Marquette Recall Poll: Barrett has big lead, 19% of Dems undecided, expect crossover voting May 8th

Judging by the Marquette U. poll, it looks as if Tom Barrett is coming into the May 8th recall primary very strong despite sneaking into the race at the last moment.

“Tom Barrett leading Kathleen Falk 38 percent to 21 percent, with 8 percent for Doug La Follette and 6 percent for Kathleen Vinehout”

I know some readers doubt the pollster Charles Franklin’s work and some call him a conservative [and I welcome your detailed statistical analysis of his work–I’m no statistician]. If Franklin were a conservative trying to game our primary then he’s doing a poor job of it. He should have deflated the blue dog and pumped up another candidate.

The Marquette U. survey by Charles Franklin shows Barrett leading Walker by 1 percentage point (47-46) in the June general election assuming voters are registered. However if voters are termed “likely” then Walker leads by 1 percentage point, 48-47.

Falk does not come close enough to catch Walker within this poll: “Walker leads former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk 49 percent to 42 percent among registered voters and 49 percent to 43 percent among likely voters.”

The high number of undecided voters is going to give fans of our progressive dark horse candidates hope.: “A significant number of Democratic primary voters are still undecided, 19 percent in the latest poll, up slightly from 17 percent in March. Undecided voters were asked which candidate they lean towards. Including those leaning voters, the primary results become Barrett at 45 percent, Falk at 23 percent, La Follette at 8 percent and Vinehout at 8 percent, with 9 percent still saying they are undecided.”

I’ve heard in person and online lots of “I’ll vote for whoever if it means Walker’s out”. You see that sentiment in the 2nd issue important to Democratic Party voters: “defeating Scott Walker” which comes after the number 1 issue of jobs.

Can I haz crossover? Yes.
We could see a lot of Republican and Democratic Party crossover voting on May 8th. Wisconsin has open primaries. The poll states that of the people that voted in the GOP primary on April 3rd, 17% were Democrats, 42% were Republicans, and 39% were independents. (I voted for Santorum.)

“Those saying they will vote in the May 8 Democratic recall primary are a virtual mirror image of that: 17 percent Republicans, 44 percent Democrats, and 36 percent independents.”

I don’t see the Republican candidate Arthur Kohl-Riggs mentioned anywhere in the survey which is a huge shortcoming.

One mission of the Republican candidate Arthur Kohl-Riggs was and is to reduce the number of GOP-folks who cross over to vote for the fake Democrat Gladys Huber or another Dem candidate. He’s succeeding in getting his name out there but I think a lot of Republicans still have no idea that Walker is in a primary and that he can get voted out. I first saw signs on April 25th at the I Stand with Scott Walker facebook page that Republican organizers are telling their loyals to vote May 8th AND that they have to vote for Scott Walker for Governor instead of for Falk (a few conservative pundits were promoting a Falk vote earlier). Oddly enough, I’ve seen no chat about voting for Huber. It’s possible that Democratic Party loyals can vote for Kohl-Riggs but they also need to get the message that they CAN and they need to know why they would want to. Judging by the online comments I see, confusion abounds on both sides as to how these unique recall primaries work (that’s the topic of my next post).

The folks at Marquette marvel a bit in their summary at the fact that 50% of their survey respondents have discussed why a person should/shouldn’t vote for a candidate. I’m a little more taken with this tidbit:
“Thirty-eight percent said they had signed a recall petition over the past sixteen months, including last summer’s state senate recalls and those this year for senate, governor, or lieutenant governor.”

This doesn’t surprise:
“Twenty-nine percent say there is someone they’ve stopped talking to about politics due to disagreements over the recall or the governor.”

There’s also a remarkable stat. on use of a special session to restore collective bargaining rights – remarkable because it suggests that people actually think that a special session will do anything: “Fifty-two percent said they favored calling a special session of the legislature to restore collective bargaining rights”.*

My last note: Obama leads Romney by 9 points “The presidential race remains competitive in Wisconsin, with Obama holding a 51 percent to 42 percent lead over Romney”

That ranking is great news for Obama in our battleground state. But he’s still on the edge nationally. Gallup puts Obama’s approval rating at 49% nationwide as of April 23rd. As stated in New York Times’ The Caucus, “Historically, the best predictor of a president’s re-election chances has been approval rating. Since World War II, every president with an approval rating at least a few points above 50 percent has won re-election. Every president with a rating clearly below 50 percent has lost.”

Read the Marquette U. survey summary in full here where you can also find the questionnaire, etc.
The poll interviewed 705 registered Wisconsin voters by both landline and cell phone April 26-29, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 3.8 percentage points for the full sample. For the 451 respondents who said they would vote in the Democratic recall primary, the margin of error is +/- 4.7 percentage points. As for results for “likely voters,” those who said they were certain to vote, the sample for the June recall is 561 respondents with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points. There were 399 likely voters in the May 8 Democratic primary, with a margin of error of +/- 5.0 percentage points.

*Calling a special session is Tom Barrett’s proposed solution to restoration of the collective bargaining rights lost in Wisconsin Act 10. For Barrett’s plan to work, Wisconsin also needs a willing state Assembly and Senate. Tea Party obstructionists have only very rarely honored even a Democratic amendment to their legislative agenda. Perhaps Barrett is planning on using something else such as the rule-making powers of Act 21 to deliver collective bargaining rights again?

7 thoughts on “Marquette Recall Poll: Barrett has big lead, 19% of Dems undecided, expect crossover voting May 8th

  1. A post at:
    pretty much addresses the problems with the Marquette poll I was talking about. The only difference I have is that so much of the data seems hinky that adjusting the numbers might be pointless.

  2. the animal captcha errors are killing me. Go to the Marquette poll, qestion F24 at the bottom of the page and see if anything looks out of whack to you.

  3. One problem with the Marquette poll that jumps right out at me is that of the 705 people questioned 336 were female, or just 47.7%.
    The 2010 census shows the female represent 50.4% of the state’s population.

    Do women really vote so much less than men in Wisconsin? I doubt it. Common wisdom is that they are more likely to vote but I haven’t been able to run down the stats on this. Since all polls show there is a serious gender gap in this election, understating women voters by 5.4%, at a minumum, is a serious error in this poll. I’m not a widely respected, prominent political scientist and statistician but this seems a little problematic. Here’s the url for Marquette poll:

    Click to access MLSP4_Toplines.pdf

    It would tend to overstate Walker’s support versus Barrett and also understate Falk’s support in the primary. Maybe someone else with a little time can come up with stats showing the gender breakdown in non-presidential year elections.

    • According to this web site:

      65% of women vote as compared to 63% of men. I assume they are basing this on registered voters and not the entire population.
      If this is accurate then the Marquette poll is seriously overstating Walker’s support, which partially explains why the Republicans shut down their “Victory Center” in Baraboo because they couldn’t get anyone to volunteer.

  4. Ed Garvey posted about the poll here and makes some good points. I am always dubious about polls, because I wonder, what are they for? Are they meant to influence voters? Reassure them? Scare them to death? Even if the information is valid, is it useful information? Or is it, in its essence, prejudicial? I can’t come up with a single reason why polling—even if well done, well documented, well formulated, statistically sound—would serve the electoral process.

  5. Charles Franklin, I believe on leave from UW Madison, is a widely respected and prominent political scientist and statistician.

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