Marquette University
Press Release

New Marquette Law School Poll finds shifts in Wisconsin public opinion favorable to President Trump on impeachment and presidential election preferences

Trump holds small leads over each of four top Democratic candidates for president in head-to-head matchups in the new survey

By - Nov 20th, 2019 01:16 pm
Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

MILWAUKEE – Even as hearings that could lead to President Donald Trump’s impeachment heat up, a new Marquette University Law School poll of Wisconsin registered voters finds consistent, if sometimes modest, shifts in public opinion away from support of impeachment and toward supporting Trump in next year’s presidential election

For example, Trump holds small leads over each of four top Democratic candidates for president in head-to-head matchups in the new survey, while three of the Democrats held small leads over Trump in the previous poll.

While the shifts in opinion on both impeachment and presidential preferences are not large, they are consistent across multiple questions in the poll. That includes increases in support for Trump’s work on foreign policy and the economy.

The poll was conducted Nov. 13-17, 2019. The sample included 801 registered voters in Wisconsin interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points.

Opinions on impeachment overall

In the new poll, 40 percent of registered voters think that Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 53 percent do not think so and 6 percent say that they do not know.

In October, before public hearings began, 44 percent favored impeachment and removal from office, while 51 percent were opposed, and 4 percent said they didn’t know.

The November results also find that 52 percent say they believe Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rivals, while 29 percent believe Trump did not do this. Eighteen percent say they don’t know if Trump asked this or not.

Forty-one percent believe Trump withheld military aid to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rivals, while 38 percent do not believe Trump did this and 21 percent say they don’t know.

Forty-two percent say that Trump did something seriously wrong in his dealings with Ukraine, 9 percent say he did something wrong but not seriously so, and 38 percent say Trump did nothing wrong. Eleven percent say they don’t know.

Views of impeachment by partisanship and attention to hearings

There are large partisan differences in views of impeachment, with Democrats much more supportive and Republicans much more opposed, and a plurality of independents opposed. Comparing the October and November polls, support for impeachment and removal declined slightly among Democrats, and opposition to removal rose slightly among Republicans. “Don’t know” responses rose among independents and Democrats and barely declined among Republicans.

Table 1: Impeach and remove Trump from office by party identification, November

  Impeach & remove Don’t think so Don’t know
Republican 4 94 2
Lean Republican 7 92 1
Independent 36 47 15
Lean Democrat 73 20 8
Democrat 81 11 7

Table 2: Impeach and remove Trump from office by party identification, October

  Impeach & remove Don’t think so Don’t know
Republican 6 92 2
Lean Republican 9 88 3
Independent 33 55 10
Lean Democrat 78 16 6
Democrat 88 8 3

Partisans are reacting differently to the testimony and other evidence, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to say that Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rivals. Opinion among independents tends to fall in between the results in the partisan groups.

Table 3: Did Trump ask for investigation of political rivals?

  Yes, did ask No, did not ask Don’t know
Republican 29 51 20
Lean Republican 29 53 17
Independent 41 24 33
Lean Democrat 81 8 10
Democrat 80 8 12

While about 3 in 10 Republicans thus think that Trump asked for an investigation (Table 3), only about 1 in 10 Republicans think Trump withheld military aid to pressure the Ukrainian president into an investigation (Table 4, below). Eight in 10 Democrats believe Trump asked for an investigation, and 3 in 4 think that he withheld aid to exert pressure for an investigation. Forty-one percent of independents think Trump asked for an investigation, while 30 percent think he withheld aid as pressure. Independents are the most likely group to say they don’t know if Trump did either of these things, with 33 percent saying they don’t know whether he asked for an investigation and 41 percent saying they don’t know whether he withheld aid.

Table 4: Did Trump withhold aid to pressure Ukraine for investigation of political rivals?

  Yes, held up aid No, did not hold up aid Don’t know
Republican 8 70 21
Lean Republican 11 70 19
Independent 30 26 41
Lean Democrat 75 10 15
Democrat 77 7 16

Thirty-two percent of all registered voters say that they are following the news and testimony in the impeachment hearings very closely, with another 33 percent saying they are following fairly closely. Twenty percent are not following too closely, and 14 percent are following not at all closely.

