Marquette University News Release

New Marquette Law School Poll finds Walker, Evers tied in Wisconsin’s race for governor

October 31, 2018

Baldwin leads Vukmir for Senate; close race for state attorney general

Please note: Complete poll results and methodology information can be found online at law.marquette.edu/poll

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll of Wisconsin voters finds a tie in the state’s race for governor, with incumbent Republican Scott Walker and Democrat challenger Tony Evers each receiving 47 percent support among likely voters. Libertarian candidate Phil Anderson receives 3 percent, and only 1 percent say they lack a preference or do not lean to a candidate. One percent declined to respond to the question. Likely voters are defined as those who say they are certain to vote in the Nov. 6 election. In the most recent Marquette Law School Poll, conducted Oct. 3-7, Walker was supported by 47 percent, Evers by 46 percent and Anderson by 5 percent among likely voters.

In the race for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat, Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin leads among likely voters with 54 percent supporting her, while 43 percent support Republican challenger Leah Vukmir. Only 2 percent say they lack a preference or do not lean toward a candidate and 1 percent did not respond. In early October, Baldwin was supported by 53 percent and Vukmir by 43 percent.

In the race for Wisconsin attorney general, Republican incumbent Brad Schimel is the choice of 47 percent and Democrat Josh Kaul is the choice of 45 percent of likely voters. Seven percent lack a preference in this race and 2 percent did not respond. In the early October poll, Schimel held 47 percent and Kaul 43 percent of likely voters.

Among all registered voters surveyed in the poll, Walker receives 47 percent in the race for governor, with Evers receiving 44 percent and Anderson at 5 percent.

In the Senate race, among all registered voters, Baldwin receives 52 percent and Vukmir 42 percent.

For attorney general, registered voters give Schimel 45 percent and Kaul 43 percent.

The poll was conducted Oct. 24-28, 2018. The sample included 1,400 registered voters in Wisconsin interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. For likely voters, the sample size is 1,154 and the margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points.

How turnout could affect election results

The results for likely voters are based on the definition that the Marquette Law School Poll has used since it began in 2012: those who say they are certain they will vote in November. Alternative models of likely voters could be broader, including those saying they are less than certain to vote, or could include enthusiasm and attention to politics. Table 1 shows the vote for governor by alternative measures of likelihood of turnout averaging over certainty of voting, enthusiasm and attention to politics. Evers’ percentage of the vote generally rises when turnout is projected to be lower,  while Walker’s vote percentage changes little in different projections of turnout.

 

Table 1: Vote for governor by alternative likely voter models

EversWalkerAnderson
All Registered44475
90% of Registered47474
80% of Registered47483
Standard Likely Voter47473
70% of Registered48482

Vote for the Senate using different assumptions about voter turnout is shown in  Table 2.

 

Table 2: Vote for Senate by alternative likely voter models

BaldwinVukmir
All Registered5242
90% of Registered5443
80% of Registered5344
Standard Likely Voter5443
70% of Registered5345

Vote for attorney general by different likely voter criteria is shown in Table 3.

 

Table 3: Vote for attorney general by alternative likely voter models

KaulSchimel
All Registered4345
90% of Registered4546
80% of Registered4547
Standard Likely Voter4547
70% of Registered4548

Favorability and awareness of candidates

Table 4 shows favorable, unfavorable and unable-to-rate percentages in the early and late October polls.

 

Table 4: Favorability and awareness of candidates, Oct. 24-28 and Oct. 3-7, among likely voters

Oct 24-28: FavOct 24-28: UnfavOct 24-28: Not Heard/DKOct 3-7: FavOct 3-7: UnfavOct 3-7: Not Heard/DK
Evers424117413820
Vukmir334324304327
Kaul16127210881
Anderson34924591
Walker4849348492
Baldwin4943849429
Schimel292545322246

 

Most important issues

Among likely voters, 25 percent say health coverage is their most important issue, followed by 20 percent choosing K-12 education and 20 percent picking jobs and the economy. The condition of roads ranks fourth, with 12 percent choosing it as most important.

Asked for their second-most-important issue, the condition of roads rises to the top 3, with K-12 education first at 20 percent, health coverage at 18 percent and the condition of roads at 16 percent. Jobs and the economy is picked by 13 percent.

