New MU Law Poll: Cruz leads; Bradley gains on Kloppenburg; Walker’s approval rating improves

The nation’s politicos are buzzing after the Marquette Law School Poll found Ted Cruz is up with a ten-point lead over Donald Trump in the April 5 Wisconsin presidential primary. If Trump loses in Wisconsin, the GOP is one step closer to a brokered or contested convention.

Among the Republican candidates, Trump has led in the polls in Wisconsin since September, except for a short blip when Ben Carson led in November. This week’s poll is good news for Cruz, who has recently been campaigning heavily in the state. The poll found that 40 percent of potential GOP primary voters supported Cruz, followed by 30 percent for Trump and 21 percent for John Kasich.

In Wisconsin GOP delegates are allocated by congressional district and popular vote. Candidates receive three delegates for every congressional district they win and the candidate who receives the most votes statewide will receive an additional 18 delegates. In total, there are 42 delegates available.

Joe Handrick, a Wisconsin poll expert, released the chart below to illustrate the likely breakdown of the congressional district GOP winners. The chart shows that Cruz has the advantage on the eastern side of the state, with strong advantages in the 4th and 5th Congressional Districts and a leading advantage in the 1st, 6th and 8th Congressional Districts. Kasich has the advantage in the 2nd Congressional District (Dane and other south-central counties). The only districts where Trump has the lead are in the 3rd Congressional District (western counties) and the 7th Congressional District (northern counties). However, Trump’s one point advantage in these districts makes them a toss-up. 

In the Democratic primary, the Marquette Law School Poll found the gap between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is widening. Sanders leads 49 percent to 45 percent over Clinton among potential Democratic primary voters. In February, Sanders only led by one percent. All delegates in the Democratic primary are allocated proportionally.

The poll also found that in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election on April 5 Justice Rebecca Bradley leads Judge Joanne Kloppenburg 41 to 36 percent, with 18 percent still undecided. In a February poll, Bradley only led Kloppenburg 37 to 36 percent.

In other state news, the poll found Governor Scott Walker’s approval rating is improving. Currently, 43 percent of Wisconsinites approve of the job he’s doing, while 53 percent disapprove. This is the first time the governor topped above a 40 percent approval rating since he entered the presidential race last July. 

The Marquette Law School Poll is the last major poll to be conducted in Wisconsin before the April 5 primary next week.