good-paying job reflected the expectation that more was needed. Twenty-one percent in Illinois said a high school diploma was enough, as did 19 percent in Indiana and 21 percent in Wisconsin. There was a wider belief that technical school training after high school could provide the foundation for a successful career, with 21 percent in Illinois, 27 percent in Indiana and 36 percent in Wisconsin agreeing. More in Illinois, 38 percent, believed that a college degree or higher was required than in Indiana, 29 percent, or Wisconsin, 21 percent.

About a third of respondents in the region said that they had acquired some form of technical training following high school, with 34 percent in Illinois, 33 percent in Indiana and 37 percent in Wisconsin so reporting. Unions provided that training to 18 percent in Illinois, 16 percent in Indiana and 13 percent in Wisconsin. A technical school was the source of training for 24 percent in Illinois, 22 percent in Indiana and 31 percent in Wisconsin. These groups overlap because some respondents had both union and technical school training.

More than half of respondents in the region said that their employer provided training opportunities within the company. Fifty-five percent of Illinois respondents, 49 percent in Indiana and 57 percent in Wisconsin said their employer provided some form of training.

While about one in 10 respondents said that finding work had been extremely hard, more than half said it had been somewhat or extremely easy. In Illinois, 10 percent said work had been extremely hard to find, with another 31 percent saying it was somewhat hard. In Indiana 12 percent said extremely hard and 27 percent somewhat hard, while in Wisconsin eight percent said extremely and 27 percent somewhat hard.

Substantial majorities said that they have been satisfied or very satisfied with their work life, with 84 percent in Illinois, 78 percent in Indiana and 85 percent in Wisconsin expressing satisfaction. Fifteen percent in Illinois, 19 percent in Indiana and 14 percent in Wisconsin said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Only about a third said it is better to change jobs often when better opportunities are available, while nearly two-thirds said it is better to stay in a stable and reliable job for a long time. Thirty-three percent in Illinois, 31 percent in Indiana and 28 percent in Wisconsin would pursue better opportunities, while 63 percent in Illinois, 66 percent in Indiana and 67 percent in Wisconsin prefer the security of a stable situation.

Around 30 percent said that they had, at some time, started or owned a business or been self-employed, with 33 percent in Illinois, 29 percent in Indiana and 26 percent in Wisconsin following this form of entrepreneurial career. Similar numbers said that if they were in their 20s or early 30s, they would be very willing to take a low-paying job with a start up company, with the chance of a large profit if the company were successful. Specifically, 34 percent in Illinois, 33 percent in Indiana and 30 percent in Wisconsin would be very willing to join a start up.

The public is somewhat evenly divided on the question of whether success is simply a matter of hard work and ability or if it is difficult to succeed if you are not born into the upper class. In Illinois 47 percent said that success is a matter of hard work and ability, as did 51 percent in Indiana and 50 percent in Wisconsin, but 49 percent in Illinois, 47 percent in Indiana and 44 percent in Wisconsin said success is difficult without the advantage of an upper-class start.

Transportation and commuting
Residents of Illinois have considerably longer commutes, with 31 percent saying that they spend 40 minutes or more each way traveling to work. In Indiana 20 percent spend that long and in Wisconsin 16 percent do. At the short end of travel times, 22 percent in Illinois, 34 percent in Indiana and 37 percent in Wisconsin said they have less than a 20-minute commute.

Despite the differences in travel time, more than 70 percent in each state described their commute as pretty easy, while five percent or less described it as “a nightmare.”

Cars remain the most frequent mode of travel to work, with 75 percent in Illinois, 90 percent in Indiana and 88 percent in Wisconsin getting to work this way. In Illinois 11 percent use commuter rail and 9 percent ride a bus. In Indiana 3 percent use rail and 2 percent bus, while no respondents in Wisconsin said they use rail and 5 percent use buses.

While cars remain the dominant transit mode, either 31 or 32 percent in each state said that improving commuter rail and Amtrak service was more important than improving highways, while 63 percent in each state said that highway improvements were more important.

Home and community issues
More than 90 percent in each state said they liked their neighborhood or liked it a lot, although seven to nine percent said they disliked it or disliked it a lot. Similarly, most respondents said they thought their neighborhood was either completely or pretty safe, while 14 to 19 percent said they were afraid to walk alone at night or never did.

