On Wednesday, March 22, Marquette University Law School released its latest poll that compiled interviews with 800 registered Wisconsin voters between March 13-16, 2017. The poll gauged public opinion of Wisconsin and nationally elected officials, as well as pertinent issues circulating at the state and national level.
President Trump’s approval rating among registered voters was 41 percent, with 47 disapproving of him and 11 percent lacking a clear opinion. Although Trump’s approval rating remained historically low for a president in the “honeymoon” phase of their presidency, citing poll director Charles Franklin’s description of a recently elected official, his favorability improved since the November election. Thirty-three percent found Trump favorable with 62 offering an unfavorable rating in the Marquette Law School poll conducted between Oct. 26-31, 2016. Two months into his presidency, 42 percent viewed Trump favorably and 48 percent viewed him unfavorably. For Republican respondents, Trump’s favorability increased significantly from 67 percent favorable in October 2016 to 90 percent favorable in the most recent poll. Meanwhile, Democratic opinion of Trump remained constant, with 4 percent viewing him favorable in October 2016 and five percent viewing him favorable in the latest poll.
Concerning health care reform, the Marquette Law School poll asked respondents whether they would like to see Congress change the Affordable Care Act. Fifty-four percent of registered voters would keep but improve the law, 28 percent would repeal and replace the law, eight percent would repeal the law outright, and six percent would keep the law with no reform. Opinions of the law varied significantly on partisan lines, with 61 percent of Republicans favoring repeal and replace of the law and only four percent of Democrats favoring to do so. Moreover, 75 percent of Democrats favored keeping and improving the law in contrast with only 24 percent of Republicans supporting this option. 60 percent of independents would keep and improve the law. Notably, all respondents viewed the law more favorably when pollsters described it as “the Affordable Care Act,” compared to when it was described as “Obamacare.”
The Marquette Law School poll documented respondents’ opinions of Wisconsin officials, including Gov. Scott Walker, Speaker Paul Ryan, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson. Forty-five percent of registered voters approved of Gov. Walker while 48 percent disapproved. This is an improvement from 42 percent approval and 51 percent disapproval in October 2016. Forty-five percent of registered voters viewed Speaker Ryan favorably while 38 percent viewed him unfavorably, a drop from his 47 percent favorability and a rise from his 36 percent unfavorable rating in October 2016. Sen. Tammy Baldwin had a 40 percent favorability rating with 35 percent of respondents holding an unfavorable view of her. Sen. Ron Johnson held a 39 percent favorability rating with 34 percent viewing him as unfavorable.
The poll additionally evaluated public opinion on state issues and conditions. Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated that the state is moving in the right direction, with 47 percent offering that it was on the wrong track. Ten percent affirmed the state is adding jobs more quickly than other states, with 39 percent stating that Wisconsin’s rate of job addition is equal to other states, and another 39 percent stating Wisconsin is adding jobs at a slower rate than other states. Twenty-nine percent viewed the state budget in better condition than a few years ago, with 28 percent stating it is in the same condition, and 33 percent viewing it as worse. Pertaining to the budget, increased aid to K-12 education was widely popular, with 80 percent in favor of the aid and 17 percent opposing it. Forty-four percent of respondents would take money from other parts of the budget to pay for transportation shortfalls, with 35 percent instead supporting increased taxes and fees. Moreover, nine percent would reduce construction and maintenance to account for transportation needs, and only three percent would continue to borrow funds. Overall, 38 percent of registered voters approved of Republican legislators with 49 disapproving. Likewise, 36 percent approved of Democratic legislators and 49 disapproved.
A variety of other issues were polled, including opinions on the Russian effort to influence the 2016 election, immigration policy under the Trump administration, and the pending Supreme Court appointments.