Tag Archives: poll

Border Patrol erecting 18-foot fence in unwalled New Mexico area

Amid a debate over erecting a new border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the U.S. Border Patrol says it is finishing an 18-foot-tall steel fence in the last stretch of unwalled, urban borderline in New Mexico.

Officials say the new fencing will run a mile from the bottom of a mesa to the base of tourist attraction of Mount Cristo Rey, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

Currently, a run-down, 10-foot-high chain-link fence sits in the area and border patrol agents say it can be easily climbed and offers little protection in the city of Sunland Park.

The city sits just west of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico,

The new fence will be made of rust-colored steel columns and is part of an $11 million project authorized by the Bush administration under the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

It will supplant the chain-link fencing erected in the 1980s.

The new barrier will be reinforced 5 feet underground with steel panels to prevent smugglers from building underground tunnels.

“It’s a fence that is replacing another fence,” said Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero. “It doesn’t hold anymore.”

Construction is expected to finish early in 2017.

But the new project is drawing scrutiny from some immigrant rights advocates.

Activists hold rallies here and reunions where undocumented Mexicans in the U.S. can meet.

For example, on Mexico’s Day of the Dead, Nov. 2, advocates hold a binational Mass to honor the migrants who have died trying to cross into the U.S. through the arid desert.

“In our opinion, the fencing has not necessarily been a good deterrence for immigration,” said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the El Paso-based immigrant advocacy group Border Network for Human Rights. “But it does represent a symbolic response, a very aggressive response, to immigrants and the border community.”

A Cronkite News-Univision News-Dallas Morning News border poll released last month found a majority of residents surveyed on both sides of the border are against the building of a wall between the two countries and believe the campaign’s tone is damaging relations.

According to the poll, 86 percent of border residents in Mexico and 72 percent of those questioned in the U.S. were against building a wall.

The poll surveyed 1,427 residents in 14 border sister cities to assess attitudes and opinions on the local economy, immigration and border security.

The issue of the border wall has garnered national attention since GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has vowed to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The U.S.-Mexico border is already lined with intermittent miles of barriers.

In some places, a tall fence ascends desert hills.

In others, sturdy wire mesh or metal pillars end suddenly.

Northern Wisconsin favors public oversight of water supply

An overwhelming majority of residents in northern Wisconsin support public sector oversight of drinking water resources, according to a poll conducted by the Center for Rural Communities at Northland College.

Public sector includes publicly owned utilities, as well as tribal water utilities and systems managed by local, state, tribal and federal governments.

About 640 households in Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas and Iron counties participated in the survey, conducted after state lawmakers considered but did not pass legislation to ease the process of privatizing municipal water utilities.

About 83.9 percent of those surveyed said the public sector should be responsible for guaranteeing access to safe drinking water.

About 90 percent said the public sector should notify people of any changes to water quality or water treatment.

“Nearly all respondents — 97 percent — agreed with the statement ‘water is a human right and every person should have access to clean and safe drinking water,’” said Brandon Hofstedt, associate professor of sustainable community development at Northland and faculty director at the center.

About 55.8 percent of those polled said a private entity should not profit from supplying drinking water to households.

Also, about 75 percent said a private entity should not be allowed to extract and sell water from Lake Superior or an aquifer or tributary.

Feingold’s lead over Johnson tightens, but his fundraising remains ahead

Democrat Russ Feingold continues to outraise Republican incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin’s hotly contested Senate race, and he has more cash on hand through the first six months of the year.

Both campaigns released fundraising figures Tuesday in advance of the Friday filing deadline for the second quarter of the year. While the candidates are raising and spending on the race, independent outside groups on both sides have also spent millions on television advertising.

Through the first six months of the year, Feingold raised about $7.4 million compared with $4.9 million for Johnson. Feingold also had more money on hand at the end of June —$7.2 million compared with $6.3 million for Johnson.

Johnson’s campaign said Tuesday that he raised $2.8 million in the second quarter of the year, up from $2.1 million in the first three months. Feingold raised nearly $3.3 million in the first quarter and $4.1 million over the three months ending in June.

