Sunday, January 27, 2019

MU Poll on issues shows voters prefer Dem ideas. But they need to know Dems are the supporters

As the new legislative session begins in Wisconsin, Charles Franklin at the Marquette Law School took his first poll of 2018 to see which possible budget items had public support, and which didn't. And even with a pro-GOP electorate (R +2), the responses generally favored the agenda of Governor Tony Evers.
That’s welcome news for the new governor, who has had a series of bad headlines in recent days as he reversed himself on his attempts to get the state out of a lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Forty-eight percent want to get out of that lawsuit, as Evers does, while 42 percent want to continue it, as Republican lawmakers are doing.

Nearly two-thirds of voters — 62 percent — wanted to use Obamacare funds to expand the state’s BadgerCare Plus program to provide health care to more people — an idea Evers has championed. Twenty-five percent agreed with GOP lawmakers and opposed the expansion.

An overwhelming 72 percent of those polled said they support legislative and congressional district boundaries being drawn by a nonpartisan commission rather than the state Legislature, as Evers favors. That's compared to just 18 percent who said the Legislature should continue to draw the boundaries.
If you dig deeper into the Marquette Poll's results, Evers has support on other issues.

What's funny is that the Marquette Poll often took a framing that would favor the GOP's side. For example, the question about expanding Medicaid only asks
"Should Wisconsin accept federal funds to expand Medicaid, also called Badger-care, in order to cover those with incomes up to 138% of the poverty line or should the state reject federal funds and not expand Medicaid coverage beyond the poverty line as it is now?"
That answer gets support of 62% of those asked. But it doesn't even mention the fact that it would save Wisconsin taxpayers $180 million a year. I bet the approval is even higher when that reality is entered into the question.

The same happened with a question regarding transportation funding. In the MU Poll, Wisconsinites rejected raising the gas tax and registration fees by a 52-42 margin. But note the question's wording, which was reflected in a response Prof. Franklin gave to a comment I made in social media about that question and others with GOP framing. My response is also included.

Chucky didn't like that response, but it's true. A lot of any poll question is based in how you word it, and I absolutely trust a longtime pollster like Franklin took the time to figure out the way they wanted to ask the question on transportation funding. It's one of the reasons I come down on the Bradley-funded Marquette Poll as much as I do, because they know better. They're not dumb or sloppy.

(Interestingly, Chuck Thompson, who is the person Evers has appointed to be the new DOT Secretary, just made this same point on Mike Gousha's show. There's no mention in the question about what the alternative to NOT increasing revenues is).

It's pretty clear when you look at both this month's Marquette Law Poll as well as the results of November's referendum questions that the Dems' positions are the choice of Wisconsinites. The way Republicans win is that they have had an advantage on spin and framing, amplified by the megaphones of the right-wing lie machines on AM radio and dark money. The GOP also has generally done better at distracting voters on cultural issues and resentment, and also has buried interest in pro-Dem issues through inaction.

Which tells me Dems in Wisconsin need to push what they believe harder, and make a more public effort to keep most issues top-of-mind for the average voter. Because when they are given a choice, and when they are given the consequences of policy decisions, Wisconsinites tend to prefer the Dems' answers.

So if Dems can neutralize the GOP in the propaganda war, they will win at the ballot box as well. Particularly because a lot of places are currently "represented" by GOP legislators that do not support the beliefs of people in that district.

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