Policing practices have become the subject of widespread discussion in the wake of high incarceration rates of African-American and other minority populations and recent highly visible deaths of African-Americans in confrontations with police around the country.

In Illinois 41 percent said the police arrest too many people for minor offenses, with 39 percent in Indiana and 35 percent in Wisconsin agreeing. Forty-seven percent in Illinois, 52 percent in Indiana and 54 percent in Wisconsin said there were not too many such arrests.

Forty-two percent in Illinois, 37 percent in Indiana and 42 percent in Wisconsin said the police are too willing to use deadly force, while 49 percent in Illinois, 56 percent in Indiana and 50 percent in Wisconsin disagreed.

These splits mask large differences by race. Among African-Americans in Illinois, 68 percent said deadly force was used too much, as did 51 percent of Hispanics and 33 percent of whites. In Indiana 65 percent of African-Americans, 34 percent of Hispanics and 32 percent of whites held that view. In Wisconsin 76 percent of African-Americans, 46 percent of Hispanics and 36 percent of whites said the police were too willing to use deadly force.

Divisions over arrests follow a similar pattern. In Illinois, 61 percent of African-Americans, 52 percent of Hispanics and 35 percent of whites thought that there were too many arrests for minor offenses. In Indiana 62 percent of African-Americans, 39 percent of Hispanics and 35 percent of whites agreed, while in Wisconsin it was 56 percent among African-Americans, 39 percent among Hispanics and 31 percent among whites.

About the Marquette Law School Poll.
The Marquette Law School poll of the Chicago megacity surveyed 1,872 respondents from the tri-state region. In southeast Wisconsin the poll included 660 respondents from Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha counties. In Illinois 600 respondents were interviewed from Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The 612 respondents from Indiana were from Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton and Porter counties.  These 21 counties make up the Chicago economic region studied by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in its 2012 report on economic conditions and prospects for the region. The margin of error for the Illinois sample is +/- 5.8 percentage points, +/- 5.2 percentage points for Indiana and +/-5.1 percentage points for Wisconsin. The entire questionnaire, full results, and breakdowns by demographic groups are available at http://law.marquette.edu/poll.

Marquette Law School Poll finds Walker job approval down

Clinton leads presidential matchups; controversy over budget

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Gov. Scott Walker’s job approval rating has fallen to 41 percent, with 56 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job as governor. In the previous poll, in October 2014, Walker’s approval among registered voters was 49 percent, with 47 percent disapproving.

To look ahead to a possible 2016 presidential matchup, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads Walker in Wisconsin, 52 percent to 40 percent.

In a possible 2016 U.S. Senate race, former Sen. Russ Feingold has the support of 54 percent of registered voter, leading incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, who has 38 percent, with 9 percent not expressing a preference.

“Election matchups at this point show us where candidates are lining up at the start of the race,” said Charles Franklin, professor of law and public policy and director of the Marquette Law School Poll. “The eventual outcome, of course, depends on how they actually run the course. Having an early picture allows us to measure how the campaign changes voters’ preferences over time.”

The poll interviewed 803 registered voters by landline and cell phone April 7-10. For the full sample, the margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points. For Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, the sample size is 319, with a margin of error of +/-5.6 percentage points. For Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, the sample size is 391, with a margin of error of +/-5.1 percentage points.

Among Wisconsin Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, Walker leads as the choice for the GOP presidential nomination with 40 percent support, followed by Rand Paul at 10 percent, Jeb Bush at 8 percent, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie at 6 percent each, and Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson at 5 percent each. Marco Rubio is supported by 4 percent, with Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum supported by 2 percent each. Rick Perry and Carly Fiorina receive less than 1 percent support each. Eleven percent do not express a preference among the candidates.

Among Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton leads with 58 percent, followed by Elizabeth Warren with 14 percent, Joe Biden with 12 percent and Jim Webb and Martin O’Malley both with 1 percent support. Fourteen percent do not express a preference.

State of the state
Voters’ views of the direction of the state have taken a downturn since October. Fifty-three percent say that the state is now on the wrong track while 43 percent say the state is headed in the right direction. In October, 51 percent of registered voters said the state was headed in the right direction while 44 percent said it was on the wrong track.