While still trailing Feingold, the amount Johnson raised for the most recent quarter was third highest among Republican Senate candidates nationwide. Johnson was behind only Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, who brought in $3.1 million, and Ohio’s Rob Portman, who raised $2.9 million.

And Johnson’s fundraising increased 33 percent from the first to second quarter, while Feingold’s went up 24 percent.

“The growing support we’re seeing for Ron proves that people know what’s at stake in this election,” said Johnson’s campaign spokesman Brian Reisinger in an emailed statement. “In the fight to keep control of the U.S. Senate, the choice in Wisconsin is as clear as it can get — between an Oshkosh manufacturer who is working to solve our problems and keep us safe, and a career politician who got us on the wrong track in the first place.”

Democrats need to net four or five seats to win back Senate control — four if they hang onto the White House and can send the vice president to break ties in the Senate; five if they don’t.

Democrats have viewed Johnson as vulnerable, given that he’s up for re-election in a presidential year, when Democratic turnout is traditionally higher in Wisconsin. No Republican senator in Wisconsin has been elected in a presidential year since 1980.

A Marquette University Law School poll released last month showed Feingold ahead of Johnson by 9 points among likely voters and 4 points among registered voters.

But a poll released today showed the race tightening. The latest Marquette Law School Poll found Feingold led Johnson among registered voters 48 percent to 41 percent in a head-to-head matchup.

Among likely voters, Feingold’s lead was even smaller, 49–44 percent.

Conservative outside groups have been investing heavily in helping Johnson, outspending those backing Feingold about $5 million to $1 million in the first six months of the year. Most of the third-party spending benefiting Feingold so far, about $2 million from six liberal groups, came in 2015.

Poll: 52 percent ‘extremely proud’ to be Americans — new low

As the nation prepared to celebrate Independence Day, 52 percent of U.S. adults said they were “extremely proud” to be Americans, a new low in Gallup’s 16-year trend. Americans’ patriotism spiked after 9/11, peaking at 70 percent in 2003, but has declined since, including an eight-percentage-point drop in early 2005 and a five-point drop since 2013.

Trend: How proud are you to be an American -- extremely proud, very proud, moderately proud, only a little proud or not at all proud?

Americans’ declining patriotism is likely related to broader dissatisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. In January 2004, when 69 percent were extremely proud to be an American, 55 percent of Americans were satisfied with the way things were going in the U.S. That was the last time satisfaction has been at the majority level, and the percentage satisfied has mostly held below 30 percent since 2007, including the 29 percent in Gallup’s most recent update.

Americans’ patriotism stayed relatively flat from 2006 through 2013, a period that spanned the Great Recession and Barack Obama’s election and first term as president. But over the last three years, Americans’ willingness to say they are extremely proud to be an American has declined further.

In addition to the 52 percent who said they are extremely proud in the June 14–23 poll, another 29 percent said they are very proud and 13 percent moderately proud, meaning the vast majority of U.S. adults express at least a considerable amount of pride in being Americans. Five percent said they are “only a little proud” and 1 percent “not at all proud.”

Young adults lead decline in patriotism

Since the 2003 peak, all major subgroups have shown significant declines in the percentage saying they are extremely proud to be Americans. The largest decline has come among young adults, from 60 percent to 34 percent. In 2003 as well as today, young adults rank among the subgroups least willing to say they are extremely proud to be Americans.

Changes in Percentage “Extremely Proud” to Be Americans, by Subgroup
2001 2003 2016 Change, 2003 to 2016
% % % (pct. pts.)
All 55 70 52 -18
Men 54 67 53 -14
Women 56 73 50 -23
18 to 29 51 60 34 -26
30 to 49 56 74 51 -23
50 to 64 57 73 64 -9
65+ 57 68 55 -13
Whites 58 73 54 -19
Nonwhites 39 59 45 -14
College grads 58 63 47 -16
College nongrads 54 73 54 -19
Republicans 64 86 68 -18
Independents 46 62 44 -18
Democrats 53 65 45 -20
Conservatives 62 80 61 -19
Moderates 53 68 53 -15
Liberals 49 56 36 -20
GALLUP

Young adults today are also one of the few subgroups that are significantly less likely to be patriotic than in January 2001, before the 9/11 rally effect. At that time, 51 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds were extremely proud to be Americans. Because no one who is 18 to 29 today was in that same age group in 2001 or 2003, the trends in patriotism among young adults could be evidence that those in the millennial generation are less patriotic than young adults in generations that preceded them. And that generational change may help explain why there has been further decline in patriotism among all U.S. adults over the last three years.