The full set of most-important-issue responses is shown in Table 5.

Table 5: Most important issues facing Wisconsin

Most important2nd most important1st or 2nd
Health coverage251843
K-12 education202040
Jobs and the economy201333
Condition of state roads, highways and bridges121628
Cutting taxes71017
Prisons and the criminal justice system51015
Something else549
The UW System257
Don’t know325
State aid to local government235
Refused000

 

Among those ranking health coverage as their most important issue, Evers is supported by 65 percent and Walker by 32 percent. For those saying K-12 education is their top issue, 70 percent support Evers and 21 percent back Walker. Those who say jobs and economy are most important give Walker 74 percent to Evers’ 20 percent. Those most concerned about roads support Evers with 50 percent and Walker with 47 percent.

In the Senate race, among those ranking health coverage as their most important issue, Baldwin receives 70 percent and Vukmir 27 percent. For those saying K-12 education is their top issue, 73 percent support Baldwin and 24 percent back Vukmir. Those who say jobs and economy is most important give Vukmir 71 percent to Baldwin’s 26 percent. Those most concerned about roads support Baldwin with 63 percent and Vukmir with 36 percent.

Voting groups

The electorate has become increasingly segmented by gender and education among white voters, with longer-standing differences by race. Table 6 shows preference for governor among white males and females by education, and for non-whites or Hispanic likely voters. The sample size for non-white or Hispanic voters is too small to analyze by gender and education.

 

Table 6: Vote for governor by race, gender and education among likely voters

White, Male, NoncollegeWhite, Female, NoncollegeWhite, Male, CollegeWhite, Female, CollegeNonwhite or Hispanic
Evers3949475453
Walker5844524237
Anderson23137

Evers receives his strongest support from white, female college graduates and from nonwhite and Hispanic voters, while Walker does best with white, male noncollege graduates and has a smaller lead among white males with a college degree. Non-college white females give the edge to Evers.

Partisans are strongly supporting their party’s candidate, but independents are currently favoring Evers by 7 percentage points, as shown in Table 7.

 

Table 7: Vote for governor by Party ID among likely voters

RepDemInd
Evers39349
Walker96342
Anderson035

Preferences in the contest for U.S. Senate by race, gender and education are shown in Table 8. Baldwin does best with white, female college graduates, but also holds a substantial advantage among non-college white females. White college males tilt slightly to Baldwin, and Vukmir has a substantial advantage with non-college white males. Baldwin has a substantial lead among non-white and Hispanic voters.

 

Table 8: Vote for senate by race, gender and education among likely voters

White, Male, NoncollegeWhite, Female, NoncollegeWhite, Male, CollegeWhite, Female, CollegeNonwhite or Hispanic
Baldwin4356516265
Vukmir5640483530

The senate vote by party is shown in Table 9. Partisan alignments are strong, although Vukmir’s support among Republicans is not as strong as Baldwin’s is among Democrats. Independents favor Baldwin.

 

Table 9: Vote for senate by party ID among likely voters

RepDemInd
Baldwin89759
Vukmir91237

In the attorney general race, the poll results are shown in Table 10 and Table 11. Schimel has a lead among both non-college and college white males, while Kaul has an advantage with both college and non-college white females and among non-white and Hispanic voters.

 

Table 10: Vote for attorney general by race, gender and education among likely voters

White, Male, NoncollegeWhite, Female, NoncollegeWhite, Male, CollegeWhite, Female, CollegeNonwhite or Hispanic
Kaul3849415151
Schimel5842534137

 

Table 11: Vote for attorney general by party ID among likely voters

RepDemInd
Kaul68745
Schimel89942

Schimel holds 89 percent of Republican support while Kaul receives 87 percent support from Democrats. Independents give Schimel 42 percent and Kaul 45 percent. Both candidates for attorney general remain less well-known than the gubernatorial and senate candidates.

State issues

Fifty-five percent of registered Wisconsin voters see the state as headed in the right direction while 40 percent think the state is off on the wrong track. In early October, 54 percent said right direction and 40 percent said wrong track. In late October 2014, 51 percent said the state was headed in the right direction and 44 percent said it was on the wrong track.

Among likely voters in the current poll, 54 percent say the state is headed in the right direction and 42 percent think the state is off on the wrong track.