Voters also see the state’s employment situation as turning down compared to other states, with 52 percent saying that Wisconsin is lagging behind other states in job creation, 34 percent saying that the state is doing about the same as other states and 8 percent saying that the state is creating jobs faster than other states. In October, 42 percent said the state was lagging, 38 percent said about the same and 13 percent said Wisconsin was creating jobs faster.

Opinion about the state’s budget situation has also turned more negative, with 38 percent saying the budget picture is worse than several years ago, 25 percent saying it is about the same and 33 percent saying it is better now. In October, 27 percent said the budget was worse, 23 percent about the same and 44 percent saying it was better than a few years ago.

State budget proposals
Voters are opposed to a number of cuts proposed by the Walker budget. Seventy-eight percent oppose cutting $127 million from the K-12 public school budget, while 18 percent support the proposal. Seventy percent oppose cutting $300 million from the University of Wisconsin System budget; 26 percent support this.

Sixty percent oppose making the Natural Resources Board an advisory-only board, while 30 percent support that change.

Forty-four percent oppose requiring those on SeniorCare drug coverage to move into the Medicare Part-D program, while 30 percent support the requirement and 25 percent say they don’t have an opinion.

Fifty-one percent of registered voters say that they are willing for the state to borrow $1.3 billion for road construction, with 44 percent opposed. This is a striking contrast with the results of three earlier Marquette Law School polls in 2013 and 2014, in which borrowing to pay for highway projects was opposed by totals of 65 percent to 73 percent of those polled. However, in October 2013, when asked about borrowing $994 million for road construction, 49 percent favored borrowing while 44 percent opposed.

Bucks arena funding
Seventy-nine percent oppose borrowing about $150 million to support a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, with 17 percent supporting the proposal. In the Milwaukee media market, 67 percent oppose funding for an arena and 29 percent support it. Those views vary by less than 2 percentage points among the City of Milwaukee, the surrounding suburban counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, and the seven other southeastern Wisconsin counties included in the media market.

In the rest of the state only 9 percent support borrowing for an arena, with 88 percent opposed.

Public schools
Forty-eight percent oppose the proposed elimination of state funding for tests based on the Common Core standards, while 35 percent favor the elimination of funding and 17 percent say they don’t have an opinion.

Voters strongly support continuing federally required testing in math and English, by 80 percent to 17 percent.

Asked if there should be a state agency to deal with low-performing schools or if parents’ choices were enough to improve school quality, 55 percent say parents’ choices are enough, while 36 percent say a state agency is needed.

Asked which is more important, reducing property taxes or increasing spending on public schools, 40 percent say reducing property taxes is more important while 54 percent say increasing spending on schools is more important. In March and May of 2013, 49 percent said reducing property taxes was more important and 46 percent said school funding was more important.

Among homeowners, 51 percent say increasing school funding is more important and 44 percent say holding down property taxes is more important. For renters, 64 percent prefer school funding while 30 percent say reducing property taxes is more important. Sixty-one percent of parents with school-age children say increased school funding is more important, with 34 percent preferring lower property taxes. Among those without school-age children, 52 percent favor school funding to 42 percent favoring lower property taxes.

When it comes to the job public schools are doing, 25 percent say they are very satisfied with public schools in their community, 50 percent satisfied, 16 percent dissatisfied and 5 percent very dissatisfied. Among parents of school-age children, 32 percent are very satisfied, 45 percent satisfied, 17 percent dissatisfied and 5 percent very dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction is highest in the City of Milwaukee, where 47 percent are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied while 49 percent are satisfied or very satisfied.

The Milwaukee sample is only 75 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 12 percentage points, so it should be viewed with caution. However, pooling results over four polls since 2012 produces similar results based on 348 Milwaukee respondents, with a margin of error of +/-5.4 percentage points. For the four polls combined, 50 percent of Milwaukee respondents are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, while 43 percent are satisfied or very satisfied. Other regions of the state show only modest variation in satisfaction with local public schools compared to the statewide results.

Vouchers
Fifty-four percent oppose removing limits on the number of students statewide outside Milwaukee and Racine counties receiving publicly funded vouchers to attend private schools, with 37 percent favoring ending the limit on vouchers, now set at 1,000 students. In September 2014, 18 percent supported removing all limits on vouchers, 21 percent supported increasing but not eliminating the limits, 19 percent favored keeping the 1,000-student limit and 38 percent would eliminate the statewide voucher program entirely. In previous polling in October 2013 and October 2014, support for expanding vouchers statewide beyond Milwaukee and Racine without mentioning limits was supported by 50 and 49 percent, with 44 percent opposed to expansion in both polls.

