MU Law School poll shows views on guns, education & economy

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — A new Marquette Law School poll released Tuesday, March 19th shows Wisconsin registered voters’ views on guns, education and the economy.

The poll finds a large majority of Wisconsin registered voters in favor of background checks for buyers at private gun sales and at gun shows, with 81% supporting background checks and 18% opposed.

The public was more divided on a possible ban on assault-style weapons with 54% supporting a ban and 43% opposed. Among gun owners, 46% support a ban while 52% oppose a ban. Among households without a gun, 64% support a ban while 32% oppose banning assault-style weapons.

Opinions about public schools and the state education budget show a wide range of views. Respondents have a very favorable view of public schools, with 72% favorable and 18% unfavorable, and of public school teachers, 76% favorable and 14% unfavorable.

Parents with children under 18 in the household tend to hold slightly more favorable views of public schools than people without children in the home.

Views on voucher schools are more evenly divided with 27% favorable to 24 % unfavorable, but with the largest group, 49%, saying they either haven’t heard enough to have an opinion or don’t know what they think of voucher schools.

A large majority of voters, 81%, are either very satisfied or satisfied with the public schools in their community, with 14% either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. Among parents with children in the household 84% say they are satisfied or very satisfied, while 13% are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

There is general support for increases in spending on public schools, though reluctance to see property taxes increase for this purpose. Eight percent would like to see spending on public schools reduced, while 17% would keep spending at the current level.

Wisconsin voters are, on balance, willing to pay for highway projects through tolls by a 53% to 44% margin.

Views on residency requirements were split, with 53% of respondents favor eliminating a residency requirement, while 42% believe employees should be required to live where they work. Residents of the city of Milwaukee favored retaining the residency requirement, 49% to 48% for eliminating it, while in the other counties of the metropolitan Milwaukee area 68%  favored eliminating the residency requirement while 28% supported it.

President Barack Obama’s job approval stands at 48%, with 45% disapproval. In late October, just before the presidential election, his approval was 51 percent with 44% disapproval. Fifty percent approve of the job Governor Scott Walker is doing while 44% disapprove. In October his approval was 49 percent with disapproval at 45%.

Wisconsin’s U.S. senators are viewed more favorably than unfavorably, but a substantial number of voters say they don’t know the senators well enough to have an opinion. Senator Ron Johnson receives a favorable rating from 30% and an unfavorable rating from 25%, but 44% say they can’t give an opinion of him. Newly-elected Senator Tammy Baldwin is viewed favorably by 39% and unfavorably by 36% with 25% unable to rate her.

Congressman and former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan is viewed favorably by 45 percent, while 37%  have an unfavorable view of him and 18% are unable to give a rating. Congressman Ron Kind is far less well-known statewide, with 74% unable to give a rating, while 16 percent give a favorable and 9% give an unfavorable opinion of him.

Complete poll results and methodology information can be found online at

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