By Ryan Ekvall | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON – Are Wisconsinites really just a bunch of cheese-eating, beer-drinking, Packers-watching libertarians?
Libertarians generally support the individual’s social and economic freedom from the state. Without going into the nuances of the political philosophy, their social views tend to align more with Democrats and their economic views fall more in line with Republicans.
Considering the findings from the latest Marquette Law School poll, Wisconsin just might be full of closet libertarians?
A majority of respondents, according to the poll, released Tuesday, support the recent tax cuts passed by the Legislature.
Fifty-six percent favor the recently passed $100 million property tax cut and 52 percent favor the $650 million income tax cut in the biennial budget. Thirty-six percent and 35 percent opposed the tax breaks, respectively.
On social issues, more than three in four respondents said gay Wisconsin residents should be allowed to marry or enter into civil unions.
Many libertarians propose getting the government out of the marriage business altogether, but the official Libertarian Party line is that government should not treat individuals differently based on sexual orientation.
Recently, the Libertarian Party applauded the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, passed by a GOP Congress and signed into law by a Democrat president.
Wisconsinites also support legal access to abortion, although a majority say there should be at least some restrictions, according to the poll. Twenty-six percent of respondents say it should be legal in all cases. Thirty-six percent say it should be legal in most cases. One-quarter say abortion should be illegal in most cases and 11 percent said it should always be illegal.
Half of the poll’s respondents say marijuana should be legal, while 45 percent prefer to keep it illegal. Libertarians have long opposed the state’s war on people who use drugs.
Wisconsinites, by nearly the same margin, favor the statewide expansion of the school voucher program. Libertarians are split on vouchers. They typically support school choice, but fear vouchers will give the state control over private schools.
Big government Cheeseheads – especially establishment politicians – shouldn’t worry too much. Rand Paul, the most libertarian-friendly candidate in the 2016 presidential field, finished fifth on the list of presidential candidates that likely Republican voters’ prefer, at less than 10 percent.
On the 2014 Gubernatorial Election
Gov. Scott Walker leads all comers by a slim margin for the 2014 gubernatorial election, according to the latest poll from the Marquette Law School.
Walker leads declared Democrat candidate Mary Burke, a Madison school board member and former state Department of Commerce secretary, 47 percent to 45 percent – within the poll’s margin of error.
Walker also led Burke 48 percent to 41 percent among independents in the poll.
Pollster Charles Franklin said at this point, just more than one year away from Election Day, the race is “essentially a toss-up.”
But is it?
Walker led other potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, and Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha.
Most voters don’t know who Burke or the other Democratic contenders are, at least not enough to form an opinion, according to the poll results.
Seventy percent of registered voters in the poll say they haven’t heard enough or don’t know if they have a favorable or unfavorable view of Burke, while 17 percent have a favorable impression of her and 14 percent an unfavorable opinion.
Conversely, only 4 percent are unable to give a rating to Walker. The governor’s favorability rating is 50 percent in the latest poll, with 46 percent of respondents holding an unfavorable opinion.
Walker also leads the Republican field for 2016 presidential nominee in Wisconsin, with with 29 percent support, followed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville with 25 percent. Hillary Clinton, the overwhelming choice of state Democrats, leads both Walker and Ryan in head-to-head scenarios.
Wisconsin on Obamacare
Overall, Wisconsin voters dislike the federal health care overhaul known as Obamacare. They liked the federal government shutdown to attempt to stop implementation of the law even less.
Forty-eight percent oppose Obamacare, while 42 percent support the law. However, just 19 percent said they favor the government shutdown to repeal the law versus 76 percent who oppose it.
Those self-identifying as “very conservative” supported the shutdown 54 percent to 43 percent opposed. That was the only identified group that supported the 16-day, partial federal government shutdown.
Respondents also oppose Walker’s decision to reject the federal expansion of Medicaid. Thirty-six percent agree with Walker’s position while 56 percent said he should have taken the money.
The poll surveyed 800 Wisconsin registered voters between Oct. 21-24 by both cell phone and landline. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Contact reporter Ryan Ekvall at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter @Nockian.