There are no statistically significant differences in attention to the hearings by partisanship, although independents are more likely to say they are not following closely at all.

Table 5: Attention to hearings by party identification

  Very closely Fairly closely Not too closely Not at all closely
Republican 33 36 18 12
Lean Republican 29 34 20 16
Independent 20 26 25 28
Lean Democrat 32 34 21 14
Democrat 39 30 19 11

Those who are following the hearings most closely are much more likely to have an opinion about the evidence than are those not paying close attention. Of those paying very close attention, 61 percent say that Trump asked for an investigation, 33 percent say he did not ask, and only 5 percent say they don’t know. By contrast among those not following the hearings at all closely, 34 percent say Trump asked, 23 percent say he did not ask, and 41 percent say they don’t know.

Table 6: Did Trump ask for investigation of political rivals? By attention to hearings

  Yes, did ask No, did not ask Don’t know
Very closely 61 33 5
Fairly closely 56 30 13
Not too closely 46 26 28
Not at all closely 34 23 41

A similar pattern holds with attention and opinion on whether Trump withheld aid to pressure Ukraine for an investigation. Both the percentage saying he did do this and the percentage saying he did not are higher among the most attentive, and both percentages are lower among the least attentive. Among the most attentive, only 4 percent say they don’t know, while over half of the least attentive say they don’t know.

Table 7: Did Trump withhold aid to pressure Ukraine for investigation of political rivals? By attention to hearings

  Yes, held up aid No, did not hold up aid Don’t know
Very closely 51 45 4
Fairly closely 46 40 13
Not too closely 32 35 34
Not at all closely 20 23 55

 General election matchups

Wisconsin voters were asked whom they would support as of now in the presidential election, Trump or each of four leading candidates for the Democratic nomination. Trump has 3-point leads over former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 5-point margin over Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and an 8-point lead over Mayor Pete Buttigieg. In October, Biden, Sanders, and Warren had small leads and Buttigieg trailed by 2 percentage points.

A summary of the general election results in this November poll is shown in Table 8. For comparison, the October results are shown in Table 9 and the August results in Table 10. In August, Trump was tested against Sen. Kamala Harris rather than Buttigieg.

Table 8: November General Election Matchups

Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct
Biden 44 Sanders 45 Warren 43 Buttigieg 39
Trump 47 Trump 48 Trump 48 Trump 47
Neither 5 Neither 5 Neither 4 Neither 6
Don’t know 2 Don’t know 2 Don’t know 4 Don’t know 7

 Table 9: October General Election Matchups

Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct
Biden 50 Sanders 48 Warren 47 Buttigieg 43
Trump 44 Trump 46 Trump 46 Trump 45
Neither 3 Neither 4 Neither 4 Neither 5
Don’t know 3 Don’t know 2 Don’t know 2 Don’t know 7

 Table 10: August General Election Matchups

Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct Matchup Pct
Biden 51 Sanders 48 Warren 45 Harris 44
Trump 42 Trump 44 Trump 45 Trump 44
Neither 4 Neither 5 Neither 5 Neither 6
Don’t know 2 Don’t know 2 Don’t know 5 Don’t know 6

In the new poll, two additional general election matchups tested Trump against Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Cory Booker. Each of these was asked of half the polling sample, and they have a margin of error of 5.7 and 5.8 percent, respectively. While the half-samples were selected randomly, the half with Booker versus Trump has significantly more younger voters than the half with Klobuchar. Sanders also does better in the Booker half-sample, although no other candidates do significantly better in either half-sample.

Table 11: General Election Matches

Match Pct Match Pct
Klobuchar 36 Booker 45
Trump 50 Trump 44
Neither 7 Neither 4
Don’t know 5 Don’t know 5

Vote by party identification, November vs. October

None of the shifts in vote preference between October and November reaches statistical significance. The shifts in the balance of the vote are largely due to slightly greater partisan loyalty among Republicans and slightly lower loyalty among Democrats. The party balance between October and November samples was unchanged, with 45 percent identifying themselves as Republican or leaning Republican and 44 percent identifying themselves as Democrat or leaning Democrat in each month.