Thirty-seven percent of registered voters think the state budget is in better shape than a few years ago, while 29 percent say it is about the same and 25 percent say the budget is in worse shape. In late October 2014, 44 percent said the budget was in better shape than a few years earlier, 23 percent said it was about the same and 27 percent said the budget was in worse shape.

Taxes and spending

When asked to balance property taxes with spending for public schools, registered voters say they would rather increase spending on public schools than reduce property taxes, by a 55 percent to 40 percent margin. Support for additional spending on public schools has increased since the question was first asked in 2013. The full trend on this issue is shown in Table 12.

 

Table 12: Trend in property tax vs school spending opinion, 2013-2018 among registered voters

Cut property taxesIncrease school spending
3/11-13/134946
5/6-9/134946
4/7-10/154054
2/25-3/1/183363
6/13-17/183559
8/15-19/183261
9/12-16/183857
10/3-7/183757
10/24-28/184055

For those likely voters who rank K-12 education as their most important issue, 84 percent would increase school spending while 14 percent would hold down property taxes. For those who do not rank K-12 education as the most important issue, 49 percent would increase spending while 45 percent would hold down taxes.

Fifty-eight percent of registered voters think that salary and benefits for teachers in Wisconsin should be higher, 32 percent say they are about right and 4 percent think salary and benefits for teachers should be lower than they are now.

Asked what would be their first priority for improving student success in Wisconsin schools, 28 percent choose improved parenting while 25 percent pick more resources for schools. Twelve percent say more options for choosing schools and 11 percent say improved teaching. Improved early childhood programs is the choice of 9 percent, and 7 percent say better school leadership.

Roads

While respondents would pay higher taxes to increase spending on public schools, they are unwilling to increase gas taxes and vehicle registration fees in order to increase spending on roads.

Fifty-nine percent say it is more important to keep gas taxes and vehicle registration fees where they are now, while 36 percent say it is more important to raise gas taxes and registration fees in order to spend more on roads and highways. In early October, 61 percent preferred to keep taxes and fees down while 32 percent said they would increase taxes in order to spend more on roads.

Among likely voters who rank roads as their most important issue, 51 percent are willing to increase gas taxes and registration fees. Among those who do not rank roads as the most important issue, 60 percent are not willing to change taxes and registration fees. This is shown in Table 13.

Table 13: Increase gas tax/fees by rank roads as most important issue for likely voters

No gas tax/fee increaseIncrease tax, spending on roadsDK
Roads most important issue48511
Other most important issue60354

Foxconn

Forty-one percent of registered voters think the Foxconn plant will provide at least as much value as the state is investing in the plant, while 40 percent think the state is paying more than the Foxconn plant is worth. Eighteen percent say they don’t know if the plant will be worth it or not. This question was first asked in March 2018, and this is the first time that more voters said Foxconn would be worth as much as the state is providing in support.

A majority (58 percent) of registered voters statewide believe the Foxconn plant will substantially improve the economy of the greater Milwaukee area, while 27 percent do not think it will and 15 percent say they don’t know.

When asked if businesses where the respondent lives will benefit from Foxconn, 33 percent say businesses will benefit directly from the Foxconn plant, while 55 percent say their local businesses will not benefit and 12 percent don’t know.

Opioids

Eleven percent of registered voters say the state has done a lot to address the issue of opioid addiction, with 29 percent saying the state has done a fair amount about the issue. Thirty-two percent say the state has done only a little and 18 percent say it has done almost nothing. Ten percent say they don’t know what the state has done with respect to the opioid issue.

Walker job approval

Fifty percent of registered voters say they approve of how Walker is doing his job, while 46 percent disapprove. The trend in approval since June 2018 is shown in Table 14. In October 2014, 48 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved.

 

Table 14: Scott Walker job approval trend among registered voters

ApproveDisapproveDon’t know
June 201849473
July 201847457
August 201848456
September 201844505
October 3-7 201848475
October 24-28 201850463

 

Baldwin favorability

Among all registered voters (see Table 4, above, for likely voters), 45 percent have a favorable opinion of Baldwin and 40 percent are unfavorable. Baldwin is not rated by 14 percent. The trend in Baldwin favorability since June is shown in Table 15.