Political liberals (36 percent) join young adults as the least patriotic major subgroup today. Independents, Democrats, nonwhites and college graduates also show below-average patriotism.

Republicans (68 percent), conservatives (61 percent) and those aged 50 to 64 (64 percent) are the major subgroups most likely to say they are extremely proud to be Americans. Republicans, 50- to 64-year-olds and nonwhites are the only groups that are at least somewhat more patriotic today than before 9/11. As a result of Republicans’ still-elevated percentage, the 23-point Republican-Democratic gap in patriotism is now roughly double what it was in January 2001.

Implications

The vast majority of U.S. adults indicate they are at least moderately proud to be Americans, but as they celebrate the Fourth of July this year, fewer say they are extremely proud than at any point in the last 16 years. Americans’ continued frustration with national conditions — likely tied to their concern about the economy and lack of faith in public institutions — is probably one reason patriotism is at a recent low point.

It is unclear to what extent, if any, the presidential campaign that now pits two controversial and widely unpopular nominees against each other could be a factor in Americans’ expressed pride. A year ago — long before the presidential field was set — there were signs that patriotism was declining further.

Millennials’ greater reluctance than young adults before them to say they are extremely proud to be an American may also be a factor in the new low and, if so, could signal further declines in patriotism in the years and decades ahead.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

 

Scott Walker’s disapproval rating equal to Clinton’s

Gov. Scott Walker’s approval rating continues to fall among Wisconsin voters. Only 39 percent in the latest Marquette University Law School poll approve of how Walker is handling his job, while 57 percent disapprove.

In March, Walker’s approval was 43 percent and disapproval was 53 percent.

The governor’s diminishing stature among state voters is rooted in their feelings about the direction the state is headed under his iron-clad grip over the Legislature and judiciary.

Forty-six percent of registered voters say Wisconsin is headed in the right direction while 50 percent say it is on the wrong track, according to the Marquette poll. That’s comparable to February polling, in which 44 percent of respondents said the state was moving in the right direction and 52 percent said it was not.

But 50 percent or more have said “wrong track” in each Marquette poll asking this question since January 2015.

The lagging state of Wisconsin’s economy seems largely to blame. Twenty-nine percent of respondents think the economy got worse over the past year while 25 percent say it got better and 44 percent say it has remained about the same.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, 25 percent expect the economy to improve, 23 percent think it will worsen and 43 percent expect no change.

Presidential polling

As in national polling, the Marquette poll shows President Barack Obama’s job approval has edged upward since 2014. Fifty-one percent of voters approve of the job Obama is doing, while 43 percent disapprove — much as it looked in March.

Obama’s trajectory is clear, however. With all 2014 surveys combined, Obama had a 44 percent approval to 49 percent disapproval rating in the Marquette poll. In 2015, combined polling put approval at 49 percent with disapproval at 47 percent. In combined 2016 polls, approval is 50 percent and disapproval 45 percent.

Whether Obama’s increasing approval rating helps boost presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the state come November remains to be seen. Clinton is viewed unfavorably by 58 percent and favorably by 37 percent of voters who were polled.