Right to work legislation
Voters were asked their view of the recently passed “right to work” legislation, with a question that provided two arguments frequently made by supporters of the legislation and two arguments frequently made by opponents. The order of supporting and opposing arguments was randomized, so that about half of respondents heard the supporting arguments first and about half heard the opposing arguments first. The question text was:

Recently the state adopted a “right to work” law that says workers in private companies cannot be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Supporters say the law will increase workers’ options to work where they wish and make Wisconsin more attractive for business. Opponents say the law will weaken unions and drive down pay scales for everyone. Do you support or oppose this new law?

Forty-four percent say they support the law while 50 percent say they oppose it, with 5 percent saying they don’t know.

Presidential campaign
Thirty-four percent of registered voters say that they would like to see Walker run for president while 62 percent would not like him to run. In October 2014, 26 percent wanted him to run and 68 percent did not.  Among those who consider themselves either Republicans or independents leaning toward the Republican Party, 66 percent support a Walker presidential bid, with 29 percent opposed; in October 2014 just 44 percent favored a run with 48 percent opposed.

Asked whether any governor can run for president and still handle his or her duties as governor, 67 percent think that a governor cannot, with 29 percent saying that a governor can do both. Among Republicans and independents who lean Republican, 48 percent think a governor can do both and 48 percent say a governor cannot.

Clinton leads five potential Republican opponents in hypothetical 2016 matchups among registered voters. Clinton leads Paul 49-41, leads Bush 49-38, leads Walker 52-40, leads Rubio 50-38 and leads Cruz 52-36.

Favorability ratings
Sen. Johnson receives a 32 percent favorable and 29 percent unfavorable rating, with 39 percent saying they haven’t heard enough or don’t know. Sen. Tammy Baldwin receives a 39 percent favorable and 38 percent unfavorable rating, with 23 percent saying they haven’t heard enough or don’t know. In October 2014, Johnson was viewed favorably by 33 percent and unfavorably by 30 percent, with 36 percent unable to rate him. In October, Baldwin was viewed favorably by 36 percent and unfavorably by 37 percent with 26 percent unable to rate her.

Former Sen. Feingold is viewed favorably by 47 percent and unfavorably by 26 percent, with 26 percent unable to rate him. In October, 42 percent viewed him favorably and 30 percent unfavorably, with 27 percent unable to rate him.

President Barack Obama holds a 49 percent job approval rating with 47 percent disapproval. In October, 42 percent approved while 51 percent disapproved.

Favorability of potential presidential candidates
The favorability ratings for a number of potential presidential candidates were included in the poll. The ratings among partisans or independents who lean to a party are listed below.

Among Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party:

Jeb Bush: Favorable 38%, unfavorable 26%, haven’t heard enough 32%, don’t know 4%

Chris Christie: Favorable 29%, unfavorable 38%, haven’t heard enough 29%, don’t know 5%

Ted Cruz: Favorable 30%, unfavorable 13%, haven’t heard enough 49%, don’t know 8%

Rand Paul: Favorable 46%, unfavorable 12%, haven’t heard enough 38%, don’t know 4%

Marco Rubio: Favorable 37%, unfavorable 8%, haven’t heard enough 47%, don’t know 8%

Scott Walker: Favorable 84%, unfavorable 15%, haven’t heard enough 1%, don’t know 1%

Among Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party:

Joe Biden: Favorable 73%, unfavorable 14%, haven’t heard enough 12%, don’t know 1%

Hillary Clinton: Favorable 76%, unfavorable 18%, haven’t heard enough 4%, don’t know 2%

Martin O’Malley: Favorable 5%, unfavorable 7%, haven’t heard enough 75%, don’t know 13%

Elizabeth Warren: Favorable 36%, unfavorable 7%, haven’t heard enough 52%, don’t know 5%

Party composition of the sample
In this poll, Republicans make up 24 percent of the registered voter sample with Democrats at 30 percent and independents at 40 percent.

