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New Marquette Law School Poll national survey finds Biden and Trump each supported by 50% of registered voters

Among likely voters, Biden draws support of 52%, Trump draws 48%
Trump Biden Donald Trump Joe Biden
Posted at 7:51 AM, Apr 04, 2024

MARQUETTE (NBC 26) — A new Marquette Law School Poll national survey of registered voters finds President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump each to be the choice of 50% of registered voters.

Among likely voters, President Biden receives 52% and President Trump 48%.

In the most recent prior Marquette Law School Poll, conducted Feb. 5-15, 2024, Trump was the choice of 51% and Biden the pick of 49% among registered voters, while Trump won 52% and Biden 48% among likely voters.

These results include voters who initially said they would vote for someone else or would not vote, but were then asked their preference if they had to choose one of the two candidates. In the initial question, 15% said they would vote for someone else or they would not vote. Trump received initial support from 44% and Biden from 42%.

Table 1 shows that Biden does best with “likely voters”—those who are registered and say they are certain they will vote. Trump has a substantial margin with those who are registered but say they are not certain if they will vote. Trump’s largest advantage is with those adults who are not registered to vote. This highlights the potential impact of voter registration and turnout efforts in the upcoming campaign. (All results in the tables are stated as percentages; the precise wording of the questions can be found in the online link noted above.)

Table 1: Vote for Biden or Trump, by registration and certainty of voting

Among adults

Registration & certainty of voting
Vote choice
Donald Trump
Joe Biden
Registered & certain to vote
48
52
Registered but not certain to vote
56
44
Not registered
64
36
Marquette Law School Poll, national survey, March 18-28, 2024
Question: If the 2024 election for president were held today between former President Donald Trump, the Republican, and President Joe Biden, the Democrat, would you vote for Donald Trump or for Joe Biden?
Question: If you had to choose, would you vote for Biden or for Trump?
Question: Are you registered to vote at your present address, or not?
Question: What are the chances that you will vote in the November 2024 general election for president, Congress, and other offices -- are you absolutely certain to vote, very likely to vote, are the chances 50-50, or don’t you think you will vote?

The survey was conducted March 18-28, 2024, interviewing 868 registered voters nationwide, with a margin of error of +/-4.3 percentage points. For likely voters, the sample size was 674, with a margin of error of +/-4.9 percentage points. The sample size for all adults was 1,000, with a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points.

The Marquette Law School Poll’s national surveys have seen a close race between Trump and Biden among registered voters since May 2023, with the trend shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Presidential vote choice, Biden v. Trump, national surveys, May 2023–March 2024

Among registered voters

Poll dates
Vote
Donald Trump
Joe Biden
3/18-28/24
50
50
2/5-15/24
51
49
11/2-7/23
52
48
9/18-25/23
51
48
7/7-12/23
50
50
5/8-18/23
52
47
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, latest March 18-28, 2024
Question: If the 2024 election for president were held today between former President Donald Trump, the Republican, and President Joe Biden, the Democrat, would you vote for Donald Trump or for Joe Biden?
Question: If you had to choose, would you vote for Trump or for Biden?

Table 3 shows the Biden vs. Trump results by party identification in February and March national surveys. Trump’s support among Republicans slipped by 5 percentage points from February to March, while Biden’s support among Democrats rose by 2 percentage points. In March, a majority of independents said they would vote for Biden, reversing Trump’s advantage with independents in February.

Table 3: Vote for Biden or Trump, by party identification

Among registered voters

Party ID
Vote choice
Donald Trump
Joe Biden
3/18-28/24
Republican
88
12
Independent
46
53
Democrat
7
93
2/5-15/24
Republican
93
7
Independent
54
43
Democrat
9
91
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, Feb. 5-15, 2024, and March 18-28, 2024
Question: If the 2024 election for president were held today between former President Donald Trump, the Republican, and President Joe Biden, the Democrat, would you vote for Donald Trump or for Joe Biden?
Question: If you had to choose, would you vote for Biden or for Trump?

Among likely voters, the trend in vote choice is shown in Table 4. The likely-voter measure was not included before September.