 

Table 15: Tammy Baldwin favorability trend among registered voters

FavorableUnfavorableHaven’t heard enough/DK
June 2018414315
July 2018414018
August 2018434017
September 2018453916
October 3-7, 2018454014
October 24-28, 2018454014

Health coverage

A large majority of registered voters, 82 percent, say the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that preexisting conditions be covered by insurance companies is very important to them. Thirteen percent say such coverage is somewhat important, with 2 percent saying it is not too important and 1 percent saying it is not at all important.

Views of President Trump

President Donald Trump has a 47 percent approval rating, with 50 percent disapproving. In the previous Marquette Law School Poll in early October, his approval was 46 percent, with 51 percent disapproving. Partisans are deeply divided on Trump’s job performance, as shown in Table 16.

 

Table 16: Trump job approval by party ID among registered voters

RepDemInd
Approve92641
Disapprove69455
DK203

Trump’s influence on, and divisions within, the Republican party

Asked if Trump has changed the Republican party—and if so, how—28 percent say he has changed it for the better, while 47 percent say he has changed it for the worse and 21 percent say he hasn’t changed it much either way.

Partisans have differing views of Trump’s effect on his party, as seen in Table 17.

 

Table 17: How Trump has changed GOP, by party ID among registered voters

RepLean RepIndLean DemDem
For better63381341
For worse920457586
Not changed2434332010

 

Political interaction

Twenty-seven percent of registered voters say they have tried to convince someone to vote for or against a particular candidate, while 72 percent say they have not done so.

Forty-six percent say they talk with family and friends about politics more than once a week and 23 percent talk about politics once a week. Thirteen percent talk once or twice a month and 9 percent talk a few times a year. Nine percent say they never talk politics with family or friends.

Thirty-three percent say they have stopped talking about politics with someone because of disagreements about the elections. In October 2014, 27 percent said the same.

Attention to campaign events

Registered voters are paying varying amounts of attention to campaign events and debates in Wisconsin. Table 18 shows the attention paid to President Trump’s campaign rallies and to the debates for governor, senator and attorney general.

 

Table 18: Attention paid to campaign rallies and debates

Watch at least some liveFollowed news closelySaw some coverage but don’t follow closelyDid not pay much attention
Trump rallies18242829
Governor debates12132151
Senate debates13122053
Attorney general debates171178

Enthusiasm for voting

Overall, 70 percent of registered voters say they are very enthusiastic about voting in this year’s elections, with 19 percent somewhat enthusiastic and 10 percent either not very or not at all enthusiastic.

Among Republicans, 74 percent are very enthusiastic, while among Democrats 81 percent are. Among independents, 58 percent say they are very enthusiastic about voting this year. In early October, 70 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Democrats were very enthusiastic, with 59 percent of independents.

About the Marquette Law School Poll

The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 1,400 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone, Oct. 24-28, 2018. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points for the full sample.

For likely voters the sample size is 1,154 and the margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points.

Fourteen issue questions were asked of half the sample. Questions on Form A have a sample size of 691 and a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points. Questions on Form B have a sample size of 709 and a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points. Form A asks four questions about political conversations and three questions about Foxconn. Form B items include views of tariffs, free trade agreements, undocumented immigrants, abortion, how the state has handled opioids and two items on education concerning teacher salaries and priorities for improving education.

The partisan makeup of the sample, including those who lean to a party, is 47 percent Republican, 45 percent Democratic and 7 percent independent. The long-term total for the previous 49 statewide Marquette polls, with 44,152 respondents, is 43 percent Republican and 47 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup of the current sample, excluding those who lean to a party, is 32 percent Republican, 30 percent Democratic and 37 percent independent, compared to the long-term totals of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 41 percent independent.

Among likely voters, the partisan makeup of the sample, including those who lean to a party, is 46 percent Republican, 47 percent Democratic and 6 percent independent. The partisan composition among likely voters, excluding those who lean to a party, is 33 percent Republican, 32 percent Democratic and 33 percent independent.

The entire questionnaire, methodology statement, full results and breakdowns by demographic groups are available at law.marquette.edu/poll/results-and-data.

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About Chris Jenkins


Chris Jenkins

Chris is the Associate Director of University Communication in the Office of Marketing and Communication. Contact Chris at (414) 288-4745 or christopher.t.jenkins@marquette.edu. View all posts by .