Over all Marquette Law School Polls conducted in 2014, with 8,041 registered voters, Republicans totaled 26 percent while Democrats totaled 30 percent and independents 40 percent. In 2014, Republicans varied between 24 and 29 percent while Democrats varied between 28 and 32 percent. Independents varied between 37 and 44 percent.

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, April 7-10, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points for the full sample. For Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, the sample size is 319, with a margin of error of +/-5.6 percentage points. For Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party, the sample size is 391, with a margin of error of +/-5.1 percentage points. Republican and Democratic presidential primary items were asked of the corresponding party samples.

Final pre-election Marquette Law School Poll finds Walker leading Burke in Wisconsin governor’s race

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Republican Gov. Scott Walker leading Democratic challenger Mary Burke 50 percent to 43 percent among likely voters in the Wisconsin governor’s race. Another 3 percent say that they are undecided or that they do not know whom they will support, while 1 percent say that they will vote for someone else. Likely voters are those who say that they are certain to vote in the November election.

Among registered voters in the poll, Walker receives 46 percent and Burke 45 percent, with 4 percent undecided and 1 percent saying that they will vote for someone else.

The poll interviewed 1,409 registered voters, including 1,164 likely voters, by landline and cell phone Oct. 23-26. For the full sample of 1,409 registered voters, the margin of error is +/- 2.7 percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of 1,164 likely voters is +/- 3.0 percentage points. This is the final Marquette Law School Poll before the Nov. 4 election.

The previous Marquette Law School Poll, conducted Oct. 9-12, found the race tied among likely voters, with the candidates holding 47 percent each, while 48 percent of registered voters supported Walker to Burke’s 45 percent support.

In the race for attorney general, among likely voters Republican Brad Schimel receives support from 43 percent and Democrat Susan Happ receives support from 39 percent, with 14 percent saying that they are undecided or don’t know for whom they will vote. Among registered voters, both candidates receive 40 percent support, with 16 percent yet to choose a candidate.

Turnout differences
“Shifting turnout intentions have provided most of the dynamics of the race this fall,” said Marquette Law School Poll director Charles Franklin. “While the results among all registered voters have varied between a tie and a 3-point Walker edge, the likely-voter results have ranged from a 2-point Burke advantage to the current 7-point Walker lead.”

In the current poll, 93 percent of Republicans say that they are certain to vote, while 82 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents say the same. Two weeks ago 82 percent of Republicans, and 80 percent of both Democrats and independents, said that they were certain to vote. By comparison, in the final Marquette Law School Poll before the 2012 gubernatorial recall election, 92 percent of Republicans, 77 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of independents said that they were certain to vote.

In August, 82 percent of Democrats said they were certain to vote while 77 percent of Republicans said so. In early September this reversed, with 80 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats saying they were certain to vote. Late in September, 80 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats said they were certain to vote. Independent intentions held steady in August and September between 67 and 69 percent.

Thirteen percent of registered voters said they had already voted either by absentee or in-person early voting, including 11 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of independents.

Gender gap and independent voters
After narrowing to just 2 percentage points in the previous poll, the gender gap in vote choice has returned. Among registered voters, Burke leads 50-40 among women and Walker leads 53-39 among men. Among likely voters, Burke’s lead among women is 49-43 while Walker’s lead among men is 58-36. In the six Marquette Law School Polls since July, Burke has averaged a 49-42 lead among women and Walker a 52-40 lead among men for registered voters. Among likely voters, Burke has averaged a 52-42 lead among women and Walker a 55-40 advantage among men.

Registered voters who described themselves as independents support Walker by 46 percent to 40 percent over Burke. Likely voters who are independents support Walker over Burke by 52 percent to 37 percent. Two weeks ago, among independents, Walker had a 45-42 advantage with registered voters, and Burke had a 45-44 edge with likely voters. In six polls since July, Walker has averaged a 46-42 advantage among registered voters who describe themselves as independents and a 50-42 margin among likely voters in this group.

Ninety-two percent of Republicans support Walker and 88 percent of Democrats support Burke among both registered and likely voters. Over the past six polls, among registered voters, 92 percent of Republicans support Walker and 90 percent of Democrats support Burke. Among likely voters in these polls, 94 percent of Republicans back Walker and 93 percent of Democrats favor Burke.