Table 12: Biden vs. Trump by Party, November vs. October

Party ID November October
Biden Trump Neither DK Biden Trump Neither DK
Republican 3 93 2 1 7 90 1 2
Lean Republican 11 86 2 1 13 80 4 4
Independent 33 39 22 3 42 33 16 7
Lean Democrat 81 7 5 5 86 7 4 3
Democrat 88 6 3 3 97 2 1 0

Table 13: Sanders vs Trump by Party, November vs. October

Party ID November October
Sanders Trump Neither DK Sanders Trump Neither DK
Republican 4 94 1 1 5 92 2 1
Lean Republican 7 89 3 0 7 84 9 0
Independent 35 42 16 6 41 38 11 8
Lean Democrat 83 6 9 2 88 5 2 4
Democrat 90 5 2 1 94 3 2 0

Table 14: Warren vs. Trump by Party, November vs. October

Party ID November October
Warren Trump Neither DK Warren Trump Neither DK
Republican 2 94 1 1 6 90 3 1
Lean Republican 6 87 4 3 10 82 8 0
Independent 34 43 14 10 33 40 17 9
Lean Democrat 81 8 6 5 88 5 2 5
Democrat 88 5 3 2 95 3 1 0

Table 15: Buttigieg vs. Trump, November vs. October

Party ID November October
Buttigieg Trump Neither DK Buttigieg Trump Neither DK
Republican 2 91 2 4 6 89 3 3
Lean Republican 10 82 3 5 8 79 9 5
Independent 25 35 16 22 26 34 21 17
Lean Democrat 79 10 7 4 81 6 4 9
Democrat 78 7 5 6 87 5 3 6

Democratic presidential primary candidates

Table 16: First and second choice in Democratic primary (among Democratic primary voters)
Response First Choice Second Choice
Joe Biden 30 15
Bernie Sanders 17 18
Elizabeth Warren 15 19
Pete Buttigieg 13 10
Cory Booker 3 3
Amy Klobuchar 3 8
Kamala Harris 2 4
Andrew Yang 2 2
Tom Steyer 1 1
Marianne Williamson 1 0
Steve Bullock 1 0
Michael Bennet 0 0
Julián Castro 0 0
John Delaney 0 1
Someone else (VOL) 1 1
Would not vote (VOL) 1 0
Don’t know 10 10
Refused 1 1

Democratic presidential primary preference items were asked of those who said that they will vote in the Democratic primary in April. That sample size is 340, with a margin of error of +/-6.4 percentage points.

Among those who say they will vote in the Democratic primary, Biden receives the most support. Biden is the first choice of 30 percent, followed by Sanders at 17 percent, Warren at 15 percent, and Pete Buttigieg at 13 percent. Booker and Klobuchar receive 3 percent each. Harris and Yang are the top choices of 2 percent each, while all other candidates receive 1 percent or less.

The complete results for the Democratic primary are shown in Table 16.

Almost two-thirds of Democratic primary voters, 62 percent, say they might change their minds about their primary choice, while 37 percent say their mind is made up.

Among the Democratic primary sample, favorability of candidates is shown in Table 17.

Table 17: Favorability ratings of six candidates among Democratic primary sample

  Favorable Unfavorable Haven’t heard enough Don’t know
Joe Biden 67 20 6 6
Bernie Sanders 67 24 7 2
Elizabeth Warren 56 19 21 4
Pete Buttigieg 45 11 37 7
Cory Booker 36 14 39 11
Amy Klobuchar 27 16 45 12

Trump job approval

Forty-seven percent of registered voters approve of the job Trump is doing as president, with 51 percent disapproving. That is little changed from October, when 46 percent approved and 51 percent disapproved.

Fifty-five percent of those polled approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, while 43 percent disapprove. In October, 51 percent approved and 45 percent disapproved.

Forty-four percent of those polled approve of Trump’s handling of foreign policy, while 52 percent disapprove. In October, 37 percent approved and 59 percent disapproved.

