A new Marquette Law School Poll finds a tight race for the Democratic presidential nomination in Wisconsin.
On the GOP side, Donald Trump is maintaining his lead in the state.
Also, approval of how Gov. Scott Walker is handling his job stands at 39 percent, with 55 percent disapproving. In January, 38 percent approved and 57 percent disapproved.
In the Democratic race
The Marquette poll shows Bernie Sanders with about 44 percent to Hillary Clinton’s 43 percent among those who say that they will vote in April 5 primary. In January, the school’s poll showed Clinton at 45 percent and Sanders at 43 percent. Last November, Clinton had a nine-point advantage and was at 50 percent.
In the Republican race
Trump is supported by about 30 percent in the GOP presidential preference primary in the state. He’s followed by Marco Rubio at 20 percent and Ted Cruz at 19 percent. John Kasich and Ben Carson receive 8 percent each. Jeb Bush, who suspended his campaign while the poll was being conducted, had the support of 3 percent.
The poll found about 10 percent of likely GOP primary voters undecided.
Last month, the school’s poll also showed Trump ahead, with about 24 percent, then Rubio at 18 percent and Cruz of 16 percent.
Forty-six percent of GOP voters see Trump as the most likely nominee, followed by Cruz at 25 percent and Rubio at 11 percent. Before the Iowa and New Hampshire votes, about 49 percent expected Trump to be the nominee.
On the Democratic side, 60 percent think Clinton is the most likely nominee, with 33 percent saying Sanders is most likely to win the nomination. Before Iowa and New Hampshire voting, 65 percent said Clinton would win the nomination.
Looking to the fall’s general election, here’s how the vote might go in Wisconsin: Sanders leads Rubio by 18 points and he leads Cruz by 18 and Trump by 20.
In a general election matchup, Clinton edges Rubio by 1 point and ties with Cruz. She has a 10‑point edge over Trump.
Supreme court race
The poll also asked voters about their choice for Wisconsin Supreme Court. The race is down to a choice of Rebecca Bradley, made an incumbent by Gov. Scott Walker’s appointment last fall, and JoAnne Kloppenburg.
Both are at 30 percent with voters, while 31 percent of voters saying they don’t know how they will vote.
Among those who say they are absolutely certain they will vote in the April 5 election, Bradley is backed by 37 percent while Kloppenburg is backed by 36 percent.
Though the candidates were selected in a February voting contest, the poll shows both candidates are unfamiliar to a majority of registered voters. Sixty percent say they are unable to say if they have a favorable or unfavorable view of Bradley while 57 percent say the same of Kloppenburg. Bradley is viewed favorably by 22 percent and unfavorably by 18 percent. Kloppenburg is seen favorably by 22 percent and unfavorably by 21 percent.
Among Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican party, Bradley receives 52 percent and Kloppenburg 9 percent, with 31 percent saying they don’t know how they will vote.
Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, Kloppenburg is supported by 49 percent and Bradley by 15 percent, with 30 percent saying they don’t know.
Among independents, 19 percent support Bradley, 22 percent support Kloppenburg and 30 percent say they don’t know how they will vote. An additional 27 percent of independents say they will not vote or will vote for neither candidate.
For U.S. Senate
Democrat Russ Feingold is supported by 49 percent of registered voters and Republican incumbent Ron Johnson receives 37 percent. In January, Feingold was at 50 percent and Johnson was at 37 percent.
The poll also asked voters about the debate over a U.S. Supreme Court nomination this year, the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency, as well as favorable impressions and state issues.
About 51 percent said the U.S. Senate should hold hearings and a vote on a nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy this year, while 40 percent say the Senate should wait until 2017, after the presidential election.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents say they would be willing for their senator to vote for a highly qualified nominee with whom the respondent disagreed on some policies. Thirty percent say they would want their senator to vote against any nominee with whom the respondent disagreed, regardless of qualifications.
Supporters of Senate candidates Johnson and Feingold take opposite positions on filling the Court vacancy. Among Johnson supporters, 65 percent say the Senate should not act until 2017. Among Feingold supporters, 70 percent say the Senate should hold hearings and vote.
On state questions, voters:
• Support a proposal to allow counties to add a one-half percent sales tax for four years to be used for road maintenance, if approved by a referendum.
• Are divided on allowing landlords more freedom to evict tenants for a variety of reasons, with 46 percent supporting such an approach.
• Are divided on the value of housing subsidies for the poor. Fifty percent say rent subsidies would help stabilize low-income families while 41 percent say such subsidies will have little effect on the situation of low-income families.
About 52 percent say Wisconsin is on the wrong track while 44 percent say it is headed in the right direction.
Also, 36 percent say the state budget is in worse shape now than several years ago.
Editor’s note: About the Marquette Law School Poll: The Marquette Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin history. This poll interviewed 802 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, February 18-21, 2016. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points for the full sample. For Republican presidential primary voters, the sample size is 297, with a margin of error of +/-7.5 percentage points. For Democratic presidential primary voters, the sample size is 343, with a margin of error of +/-6.9 percentage points. The partisan makeup of this sample, including those who lean to a party, is 40 percent Republican, 49 percent Democratic and 10 percent independent. The long-term estimate over the previous 32 statewide Marquette polls, with 27,533 respondents, is 42 percent Republican and 47 percent Democratic, with 9 percent independent. The partisan makeup of this sample, excluding those who lean to a party, is 26 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 40 percent independent, compared to the long-term estimate of 27 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 39 percent independent.