Images of the candidates
Burke’s favorability ratings have turned down in the latest poll, with 38 percent of registered voters viewing her favorably while 45 percent have an unfavorable view. In earlier polls in September and October, her favorable-unfavorable ratings were 36-35, 36-37 and 40-43. Among likely voters, her current favorable-unfavorable rating is 39-49, with the ratings in the three earlier polls since the beginning of September being, oldest to newest, 41-39, 40-44 and 44-44. Among registered voters, 17 percent lack an opinion of Burke, down from 69 percent in January. Among likely voters, 12 percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t know their view of Burke.

Walker’s favorable rating in the latest poll is 48 percent, with 47 percent unfavorable, among registered voters. His previous ratings since the beginning of September are 49-45, 47-47 and 48-48. Among likely voters he is currently seen favorably by 51 percent and unfavorably by 46 percent. His ratings among likely voters in the three most recent polls are, in chronological order, 52-46, 52-46 and 50-48.

Asked if “cares about people like you” describes Burke, 47 percent of registered voters say it does, while 41 percent say it does not and 12 percent say they don’t know. The previous poll found 49 percent saying “cares about you” described her while 36 percent said it did not and 14 percent said they didn’t know. Among likely voters, 47 percent say “cares” describes Burke while 43 percent say it does not, with 10 percent saying they don’t know. The previous poll had 52 percent of likely voters saying “cares” described Burke with 37 percent saying it did not.

For Walker, 46 percent of registered voters say “cares about you” describes him, while 50 percent say it does not and 3 percent say they don’t know. In the previous poll, 46 percent said this described him while 50 percent said it did not and 4 percent lacked an opinion. Among likely voters, 49 percent say “cares” describes Walker while 48 percent say it does not. Two weeks ago, 48 percent said this described him while 50 percent said it did not.

When it comes to being “able to get things done,” 42 percent of registered voters say this describes Burke while 41 percent say it does not, with 16 percent saying they don’t know. Two weeks ago, 44 percent said this described her while 38 percent said it did not, with 18 percent unable to say. Among likely voters, 43 percent say Burke can get things done while 43 percent say this does not describe her. The previous poll found 46 percent saying this described her with 39 percent saying it did not.

For Walker, 63 percent of registered voters say he is someone who is able to get things done while 33 percent disagree, with 3 percent unable to say. In the previous poll, 65 percent said he was someone able to get things done while 31 percent disagreed, with 3 percent unable to say. Among likely voters in the current poll, 65 percent say Walker can get things done, with 32 percent saying this does not describe him. Two weeks earlier, 67 percent said this described him while 30 percent said it did not.

Evaluation of conditions in the state
Fifty-one percent of registered voters say the state is headed in the right direction while 44 percent say it is off on the wrong track. Among likely voters, 54 percent say right direction and 42 percent say wrong track.

Asked if “all the changes in state government” over the last few years will make the state better or worse off in the long run, 51 percent of registered voters say better and 42 percent say worse. Among likely voters, 53 percent say better and 40 percent say worse.

Among registered voters, 44 percent say the state budget is in better shape than four years ago, while 27 percent say worse and 23 percent say it is in the same shape. Among likely voters, 48 percent say better, 26 percent say worse and 20 percent say it is the same.

Thirteen percent of registered voters say the state is creating jobs faster than other states, 38 percent say it is doing about the same as other states and 42 percent say Wisconsin is lagging behind other states. Among likely voters, 14 percent say it is creating jobs faster, 38 percent the same and 42 percent say it is lagging behind. Since January, those saying the state is lagging in job creation have varied between 40 and 48 percent of registered voters and between 42 and 51 percent among likely voters. Those thinking it is adding jobs faster or keeping pace have ranged from 41 to 52 percent among registered voters and from 40 to 52 percent among likely voters.

Among registered voters, 49 percent approve of the way Walker is handling his job as governor while 47 percent disapprove. Among likely voters, 52 percent approve and 46 percent disapprove. Two weeks ago, 48 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved among registered voters, while among likely voters 50 percent approved and 48 percent disapproved.