Table 4: Presidential vote choice, Biden v. Trump, Sept. 2023–March 2024

Among likely voters

Poll dates
Vote
Donald Trump
Joe Biden
3/18-28/24
48
52
2/5-15/24
52
48
11/2-7/23
51
49
9/18-25/23
49
51
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, latest March 18-28, 2024
Question: If the 2024 election for president were held today between former President Donald Trump, the Republican, and President Joe Biden, the Democrat, would you vote for Donald Trump or for Joe Biden?
Question: If you had to choose, would you vote for Trump or for Biden?

Five-way race

When the ballot question is expanded to include independent candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Trump receives 41% and Biden 38%. Kennedy is supported by 14%, West wins 5%, and Stein is the choice of 2%.

The national trend in the five-way race is shown in Table 5.

Table 5: Five-candidate ballot choice, Feb-March 2024

Among registered voters

Poll dates
Vote
Biden
Trump
Kennedy
West
Stein
3/18-28/24
38
41
14
5
2
2/5-15/24
39
42
15
3
2
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, latest March 18-28, 2024
Question: If the presidential ballot included additional candidates, would you vote for Democrat Joe Biden, Republican Donald Trump, independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., independent Cornel West, or the Green Party’s Jill Stein?

The five-way vote by party is shown in Table 6. The additional candidates draw partisan support away from both Trump and Biden. Trump holds 77% support from Republicans, and Biden 76% support from Democrats. Kennedy draws 12% equally from both Republicans and Democrats, while West does one point better with Republicans. Stein takes 4% from Democrats but wins no Republican support. Independent voters are widely spread across the candidates, with the independent and third-party candidates doing much better with independents than with partisans. Trump and Biden both win 20% from independents, while Kennedy takes 37%, West 15%, and Stein 7%.

Table 6: Five-candidate ballot, by party identification

Among registered voters

Party ID
Vote choice
Biden
Trump
Kennedy
West
Stein
3/18-28/24
Republican
7
77
12
4
0
Independent
20
20
37
15
7
Democrat
76
5
12
3
4
2/5-15/24
Republican
4
80
15
0
1
Independent
18
34
29
13
4
Democrat
78
5
12
4
2
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, latest March 18-28, 2024
Question: If the presidential ballot included additional candidates, would you vote for Democrat Joe Biden, Republican Donald Trump, independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., independent Cornel West, or the Green Party’s Jill Stein?

Favorability

All the candidates, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris, have a net negative favorability rating, as shown in Table 7, with more unfavorable than favorable ratings. The independent candidates, Kennedy and West, have high rates of “haven’t heard enough.” Harris has the highest net negative favorability rating at -25, with Biden at -20 and Trump at -13. Favorability to Stein was not included in this survey.

Table 7: Favorability ratings

Among registered voters

Candidate
Favorability
Net favorable
Favorable
Unfavorable
Haven't heard enough
Kamala Harris
-25
35
60
5
Joe Biden
-20
40
60
1
Donald Trump
-13
43
56
1
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
-9
30
39
30
Cornel West
-6
12
18
70
Marquette Law School Poll, national survey, March 18-28, 2024
Question: Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the following people or haven’t you heard enough yet to have an opinion?

Biden’s favorability rating over time is shown in Table 8. Biden’s net favorability has fallen from -5 in November 2021 to -20 in the current survey; it is little changed in the past year.

Table 8: Biden favorability trend

Among registered voters

Poll dates
Favorability
Net favorable
Favorable
Unfavorable
Haven't heard enough
3/18-28/24
-20
40
60
1
2/5-15/24
-20
40
60
1
11/2-7/23
-19
40
59
1
9/18-25/23
-21
39
60
1
7/7-12/23
-17
41
58
1
5/8-18/23
-23
37
60
3
3/13-22/23
-15
41
56
3
1/9-20/23
-11
43
54
2
11/15-22/22
-6
46
52
3
9/7-14/22
-9
44
53
2
7/5-12/22
-26
35
61
3
5/9-19/22
-17
40
57
3
3/14-24/22
-10
44
54
2
1/10-21/22
-6
46
52
3
11/1-10/21
-5
45
50
5
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, latest March 18-28, 2024
Question: Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the following people or haven’t you heard enough yet to have an opinion?

