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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette Law School Poll gains national recognition


The Marquette Law School Poll has become nationally recognized by some media outlets for their polling in close statewide races and on policy stances of Wisconsinites.

The poll surveys statewide races, such as Senate and governor elections, and gauges the opinions of Wisconsinites on pertinent state and national issues. Users of the poll are also able to cross-reference public opinion polling with demographic information such as age, sex and race.

“The polling gives us the opportunity to see what the broader public thinks about the issues, and in campaigns, what they think about the candidates and who they might vote for,” Charles Franklin, professor of law and public policy and director of the Marquette Law School Poll, said.

Since its inception, the poll has conducted 75 statewide surveys and is about to begin its 16th national poll.

“We [Wisconsin] are a competitive state. 2022 was a year that had a Senate race that was close from the very beginning,” Franklin said.

Franklin said one reason there was national attention towards the poll was the stake the election outcomes had on both the state and nation.

“With so much at stake in Wisconsin elections, in the governor’s case, do you continue with divided government, a Democratic governor and a Republican legislature, or revert to the [Gov. Scott] Walker years of unified Republican control?” Franklin said.

Franklin noted the 2022 U.S. Senate race had potential implications on the balance of power in the Senate, which had a 50-50 majority, leaving the vice president as the tiebreaker. Although Johnson’s win secured a Republican hold for the seat, Democrats gained a seat in Pennsylvania with John Fetterman defeating Mehmet Oz, resulting in a 51-49 Democratic majority in the Senate.

Looking to 2024, Franklin plans to update the poll’s methodology.

“We are switching to interviews from a list of registered voters instead of random digit dialing, which we’ve used in the past. It improves the efficiency of the call and slightly enhances the response rate,” Franklin said. “We also are giving respondents the option to take the survey online or by phone. Now, 60-75% will be conducted online.”

The poll will continue reaching out via phone to those without email or internet access to ensure representativeness. Marquette Law’s national poll has been online since its inception.

In addition to statewide elections, the poll gauges Wisconsinites’ views on key emerging issues. Franklin said they’ve posed over 1,600 questions on subjects ranging from public policy and schools to taxes, foreign trade and international affairs.

“We’ve been asking about U.S. aid to Ukraine since the conflict there started. We’ve been inquiring about the U.S.’s role in the world and if it’s better for America to engage in international affairs or pull back,” Franklin said.

Franklin observed a shift within the Republican Party toward a more isolationist, “America first” stance.

“The Republican party is re-evaluating the post-World War II consensus on America’s role in global safety and freedom, especially given the prolonged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Do our allies contribute enough?” Franklin said.

Franklin emphasized covering topics from both Republican and Democratic agendas, and in some instances, issues both sides debate over. The poll strives to ensure unbiased representation in their questions.

“It’s an understatement to say we are in a polarized climate, probably more so now than in 2012,” Franklin said. “Our purpose is to capture a wide range of public opinion, not just the horse race of who you might vote for.”

This story was written by Uzair Qhavi. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Uzair Qhavi
Uzair Qhavi, Assistant News Editor
Uzair Qhavi is an assistant news editor at the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 year. He is a senior from Franklin, WI studying political science. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies and binging television shows. This year Uzair is excited to work on in-depth projects and have a fun start to his last year at the Wire.

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