House and senate numbers

In the race for U.S. Senate, former Sen. Russ Feingold is viewed favorably by 40 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 33 percent. Another 26 percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t know how they feel about him. Again, this set of numbers closely tracks the March results.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Johnson, who defeated Feingold during the tea party wave election of 2010, is seen favorably by 33 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 31 percent, with 35 percent saying they have not heard enough or don’t know how they feel, almost exactly matching the March poll.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who does not face re-election until 2018, is viewed favorably by 37 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 33 percent, while 31 percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t have an opinion. When last measured in August 2015, Baldwin had a 36 percent favorable and 40 percent unfavorable rating, with 24 percent unable to give an opinion.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, is viewed favorably by 49 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 32 percent. Eighteen percent do not have an opinion of him. In March, 48 percent had a favorable opinion, 31 percent unfavorable and 21 percent were unable to say. Ryan does not face a serious challenge this year.

The Marquette University Law School Poll is the most extensive statewide polling project in Wisconsin.

Poll: Clinton, Feingold lead in Wisconsin, Walker’s approval down

A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Hillary Clinton with 42 percent and Donald Trump with 35 percent support among Wisconsin registered voters in a presidential race matchup. Seventeen percent say they will vote for neither candidate.

Approval of how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is handling has fallen to 39 percent, with disapproval at 57 percent. In March, approval was 43 percent and disapproval was 53 percent.

In the previous Marquette Law School Poll, in March, Clinton had 47 percent support and Trump 37 percent.

Among likely voters — those who say they are certain they’ll vote in November — Clinton receives 46 percent to Trump’s 37 percent in the new poll, with 13 percent saying they will support neither candidate.

In Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race, among registered voters, Democratic candidate Russ Feingold leads incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson by 45 to 41 percent. In March, Feingold had 47 percent and Johnson 42 percent.

Among likely voters, Feingold does even better. He’s supported by 51 percent while Johnson is backed by 42 percent. Two percent say they will support neither and 5 percent say they don’t know whom they will support.

Feingold is viewed favorably by 40 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 33 percent. Another 26 percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t know how they feel about him. In March, Feingold’s ratings were 41 percent favorable, 35 percent unfavorable and 25 percent not able to rate him.

Johnson is seen favorably by 33 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 31 percent, with 35 percent saying they have not heard enough or don’t know how they feel. In March, Johnson’s ratings were 32 percent favorable and 31 percent unfavorable, with another 36 percent unable to rate him.

TheMarquette Law School Poll also shows Wisconsin Democrats are more fired up than Republicans about the November elections. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans say they are certain they will vote in November, a drop of 9 percentage points from the 87 percent who said so in March. But, the intention to vote among Democrats has increased from 81 percent in March to 84 percent in June.

By contrast, in June 2012, 90 percent of Republicans said they were certain to vote in November, while only 80 percent of Democrats said they were likely to vote. Democrats prevailed in the state in November.

Partisanship
Each party faces divisions left over from the primary season. Among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, supporters of Sanders remain reluctant to vote for Clinton in November. Sixty-seven percent of Sanders supporters say they will vote for Clinton, 4 percent say they will vote for Trump, while 24 percent say they will vote for neither and 5 percent say they don’t know. By comparison, 88 percent of Clinton supporters say they would vote for Sanders over Trump, who gets 5 percent of such supporters, with 7 percent saying they would support neither and 1 percent saying they don’t know.

Among Republicans and independent leaners, 12 percent say their party is currently united, 41 percent say it is divided now but will unite by November and 45 percent say the party will still be divided in November. Among Democrats and independent leaners, 18 percent say the party is united now, 53 percent say it is divided now but will unite by November and 26 percent believe the party will remain divided. Among Republicans who think their party will remain divided, Trump gets 63 percent of the vote. Among Democrats who think their party will still be divided in November, Clinton gets 58 percent support.

Asked about House Speaker Paul Ryan’s endorsement of Trump, 38 percent of all respondents say it was the right decision while 54 percent say it was a mistake. Among Republicans and independent leaners, however, 69 percent say the endorsement was the right decision and 23 percent say it was a mistake.

Images of presidential candidates
Trump and Clinton are both viewed negatively by a majority of voters. Among registered voters, 64 percent have an unfavorable view of Trump while 26 percent have a favorable view. Clinton is seen unfavorably by 58 percent and favorably by 37 percent. Within their parties, both candidates are seen more positively, with 52 percent of Republicans holding a favorable view of Trump and 35 percent unfavorable. Among Democrats, 67 percent have a favorable view of Clinton while 27 percent view her unfavorably.

