The latest Marquette University (MU) Law School poll was released on July 13, 2016. The views of Wisconsin’s registered voters remained mostly unchanged from the last poll, conducted in June. Donald Trump continues to trail Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold maintains a lead over Sen. Ron Johnson, and Gov. Walker continues to see weak approval ratings. The poll also shows high unfavorable ratings for both presidential candidates.
In a survey of 1,405 voters conducted July 7-10, 2016, the MU Law poll found Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump 43 to 37 percent in a head-to-head matchup. Eleven percent of responders say they will vote for neither candidate. However, when the poll included Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, the results shifted somewhat. Clinton still leads with 40 percent, followed by Trump with 33 percent, Johnson received 10 percent and Stein, four percent. To participate in the general election debates that begin in September, a candidate must receive 15 percent in an average of five national public polls. It is unclear right now whether the former Governor of New Mexico and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson will meet this threshold. Currently, Johnson is polling around eight percent nationally.
The poll found that 80 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters are certain to vote in November. This is up from 78 percent in the June poll. On the Democratic side, 78 percent responded they were certain to vote in November, down from 84 percent last month. These recent polls highlight the prolonged struggle in both parties to unify behind their nominees. However, both Republicans and Democrats will probably see these numbers inch upward now that the conventions are over and vice presidential running mates have been selected.
This poll continues to demonstrate the unfavorable views voters have for both presidential candidates. Donald Trump is viewed unfavorable by 63 percent of registered voters and viewed favorable by 29 percent. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton received an unfavorable rating of 58 percent and a favorable rating of 36 percent. These are some of the highest unfavorable ratings for major party candidates in recent history.
In the Wisconsin Senate election, polling found that among registered voters, Russ Feingold leads Sen. Ron Johnson 48 to 41 percent. When the metric was shifted to likely voters, however, the gap closes slightly and Russ Feingold leads Sen. Ron Johnson 49 to 44 percent. This gap was 51 to 42 percent favoring Feingold in a mid-June poll.
Feingold was viewed favorably by 40 percent and unfavorably by 32 percent, 27 percent with no opinion. Sen. Johnson received 34 percent favorable and 35 percent unfavorable rating, with 32 percent with no opinion. Given that many voters still having no opinion on either candidate, both candidates will likely push heavy advertisements in coming months to try and move poll numbers in their favor.
The poll found continued low approval ratings for Gov. Walker, with 38 percent approval and 58 percent disapproval. In June, he had a 39 percent approval rating and a 57 percent disapproval rating. Walker credits his short-lived presidential run for his low approval rating and cites that he is still viewed more favorable than both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Wisconsin.
The margin of error in the poll is +/- 4.1 percentage points for registered voters and +/- 4.5 percentage points for likely voters.
The next MU Law School poll, likely coming out sometime in August, may see somewhat shifting numbers as it will be conducted after the state primary and the parties are consolidating around their respective nominees.