Poll reflects voter disgust — but not lack of confidence in elections

By: - November 5, 2021 5:39 am
Marquette Law School poll director Charles Franklin

Marquette Law School Poll Director Charles Franklin | Photo courtesy Marquette Law School

Despite the Republicans’ relentless attacks on the integrity of the 2020 election, the latest Marquette University Law School poll shows little change in public opinion on the issue since August, with confidence in the accuracy of the election at 65% — down only slightly from 67% in August (less than the poll’s margin of error of 3.9 percentage points).

Still, new investigations and attacks on elections officials, including the recommendation of criminal charges by the Racine County Sheriff against state elections commissioners, could further erode public trust. Half of respondents say they don’t know enough about the Legislative Audit Bureau’s report on the election to form an opinion about what it showed, and two-thirds say they don’t know enough to have an opinion on the partisan investigation led by former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, which is still underway.

The poll also showed that confidence in the election was heavily influenced by party affiliation, with 64% of Republicans saying they are not confident in the accuracy of the 2020 election results, while only 1% of Democrats lacked confidence in the election.

The poll also asked Wisconsinites about redistricting, as the Republican-led Legislature pushes its new voting maps through after a contentious eight-and-a-half-hour public hearing in which hundreds of citizens came out to testify in opposition to maps that lock in the Republican advantage from the last round of redistricting. Of those polled, 63% say redistricting should be conducted by a nonpartisan commission, while only 25% would keep the current system, in which the maps are drawn by the Legislature and signed by the governor. 

Support for nonpartisan redistricting, unlike confidence in the election, was bipartisan, with 62% of Republicans, 63% of independents, and 64% of Democrats supporting the idea. 

Politicians of both parties did poorly in the poll, with voters registering more negative than positive impressions of all the incumbents. Of those polled, 40% said they would vote to reelect Gov. Tony Evers, while 53% would vote for someone else and 6% said they don’t know or declined to say. For U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, 38% said they would vote to reelect him, while 52% would vote for someone else, and 10% said they don’t know or declined to answer. President Joe Biden’s job approval rating was 43%, down from 49% in August, and Evers’ approval rating was 45%, down from 50% in August. 

On the pandemic, however, 53% said they trust Evers as a source of information. Asked the same question about Johnson, who has cast doubt on the efficacy of vaccines and other public health measures and promoted alternative remedies against mainstream medical advice, 39% said they trusted the senator.

Pollsters interviewed 805 registered Wisconsin voters by landline or cell phone, Oct. 26-31.


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Ruth Conniff
Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine where she worked for many years from both Madison and Washington, DC. Shortly after Donald Trump took office she moved with her family to Oaxaca, Mexico, and covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Trump. Conniff is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She graduated from Yale University in 1990, where she ran track and edited the campus magazine The New Journal. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and three daughters.