Marquette Law School Poll reveals increase division among voters over outbreak

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The Marquette Law School Poll released Tuesday reveals division among voters about the coronavirus outbreak.

A new Marquette Law School Poll released Tuesday found there is increased division among registered voters over response to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the poll, 69% said “it was appropriate to close schools and businesses and restrict public gatherings,” while 26% said the restrictions were an “overreaction to the pandemic.”

In March, 86% of voters thought the restrictions were appropriate while 10% said it was an overreaction.

A majority of voters continue to support social distancing and other restrictions.

Approval of Gov. Tony Evers’ handling of the situation has decreased from 76% to 64%, while disapproval of the response to the pandemic increased from 17% to 32%.

Similarly, approval of President Donald Trump’s actions in handling the virus decreased from 51% to 44% while disapproval increased from 46% to 51%. 

Those “very concerned” about the virus have decreased 18 percentage points from March’s 68%, with those “not at all concerned” increased from 2% to 7%.

Wisconsin voters now expect a much longer epidemic before things return to normal, even though concern over the virus and support for policies to reduce the spread have declined over the last six weeks. 18% of voters now think the coronavirus will be under control by the end of May, 20% by the end of August and 15% by sometime next fall.

Additionally, the poll revealed discrepancies in voter trust of the governor and the state legislature by party lines. Survey participants who identified as Democrats were more likely to trust the governor to handle the virus outbreak, while respondents who identified as Republican were more likely to trust the legislature to do so. The governor is Democrat while the state legislature is Republican majority led.

The poll was conducted by phone over a period of several days in early May and included 811 registered voters in Wisconsin. There is a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.

This story was written by Shir Bloch. She can be reached at shir.bloch@marquette.edu.