Voters were asked how comfortable they would be with the idea of each candidate as president. For Clinton, 38 percent say they would be very or somewhat comfortable while 61 percent said very or somewhat uncomfortable, including 42 percent saying very uncomfortable. For Trump 28 percent say very or somewhat comfortable with 72 percent saying very or somewhat uncomfortable, including 55 percent saying very uncomfortable.

Favorability
Respondents were asked whether each of four traits described Clinton and Trump. Clinton is described as “someone who is honest” by 28 percent while Trump is seen as honest by 32 percent.

Forty-two percent say Clinton is someone who “cares about people like me” while 27 percent say this describes Trump.

Forty-eight percent say Clinton is someone who “could handle a national crisis well” while 31 percent say this is true of Trump.

Asked if each candidate “has the qualifications to be president,” 56 percent say this is true of Clinton while 30 percent say it is true of Trump.

Respondents were asked if the FBI investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State was something that bothers them about Clinton. Sixty-one percent say this bothers them while 38 percent say it does not.

Sixty-three percent say they are bothered by pending lawsuits against Trump for his Trump University real estate seminars while 34 percent say this does not bother them.

Thirty-five percent of respondents say they are bothered by both of these matters while 10 percent are bothered by neither. Twenty-seven percent are bothered by the Trump University issue but not by the Clinton email issue, while 24 percent are bothered by the emails but not by Trump University.

Views on issues
The Marquette Law School Poll found that voters are sharply divided on several issues surveyed in this month’s poll.

Sixty percent of registered voters favor an eventual path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S., while 18 percent prefer a permanent guest worker status and 17 percent say these immigrants should be required to leave the country. Among Republicans, 44 percent favor a path to citizenship, 24 percent prefer a guest status and 26 percent would require undocumented immigrants to leave. Among Democrats, 75 percent favor eventual citizenship, 14 percent prefer a guest worker option and 8 percent would favor removal from the country.

Fifty-four percent of respondents favor an increase in the minimum wage while 42 percent think it should not be raised. Among Republicans, 24 percent support a hike in the minimum wage while 73 percent oppose an increase, while 79 percent of Democrats support and 17 percent oppose an increase.

Support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally stands at 64 percent while 28 percent are opposed. Among Republicans, 43 percent favor marriage equality, while 48 percent oppose it. Among Democrats, 84 percent are in favor while 11 percent are opposed.

Sixty-three percent of registered voters say they would favor increasing taxes on wealthy Americans and large corporations in order to reduce income inequality, while 33 percent are opposed to this. Among Republicans, 33 percent favor such a tax increase to reduce inequality while 63 percent oppose it. Fully 90 percent of Democrats favor reducing inequality by increasing taxes on the wealthy, while just 8 percent are opposed.

However, when asked a slightly different question, opinion shifts substantially. Asked if “it is the responsibility of the government to reduce the differences in income,” 40 percent say they agree while 55 percent disagree. Eighteen percent of Republicans say this is government’s responsibility while 81 percent say it is not. Among Democrats, 60 percent say this is government’s role, while 33 percent say it is not.

The subject of free trade is one issue where partisan views appear to be shifting from traditional party positions. Forty-one percent say free trade agreements have in general been a good thing for the United States, while 44 percent say they’ve been a bad thing. Republicans now take a more negative view of free trade than do Democrats. Thirty-six percent of Republicans say trade agreements have been a good thing while 52 percent say they have been bad for the U.S. Among Democrats, 46 percent say trade agreements have been good for the U.S. while 37 percent say they have been bad.

More voters see trade agreements as costing the United States jobs. Fifty-three percent say trade agreements have cost the U.S. jobs, while 22 percent say they make no difference and 11 percent say trade leads to more job creation. Among Republicans, 58 percent say trade costs jobs, 20 percent say it has no effect and 13 percent say trade creates jobs. Of Democrats, 49 percent say trade costs jobs, 24 percent see no impact and 10 percent say trade increases jobs.