Thirty-seven percent say that Trump’s foreign policies have helped America’s standing in the world, while 53 percent say his policies have hurt the standing of the country.

Twenty percent say that the decision to remove most U.S. troops from Syria strengthens the United States, while 38 percent say this weakens the country and 34 percent say it doesn’t make much difference. An additional 8 percent say they don’t know.

Economic outlook and issues

Wisconsin registered voters hold a positive view of the recent performance of the economy, with 42 percent saying the economy has improved over the past year, 18 percent saying it has worsened, and 37 percent saying it has stayed the same. In October, 41 percent said the economy had improved, 20 percent said it had worsened, and 36 percent said it has stayed the same.

Looking ahead to the next year, 35 percent say the economy will improve, while 24 percent think it will get worse and 37 percent say it will remain the same. That reverses the more negative outlook in October, when 25 percent said the economy would improve, 30 percent said it would worsen, and 39 percent said it would remain the same.

Chronic wasting disease

Deer hunters in Wisconsin are more aware than are non-hunters of chronic wasting disease, which affects deer through much of the state.

Table 18: Awareness of CWD by hunter or non-hunter

  A lot Some Not much Nothing at all
Deer hunter 59 30 7 3
Not deer hunter 25 36 20 16

A majority of hunters approve of the job the Department of Natural Resources is doing handling CWD. A plurality of non-hunters also approve, but non-hunters are more than twice as likely as hunters to say they don’t know how DNR is doing in addressing CWD.

Table 19: Approve DNR handling of CWD by hunter or non-hunter

  Approve Disapprove Don’t know
Deer hunter 56 29 15
Not deer hunter 45 16 38

Hunters and non-hunters alike see CWD as a threat to the future of deer hunting in Wisconsin.

Table 20: See CWD as threat to future of deer hunting by hunter or non-hunter

  Yes No Don’t know
Deer hunter 65 31 4
Not deer hunter 62 18 19

Opinion of the governor and legislature

Governor Tony Evers’ job approval stands at 47 percent, with disapproval at 42. Ten percent say they don’t have an opinion. In October, 52 percent approved, 34 percent disapproved, and 13 percent lacked an opinion.

Approval of the job the Wisconsin legislature is doing is 48 percent and disapproval is 39 percent, with 13 percent saying they don’t know. When last asked in August, 52 percent approved, 38 percent disapproved, and 8 percent lacked an opinion.

On Nov. 5, the state Senate voted to reject Evers’ nominee for secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Twenty-two percent say rejecting the nominee was the right thing for the Senate to do, 25 percent say it was the wrong thing to do, and 47 percent said they haven’t heard anything about this. An additional 6 percent say they don’t have an opinion.

Favorability rating of elected officials

Table 21 presents the favorability ratings of elected officials in Wisconsin and the percentage of respondents who haven’t heard enough or say they don’t know.

Table 21: Favorability ratings of elected officials

  Favorable Unfavorable Haven’t heard enough Don’t know
Donald Trump 46 50 2 1
Tony Evers 43 41 12 3
Ron Johnson 39 29 24 7
Tammy Baldwin 39 43 12 5

About the Marquette Law School Poll

The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 801 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone, Nov. 13-17, 2019. The margin of error is +/-4.1 percentage points for the full sample.

The Democratic presidential candidate preference items were asked of Democrats, independents who lean Democratic, and independents who do not lean to either party. That sample size is 340 with a margin of error of +/-6.4 percentage points.

Two presidential matchup questions were asked of half-samples. Klobuchar vs. Trump was asked of 400 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points. Booker vs. Trump was asked of 401 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 5.8 percentage points.

The partisan makeup of the sample, including those who lean to a party, is 45 percent Republican, 44 percent Democratic, and 10 percent independent. The partisan makeup of the sample, excluding those who lean to a party, is 28 percent Republican, 28 percent Democratic, and 42 percent independent.

Since January 2017, the long-term partisan balance, including those who lean to a party, in the Marquette poll has been 45 percent Republican and 45 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. Partisanship, excluding those who lean, has been 30 percent Republican and 29 percent Democratic, with 40 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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