Marquette Law School poll sheds light on campaign for governor

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A new Marquette University Law School poll was released on Wednesday, March 26th. It's a survey that has become the gold standard of public opinion polling in Wisconsin. In this latest poll, workers surveyed 801 voters between March 20th and 23rd.

The new poll shows Gov. Scott Walker leads Democratic challenger Mary Burke 48 percent to 41 percent. In January, a similar poll had Gov. Walker up 47 percent to 41 percent -- so there's been little change over two months. Prior to the poll, Gov. Walker predicted a close race.

"Oh, I think it's very tight. I think it will be. I've said all along, it didn't matter who the opponet was, whether it's Madison School Board Member Mary Burke or anybody else out there. This state is a state that elected me and Barack Obama in the same term, it's a state that elected Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin within two years. This is an evenly divided state," said Gov. Walker.

Wisconsin is evenly divided on how it rates the job Gov. Walker had done in office. 52 percent approved of the governor in January -- the number in March is now 47 percent. However, 54 percent of those polled now say the state is headed in the right direction.

Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke spoke in general terms about the campaign at a Marquette University forum on Tuesday.

"I would not have gotten into this race if I didn't think I was going to win. I have a game plan for winning. I have a team in place that knows how to win here in Wsconsin, I'm committed to raising the type of resources that are going to be needed," said Burke.

"It is not at the moment neck-and-neck according to our data, but it's certainly not an overwhelming advantage for the governor, his support remains below 50 percent, so he has a ways to go to seal the deal," said Charles Franklin, the poll director.

Meanwhile, 55 percent of poll respondents approve of Gov. Walker's $500 million tax cut while 34 percent disapprove. Of those polled, 58 percent say the new tax cut mostly benefits the wealthy. 25 percent say the middle class will benefit -- and nine percent say low-income earners will benefit.

Poll respondents were asked about their views of Mary Burke and Gov. Walker. For Burke, 19 percent of poll respondents say they have a favorable view of Burke, 22 percent have an unfavorable view of her, and 59 percent have no opinion at all. As for Gov. Walker, 49 percent have a favorable view of him, 47 percent unfavorable and just five percent have no opinion.

On the issue of voter ID, 60 percent of those polled support the idea and 36 percent oppose it. That number has changed little since the January poll was taken.

As for the legalization of marijuana in Wisconsin, 42 percent support it while 52 percent oppose it.

48 percent of poll respondents support gay marriage while 24 percent support civil unions and 19 percent believe there should be no recognition at all. When asked if Wisconsin should continue its constitutional ban on gay marriage, 36 percent say they would keep the ban while 59 percent say they would repeal it.

On the minimum wage front, 63 percent of poll respondents favor increasing minimum wage while 33 percent oppose it. Respondents say they are 34 percent more likely to support a candidate who supports a higher minimum wage -- while 16 percent say they less likely to do so.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.