State of the state
Forty-six percent of registered voters say Wisconsin is headed in the right direction, while 50 percent say it has gotten off on the wrong track. When last asked in February, 44 percent said the state was moving in the right direction and 52 percent that it was on the wrong track. Fifty percent or more have said wrong track in each of four polls asking this question since January 2015.

Thirty-seven percent say the state budget is in worse shape than a few years ago, 31 percent say it is in better shape and 25 percent say it is about the same. Combining five polls taken in 2015 and 2016, 38 percent say the budget is in worse shape, 32 percent say better shape and 24 percent about the same.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents think the economy got worse over the past year while 25 percent say it got better and 44 percent say it has remained about the same. This is little changed from March, when 28 percent said the economy had worsened, 25 percent saw improvement and 45 percent saw no change.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, 25 percent expect the economy to improve, 23 percent think it will worsen and 43 percent expect no change. In March, 29 percent expected improvement, 18 percent thought the economy would worsen and 44 percent thought it would not change much.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is viewed favorably by 37 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 33 percent, while 31 percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t have an opinion. When last measured in August of 2015, Baldwin had a 36 percent favorable and 40 percent unfavorable rating, with 24 percent unable to give an opinion.

Speaker Ryan is viewed favorably by 49 percent of registered voters and unfavorably by 32 percent. Eighteen percent do not have an opinion of him. In March, 48 percent had a favorable opinion, 31 percent unfavorable and 21 percent were unable to say.

President Obama’s job approval stands at 51 percent, with 43 percent disapproval. In March, 50 percent approved and 45 percent disapproved. As in national polling, Obama’s job approval has moved slightly upward since 2014.

The Marquette Law School Poll was conducted June 9-12, 2016. The full sample includes 800 registered voters interviewed by cell phone or landline, with a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points. Results for likely voters are based on 666 respondents with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.

 

Public wants more government action against opioid abuse

Two-thirds of Americans believe the federal and state governments should do more to combat the nation’s heroin and prescription drug epidemic, according to new results from the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll.

Only a third in the Kaiser poll said heroin abuse is an “extremely serious” health problem in the United States and even fewer — only about a quarter — said abuse of strong prescription painkillers is an “extremely serious” health problem. This is despite 44 percent of Americans reporting that they personally know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers.

Still, two-thirds of Americans acknowledge prescription pain relief abuse as either “extremely serious” or “very serious.”

The Kaiser poll showed Americans feel the effort to address the growing abuse of opioids is not aggressive enough at any level — not by federal and state governments and not by doctors and users. However, more Americans fault the users than government: About 70 percent said drug users aren’t doing enough to deal with addiction and 60 percent said federal efforts are too small.

In the survey, about 80 percent said the following steps would be at least somewhat effective:

• Increasing pain management training for doctors and students.

• Increasing access to addiction treatment programs.

• Increasing public awareness programs.

• Increasing research about pain and pain management.

• Monitoring how doctors prescribe prescription painkillers.

The poll, conducted in mid-April, also revealed most people don’t know the Affordable Care Act mandates that insurance plans provide mental health benefits and substance abuse treatment under the same copays, deductibles and coverage limits they apply to other medical services.

“This survey is just the latest in a long line of evidence that this out-of-control epidemic is affecting every one of us — no matter our background, no matter where we live,” said U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “I agree that the federal government must do more and be a better partner with state and local officials who are on the front lines every day.”

Watchdog cites polling irregularities in New York primary

A New York City official ordered an audit of the city’s election authorities, citing deep concern over widespread reports of poll site problems and irregularities as voters cast their ballots in the state’s primary election.

New York Republicans and Democrats on April 19 held presidential nominating contests for the Nov. 8 election. Delegate-rich New York, the fourth most populous U.S. state, is a big prize for the candidates.

“There is nothing more sacred in our nation than the right to vote, yet election after election, reports come in of people who were inexplicably purged from the polls, told to vote at the wrong location or unable to get into their polling site,” city Comptroller Scott Stringer said on primary day.

