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New Marquette Law School poll shows Walker leads GOP candidates

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MILWAUKEE -- The latest Marquette University Law School poll was released on Thursday afternoon, August 20th -- and it shows Gov. Scott Walker still leads in the race for president among Republicans.

The latest poll results show 25 percent favoring Walker.

"I think that largely reflects that other candidates are now serious contenders and in April they really were not well known at all here in the state and he is. But it also may suggest that you know that he does not have a lock on support within the party," said Charles Franklin, professor of law and public policy and director of the Marquette Law School Poll.

Ben Carson has 13 percent support, Donald Trump 9 percent, Ted Cruz 8 percent, Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio each have 7 percent support. In an April poll, Walker held 40 percent support, Rand Paul was at 10 percent and everyone else had less.

Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton leads for president at 44 percent. Bernie Sanders has 32 percent support, Joe Biden 12 percent and others less than one percent.

In possible head-to-head elections for president (Wisconsin voters only), It's Clinton 47 percent, Jeb Bush 42 percent -- Clinton 52 percent, Walker 42 percent.

"It does show like most national polling that Clinton maintains a small to a moderate lead among most if not all of the Republican field," said Franklin. "I think you have to take all of these trial heats with a huge grain of salt. When they're so far out, we don't even know how these candidates will campaign against each other; what issues they will emphasize."

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.

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.

The poll was conducted by landline and cell phone from August 13th through the 16th. 802 people were surveyed. 334 people identified themselves as Republicans or leaning Republican -- 396 identified as being Democrat or leaning Democratic. The margin of error in the poll is 4.3 points.

 

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