Yesterday featured the release of the first Marquette Law School poll of Wisconsin politics in a few months. Despite pollster Charles Franklin’s sketchy ties to the Bradley Foundation,
the Marquette Poll can give good insights into Wisconsinites’ thoughts. It’s also important because our state’s media can’t resist a good “Marquette poll” story (hey, it beats doing real reporting!), so it guides a lot of coverage and public interest.
But when I saw this tidbit leak out on the Twitters just after 12, I gave a “COME ON!”
What convenient timing for Scott Walker to have his first net-positive approval rating in 3 1/2 years, in the Summer before his re-election!
In addition to that, Walker had modest-to-decent leads on all potential Dem challengers.
The poll asked all voters about a match-up between Walker and Evers and also between Walker and former Rep. Kelda Roys, who won the Wispolitics.com straw poll at the Democratic Party state convention earlier this month. All other candidate match-up questions were posed to half of the respondents, and thus carry a one-and-a-half point higher margin of error.
Walker led in the head-to-head match-ups by margins ranging from 44 percent to 42 percent against McCabe to 49 percent to 36 percent against corporate attorney Josh Pade.
Walker led Evers 48 percent to 44 percent and he topped Roys 48 percent to 40 percent.
“We have a moderately close race, one that in most of those cases is inside the margin of error or close to it, but with the governor a little bit ahead,” Franklin said.
Any of those numbers will narrow even more as Dems get their candidate finalized in the next 7 ½ weeks. But they still didn’t ring true to me, so I chose to take a look at the topline results
for myself, and also looked at the always-useful crosstabs.
Sure enough, the poll had a lot of Republicans answering it.
Party ID, June 2018 Marquette Law Poll
Party ID with leaners, June 2018 Marquette Law Poll
Now compare that with the last time Walker ran for office, with the Election Day exit poll from 2014.
Party ID, 2014 Wisconsin Governor’s Election
It’s-2% more Republican in 2018? Despite the fact that Democrats have already flipped two formerly GOP-held Senate seats in areas that went heavily for Donald Trump in 2016? And despite more-liberal Rebecca Dallet destroying Scott Walker’s hand-picked choice for Wisconsin’s Supreme Court by double digits?
Also note that Franklin’s own poll showed Democrats being more motivated to vote in November than Republicans (71-67), and this story from Mpother Jones which looked at findings from Pew Surveys and others which indicate that the 4-point enthusiasm gap for Dems in Wisconsin is understating what they're seeing nationwide.
It defies belief that the combination of election results so far in 2018 along with higher Dem enthusiasm for November would translate into them being LESS of the Wisconsin electorate this November. But that’s what Franklin is assuming in this poll. Makes me wonder who made that flawed decision – Chucky, or the oligarchs that pay the Marquette Law School for him to put these polls out.
Even with that slanted poll group, the MU Poll showed two major Walker initiatives are in disfavor with Wisconsinites that were asked.
On Foxconn, the mostly negative reviews continued. The Marquette survey of 800 registered voters found 46 percent of respondents believe the multi-billion-dollar state incentives package for Foxconn isn't worth it, while only 40 percent said the aid will pay off.
Nearly two-thirds of voters polled around Wisconsin predicted their local businesses won't benefit. However, a majority said the Foxconn project will help the Milwaukee-area economy.
On Act 10, the poll showed a change of public opinion.
Forty-seven percent favor a return to more collective bargaining, while 43 percent back Act 10. Franklin said that's a reversal from several Marquette surveys over the last few years, including one in March. He said the governor's race may be why.
"The one thing that is different is there's maybe a little more conversation going on about Act 10 and collective bargaining from the Democratic candidates in the last few months, as relatively unknown as (the candidates) are," Franklin said. "But nevertheless, it's a little more on the table for discussion than perhaps it has been for the last few years.
The Act 10 result surprised me. I personally think it badly hurt the state and we would be better if it was gone, but I also think of it as a dead issue for the time being, especially in the political arena.
I also think Mr. Franklin (and his benefactors) don’t want to admit another part of these results in public. People are recognizing that everyone who works for a living is getting the short end of the stick these days in favor of oligarchs and corporations. It explains why the teacher strikes that we have seen in several states this year
getting the public support they did, followed by most of the strikes ending after concessions from state and local elected officials.
A related question from the Marquette Poll shows people want to invest in their public schools by wide margins.
Which is more important to you: reduce property taxes or increase spending on public schools?
Increase spending 59%
Cut property taxes 35%
Party ID with Leaners
Republicans 56-36 cut property taxes
Democrats 83-13 increase spending
Independents 63-33 increase spending
So even in this GOP-heavy poll, meaning the GOP Bubble Worlders get disproportionate weight, Wisconsinites are favoring the more liberal/Dem policy choices.
The disconnection between the attitudes on public schools and Foxconn the relatively good results for Scott Walker makes the poll all the more perplexing to me. Are that many people being fooled by Walker’s taxpayer-funded campaign stops at businesses and public schools claiming everything is going great in Wisconsin? Are that many people ignoring that their local public schools are still closing and underfunded, and that Foxconn is an increasingly obvious boondoggle that won’t come close to being the “game-changer” that was it was originally sold as?
See, that’s what initially depressed me about the Marquette poll. It’s not as much that the numbers are Bradley-funded, pro-WisGOP bullshit, but because it’s another brick in the wall of shameless GOP-perganda that the people of this state are barraged with. This GOPper-ganda ranges from the daily “Walker photo op at a campaign contributor”, to the absurd spin on each jobs report from Walker’s Department of Workforce Development, to some BS TV ad where Walker calls himself “the education governor”, to Bradley/Koch-funded fake studies and polls (hi, Noah Williams!)
that are intended to blur facts and put false narratives into the public.
Add in a media that never takes a critical eye to any of this garbage, and never asks a follow-up question to Walker or other Republicans calling out their BS spin WITH FACTS, and this type of crap floats out in the air over unsuspecting, busy Wisconsinites who are just trying to get through their day-to-day. And I fear that’s some of what we saw in this week’s Marquette Poll (in addition, a lot of those people simply aren’t tuned into the elections yet).
Why the Democratic Party of Wisconsin doesn’t get that mass communications and polls can be used as psy-ops that influence opinions and elections 4 ½ months before voters go to the polls,
this Marquette Poll gave the GOP a bump that didn’t exist in the real world until Chucky Franklin came onstage in Milwaukee this week (HEY WISDEMS, CAN YOU START FIGHTING IN THIS INFO WAR?).
Once we get a poll that actually deals with the pro-Dem electorate that’ll vote in 2018, Walker’s “above water” approval level and head-to-head leads will likely disappear. But that false narrative of “Walker leads” still has its effects in some low-info voters, and now has to be overcome. And that pisses me off.