Stringer said his office had received reports of polling stations that failed to open on time and were unable to tell voters when they would be operational. A voter in the borough of Queens reported a broken machine and staff instructing voters to place their ballots in a “slot” for processing at a later time.

In a letter to the New York City Board of Elections, the comptroller cited reports that polling staff were unable to operate voting machines, were giving out conflicting information and erroneously directing voters to alternate sites.

Of particular concern, Stringer said, were allegations of widespread removal of eligible voters from registration rolls and incorrect party affiliations on voter records. Stringer said eligible Democratic voters in Brooklyn fell by 120,000 from November 2015 to April 2016 without explanation.

Board of Elections officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Most Americans support torture of suspected terrorists

Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe torture can be justified to extract information from suspected terrorists, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, a level of support similar to that seen in countries like Nigeria where militant attacks are common.

The poll reflects a U.S. public on edge after the massacre of 14 people in San Bernardino in December and large-scale attacks in Europe in recent months, including a bombing claimed by the militant group Islamic State last week that killed at least 32 people in Belgium.

Donald Trump, the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has forcefully injected the issue of whether terrorism suspects should be tortured into the election campaign.

Trump has said he would seek to roll back President Barack Obama’s ban on waterboarding – an interrogation technique that simulates drowning that human rights groups contend is illegal under the Geneva Conventions. Trump has also vowed to “bring back a hell of a lot worse” if elected.

Trump’s stance has drawn broad criticism from human rights organizations, world bodies, and political rivals. But the poll findings suggest that many Americans are aligned with Trump on the issue, although the survey did not ask respondents to define what they consider torture.

“The public right now is coping with a host of negative emotions,” said Elizabeth Zechmeister, a Vanderbilt University professor who has studied the link between terrorist threats and public opinion. “Fear, anger, general anxiety: (Trump) gives a certain credibility to these feelings,” she said.

The March 22-28 online poll asked respondents if torture can be justified “against suspected terrorists to obtain information about terrorism.” About 25 percent said it is “often” justified while another 38 percent it is “sometimes” justified. Only 15 percent said torture should never be used.

Republicans were more accepting of torture to elicit information than Democrats: 82 percent of Republicans said torture is “often” or “sometimes” justified, compared with 53 percent of Democrats.

About two-thirds of respondents also said they expected a terrorist attack on U.S. soil within the next six months.

TERRORISM TOP CONCERN

Surveys by other polling agencies in recent years have shown U.S. support for the use of torture at around 50 percent. A 2014 survey by Amnesty International, for example, put American support for torture at about 45 percent, compared with 64 percent in Nigeria, 66 percent in Kenya and 74 percent in India.

Nigeria is battling a seven-year-old insurgency that has displaced 2 million people and killed thousands, while al Shabaab militants have launched a series of deadly attacks in Kenya. India is fighting a years-old Maoist insurgency that has killed hundreds.

In November, terrorism replaced economy as the top concern for many Americans in Reuters/Ipsos polling, shortly after militants affiliated with the Islamic State killed 130 people in Paris.

At the same time, Trump surged in popularity among Republicans, who viewed him as the strongest candidate to deal with terrorism. Besides his advocacy of waterboarding, Trump said that he would “bomb the hell out of ISIS,” using an alternative acronym for Islamic State.

“You’re dealing with people who don’t play by any rules. And I can’t see why we would tie our hands and take away options like waterboarding,” said Jo Ann Tieken, 71, a Trump supporter.

Tieken said her views had been influenced by the injuries suffered by her two step-grandsons while serving in the military four years ago in Afghanistan.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll included 1,976 people. It has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 2.5 percentage points for the entire group and about 4 percentage points for both Democrats and Republicans.

Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Ross Colvin. 

terror, torture
Marines at Camp X-Ray at the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba escort a newly arriving detainee into a processing tent after being showered in this February 7, 2002 file photo. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Marc Serota/Files

Marquette poll finds tight Democratic presidential race in Wisconsin, Trump maintaining GOP lead

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.

Matchups

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.