Issues
Public views are wide-ranging across a variety of issues discussed during the campaign and show only slight differences between registered and likely voters. Among registered voters:

  • Sixty percent say the state should accept federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage while 25 percent say it should reject that expansion.
  • Fifty-nine percent say the state should increase support to K-12 schools while 35 percent say current funding is sufficient.
  • Fifty-seven percent support increasing the minimum wage while 39 percent oppose it.
  • Fifty-six percent favor permitting same-sex marriage with 34 percent opposed.
  • Fifty-two percent oppose requiring an ultrasound for a woman seeking an abortion while 41 percent support requiring it.
  • Sixty percent support requiring a photo ID to vote, with 36 percent opposed.
  • Fifty-five percent support requiring drug tests for recipients of food stamps and unemployment benefits while 41 percent oppose such testing.
  • Fifty-four percent say people are unemployed due to a lack of skills while 36 percent say it is due to a lack of jobs.
  • Fifty-four percent have an unfavorable view of existing health care reform and 34 percent hold a favorable view of it.
  • Fifty percent say the limitations on unions due to Act 10 should be retained while 43 percent say collective bargaining should be restored for public employees.
  • Forty-nine percent support expanding private school vouchers statewide with 44 percent opposed.
  • Fifty-six percent say first-offense drunk driving should be a criminal misdemeanor, while 39 percent say it should result in a non-criminal ticket as is currently the law.
  • Forty-two percent support a casino in Kenosha with 37 percent opposed, almost the same as a year ago when 41 percent supported and 38 percent opposed. Support for a casino was as high as 50 percent, with 39 percent opposed, in mid-September.

Supporters of Walker and Burke hold sharply differing views on most of these issues. The greatest difference concerns the issue of Act 10 and collective bargaining. Seventy-nine percent of Burke voters would restore collective bargaining while just 9 percent of Walker supporters agree. Eighty-nine percent of Walker supporters favor requiring a photo ID to vote, a view held by 28 percent of Burke’s supporters. On minimum wage, 87 percent of Burke supporters favor an increase while 28 percent of Walker supporters do so. Eighty-eight percent of Burke supporters, versus 33 percent of Walker supporters, would accept federal funds to expand Medicaid. Eighty-six percent of Burke supporters think state funding for elementary and high schools should be increased, while 32 percent of Walker supporters favor this. On vouchers for private schools, 70 percent of Walker supporters favor expanding the voucher program, compared to 27 percent of Burke backers.

Two issues, approval of a casino in Kenosha and how to penalize first-offense drunk driving, stand out for their small differences between the two candidate’s supporters. Sixty-two percent of Burke supporters and 52 percent of Walker supporters favor criminal penalties for first offense OWI. Among Burke supporters, 39 percent support and 37 percent oppose the casino, while among Walker voters 44 percent favor and 36 percent oppose the casino.

Attorney general candidates
With less than two weeks to go until the election, the candidates for attorney general remain largely unknown to voters. Seventy-one percent of registered voters say they haven’t heard enough of or don’t have an opinion of Brad Schimel, while 68 percent of likely voters lack an opinion. Seventy-two percent lack an opinion of Susan Happ, as do 68 percent of likely voters.

Schimel is viewed favorably by 16 percent and unfavorably by 13 percent of registered voters, compared to poll results of 18 percent favorable and 14 percent unfavorable among likely voters. Happ receives 14 percent favorable and 14 percent unfavorable views among registered voters, while likely voters split, 16 percent favorable and 15 percent unfavorable.

On one issue the candidates have debated, 37 percent of registered voters say the attorney general should appeal when a court strikes down a state statute or constitutional provision while 46 percent say the attorney general should use his or her judgment as to whether an appeal is likely to be successful. Among likely voters, opinion divides almost the same, 38-47 percent.

Party composition of the sample
In this poll, Republicans make up 26 percent of the registered voter sample and 30 percent of the likely voter sample, with Democrats at 32 percent of both registered and likely voters. Independents are 39 percent of registered voters and 36 percent of likely voters.

Over all Marquette Law School Polls conducted in 2014, Republicans have averaged 26 percent of registered and 28 percent of likely voters, while Democrats have averaged 30 percent in both registered and likely voter samples. Independents have averaged 40 percent of registered and 38 percent of likely voters. In the previous poll, conducted Oct. 9-12, Republicans were 28 percent of registered and 29 percent of likely voters while Democrats were 31 percent of both registered and likely voters. Independents were 37 percent of both registered and likely voters.