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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette Law School releases poll discussing impeachment

Photo by Jordan Johnson
The poll focused on Wisconsin voters’ thoughts on impeachment.

The Marquette University Law School shared the results of their monthly poll Oct. 23 at “On the Issues with Mike Gousha.”

“On the Issues,” is a series at the Law School that explores public policy. 

Polling was done Oct. 13-17, with 799 Wisconsin voters, 60% of whom were interviewed by cellphone, and 40% by landline. 

The October poll explores issues like President Donald Trump’s tentative impeachment, Trump’s job approval and candidates for the 2020 Presidential Election.

The poll revealed a 17 percentage point increase in those who believe there is enough evidence to impeach Trump since April. Of Wisconsin voters, 46% say there is enough cause for impeachment, 49% say there’s not enough cause and 5% say they don’t know.

Poll director Charles Franklin said opinion has changed substantially after the anticipation of the Mueller Report in January and some of the results of the report in April.

In January, 33% said there was enough cause for impeachment. In April, 29% said there was enough cause.

Paul Nolette, an associate professor of political science, said the uptick suggests there is something about the president asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son that seems to have influenced more people than the Mueller Report, which was a bigger investigation.

Despite the increase, this is still below the national average of voters who say there’s enough case for impeachment, which is around 50%, Franklin said.

“At least for Wisconsin voters, (the) majority are not there yet,” Franklin said.

The poll also explored opinions on Trump’s job approval. The survey showed the president’s overall job approval rate has 46% approval, 51% disapproval and 2% who don’t know. Approval has gone up and disapproval has gone down, though these developments were slight. While approval numbers have changed, Franklin said he’s not convinced there is any kind of trend.

“This would most likely be statistical noise,” he said. This doesn’t necessarily speak to election as a whole.

However, Trump’s overall job approval were not necessarily reflected in other aspects of the poll.

“A potential area of weakness we see is the handling of foreign policy, and whether or not people approve,” Gousha, who is a distinguished fellow in law and public policy, said.

Despite Trump’s overall job approval, only 37% approve of his handling of foreign policy and 59% disapprove, with 4% who say they don’t know. Franklin called this a “substantial drop” from the last poll, citing recent events as the cause, including incidents with Ukraine.

“I think we have a couple of issues that are getting a lot of attention right now, most of which were apparently in the president’s control, so there’s a direct connection to his actions,” Franklin said.

When asked if Trump’s foreign policies have helped or hurt the U.S.’s standing in the world, 32% said the policies have helped and 58% said they have hurt, while 2% said the policies have not had an effect and 6% said they didn’t know.

Franklin said it was a split decision on whether or not voters believed Trump has kept his campaign promises. Of those who responded, 47% believe he is keeping his campaign promises while 46% believe he is not. There has been little movement in this regard, staying relatively the same when looking at the four polls conducted since June 2017 all of which asked the same question.

The survey also looked into whether voters agreed that the statement “Trump cares about people like me” is something that describes the president. It’s what Gousha called the “empathy question.” 40% said it did describe him, while 57% said it did not describe him.

It then asked if the phrase “Trump is someone who is honest” described the president. Only 30% of respondents said it described Trump, while 65% said it did not describe him.

Franklin said these have been weaker areas for Trump, showing a range of perceptions of the president.

“While there’s not much of a trend over time with these (questions), there are variations in the way people react to the president that differ by the dimension you’re asking about,” he said.

The poll also investigated voters’ preferences for the 2020 presidential election. When pitted against Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden is favored at 50% and Trump at 44%. Meanwhile, 3% said they would not support either candidate and 3% said they didn’t know. 

Of the Democratic Party presidential primary candidates, Biden was also the first choice of many, with 31% saying they would vote for him. Elizabeth Warren received 24%, Bernie Sanders received 17% and Pete Buttigieg received 7%. Other candidates received 5% or less. 

However, Warren was found to be a very significant second choice. Nolette said that in an election like this, there can be a lot of movement, so it shows Wisconsin is very much considering Warren as a candidate.

Franklin said the top three Democratic candidates are rated very favorably.

“In a general election, it’s rare to have people feel positively about more than one candidate,” he said.

The poll also asked respondents about state and national issues, including gun policy, healthcare, the economy, deer hunting and dairy farms.

“What (the poll) shows is that Wisconsin is as polarized as ever,” Nolette said.

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