On Monday, March 5, the Marquette Law School released its newest poll numbers on a range of state and national topics. As the first significant poll of the 2018 election season, it offers interesting insight into what issues voters are prioritizing before heading to the polls in November.
Among the highlights are Governor Walker’s approval ratings, public opinion on the Foxconn deal, and voters’ perceptions of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates.
According the poll, Governor Walker’s holds a 47 percent job approval rating. That number has held relatively steady over the course of the 2017-18 legislative session. Walker’s disapproval rating is also at 47 percent, which is down slightly from previous polls. The decrease in the governor’s disapproval rating with a lack of an increase in approval numbers may mean there are undecided voters the Walker campaign will look to target this year.
Perhaps more encouraging for Walker and legislative Republicans, 53 percent of those polled indicated the state is headed in the right direction versus the 44 percent who feel Wisconsin is on the wrong track.
The poll also found 63 percent of those polled stated they would rather see an increase in education spending than a tax reduction. The number is timely considering legislators are currently weighing the benefits of a plan to cut taxes.
The most buzz-worthy poll number among political spectators seems to be the public’s perception of the Foxconn deal. The poll states 49 percent believe the economic benefits of the Foxconn plant will not be worth the $3 billion economic incentive package the state provided the Taiwanese company. Just 38 percent of those polled believe the package was worth the money.
The numbers seem to indicate a certain amount of skepticism among the public that Foxconn can in fact create up to 13,000 jobs and be a major economic driver for the state. Only time will tell if public perception can change.
Finally, the poll seemed to show who the frontrunners in the Democratic gubernatorial primary may be. State Superintendent Tony Evers had the highest favorability rating at 20 percent among 9 candidates. Madison Mayor Paul Soglin came in second at 15 percent with former Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Matt Flynn at 13 percent and State Senator Kathleen Vinehout at 12 percent. They were the only four to have double digit favorability ratings.
However, all four seem to lack name identity. 48 percent said they had not heard enough about Tony Ever. 51 percent said the same of Soglin with 57 percent for Flynn and 55 percent for Vinehout. The primary task over the coming months for every Democratic primary candidate will be to educate voters on who they are and why they’re running.
The poll was conducted among 800 registered voters between February 25 and March 1. The next Marquette Law School poll will likely be released in June.