Marquette University (MU) Law School has released its second poll of 2019, analyzing voter opinions on the governor, the legislature, national politicians, and policy issues. The April 10 poll surveyed 800 Wisconsin voters from April 3-7.
Overall, voters who believe Wisconsin is going in the right direction were down to 52 percent, from 57 percent in the previous January poll. Those who believe Wisconsin is on the wrong track increased to 40 percent from 33 percent in January.
Gov. Tony Evers has gained significant name recognition since the previous poll. In January, 38 percent did not know whether they approved or disapproved of the governor. That number dropped to 15 percent in the April poll. Evers’s approval increased from 39 percent to 47 percent. However there were also more voters in this poll who disapproved of Evers, up to 37 percent from 22 percent in January.
Voters generally do not have strong opinions about the governor. 24 percent strongly approve, compared to 23 percent who somewhat approve. 14 percent somewhat disapprove, compared to 23 percent who strongly disapprove.
Evers’s favorable ratings looked similar to his approval numbers. Evers saw a boost to 48 percent viewing him favorably, up from 41 percent in January. However, his unfavorability also increased, up to 35 percent from 24 percent in January. Again, name recognition of the governor is improving. Just 12 percent have not heard enough to state an opinion about Evers, compared to 28 percent in January.
The Republican Wisconsin legislature slightly beats the Democratic governor’s approval ratings, with approval at 50 percent. 38 percent disapprove of the legislature, compared to the governor’s 37 percent. The legislature’s approval ratings dropped slightly since the previous poll.
A significant portion of voters still haven’t heard enough to form an opinion about the legislature’s leaders Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). 14 percent of voters view Vos as favorable, about the same as in the previous poll. Unfavorable opinions of Vos increased three points since January to 21 percent. Similarly, unfavorable opinions of Fitzgerald increased three points to 22 percent. Voters viewing Fitzgerald as favorable decreased from 24 percent to 22 percent since January.
With a split government in Wisconsin for the first time in over a decade, the poll measured voters’ views on cooperation between the Democratic governor and Republican legi
slature. The poll showed voters see Gov. Evers as more willing to cooperate than the legislature with 48 percent saying Evers is trying to cooperate, and only 25 percent saying legislative leaders are trying to cooperate.
The April poll asked voters several policy questions, analyzing reactions to ideas proposed in Evers’s 2019-21 state budget. Republicans have already stated that many, if not all, of these items will be nonstarters for inclusion in their amended budget. Policy poll results include:
- 59 percent of voters support legal marijuana. 83 percent support legalization of medical marijuana.
- 70 percent of voters think Wisconsin should accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars.
- 57 percent support raising the minimum wage.
- Voters were split 49 percent to 45 percent on raising the age at which defendants are considered adults in criminal cases from 17 years old to 18 years old.
Additionally, transportation revenue will continue to be a contentious issue on both sides of the aisle in this budget. Gov. Evers has proposed increasing the gas tax and vehicle registration fees, an idea that could gain traction among some Republican legislators. 39 percent of voters in the April poll agreed that Wisconsin should raise the gas tax to increase spending on roads. However, 57 percent said it is more important to keep the gas tax and fees at their current rate.
President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump’s approval remains about the same as in the January poll. 46 percent approve of the president, while 52 percent disapprove. Voters also continue to have strong opinions on Donald Trump, with 30 percent who strongly approve compared to 16 percent who somewhat approve. 44 percent strongly disapprove while just 8 percent somewhat disapprove.
Trump’s favorable rating was up to 45 percent, three points above his January numbers. His unfavorable rating also decreased by two points, with 51 percent having an unfavorable opinion of the president, compared to 53 percent in January.
2020 Democratic Primary
The poll asked voters for the second time about their preferences for the 2020 Democratic primary, and the results were largely unchanged from the January poll, despite more candidates jumping into the race since then. Top choices were again Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden. Those who more than 25 percent of respondents said would be an “acceptable choice” also included: California U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, former Texas U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.