The favorability trend for Trump is shown in Table 9. Trump’s net favorability has improved from -34 in November 2021 to -13 in the current poll, although it is 4 points more negative than in February.

Table 9: Trump favorability trend

Among registered voters

Poll dates
Favorability
Net favorable
Favorable
Unfavorable
Haven't heard enough
3/18-28/24
-13
43
56
1
2/5-15/24
-9
45
54
1
11/2-7/23
-15
42
57
2
9/18-25/23
-15
42
57
1
7/7-12/23
-28
35
63
2
5/8-18/23
-21
38
59
2
3/13-22/23
-29
34
63
2
1/9-20/23
-26
36
62
2
11/15-22/22
-36
31
67
1
9/7-14/22
-30
34
64
2
7/5-12/22
-27
35
62
3
5/9-19/22
-23
37
60
2
3/14-24/22
-22
38
60
2
1/10-21/22
-37
31
68
1
11/1-10/21
-34
32
66
2
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, latest March 18-28, 2024
Question: Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the following people or haven’t you heard enough yet to have an opinion?

For Biden and Trump, 19% of respondents are unfavorable to both candidates. The percentage of those unfavorable to both has remained near 20% since November 2021. The trend for favorability to both Biden and Trump is shown in Table 10. Biden had an advantage in favorability over Trump in most of the early polling, but Trump has held the advantage over the last four polls.

Table 10: Favorability to Biden and Trump, Nov. 2021–March 2024

Among registered voters

Poll dates
Favorability to both
Fav Biden, Fav Trump
Fav Biden, Unfav Trump
Unfav Biden, Fav Trump
Unfav Biden, Unfav Trump
DK either
3/18-28/24
3
37
40
19
1
2/5-15/24
2
37
42
17
1
11/2-7/23
3
36
38
20
2
9/18-25/23
3
36
39
20
2
7/7-12/23
1
39
33
23
3
5/8-18/23
2
35
36
23
5
3/13-22/23
2
39
32
23
5
1/9-20/23
1
42
34
19
4
11/15-22/22
1
44
30
21
4
9/7-14/22
1
43
32
21
3
7/5-12/22
0
35
34
26
5
5/9-19/22
1
39
36
20
4
3/14-24/22
2
41
35
18
3
1/10-21/22
2
44
29
22
4
11/1-10/21
1
43
30
20
6
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, latest March 18-28, 2024
Question: Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the following people or haven’t you heard enough yet to have an opinion?

Those who are unfavorable to both have varied in their vote choices over recent polls, as shown in Table 11. In the current poll, those unfavorable to both support Biden by 59% to 41% for Trump, while in February Biden got 63% and Trump 36%. However, in November 2023, those unfavorable to both supported Trump 52% to 48% for Biden. (The sample size of those favorable to both Biden and Trump is too small for meaningful analysis and thus is not included in the table.)

Table 11: Biden vs. Trump vote, by favorability to both

Among registered voters

Favorability to Biden and Trump
Vote
Donald Trump
Joe Biden
3/18-28/24
Fav Biden, Unfav Trump
0
100
Unfav Biden, Fav Trump
100
0
Unfav Biden, Unfav Trump
41
59
2/5-15/24
Fav Biden, Unfav Trump
2
98
Unfav Biden, Fav Trump
100
0
Unfav Biden, Unfav Trump
36
63
11/2-7/23
Fav Biden, Unfav Trump
2
98
Unfav Biden, Fav Trump
99
1
Unfav Biden, Unfav Trump
52
48
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, latest March 18-28, 2024
Question: If the 2024 election for president were held today between former President Donald Trump, the Republican, and President Joe Biden, the Democrat, would you vote for Donald Trump or for Joe Biden?
Question: If you had to choose, would you vote for Biden or for Trump?
Question: Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the following people or haven’t you heard enough yet to have an opinion?

Presidential approval

Biden’s job approval in March was 40%, with 60% disapproving—a slight improvement from February’s 38% approval and 62% disapproval.

Asked if they approved or disapproved of how Trump handled his job when he was president, 47% approved and 53% disapproved. This the first time the retrospective approval of Trump has been asked.

A strength of Biden, despite his high disapproval rating, has been his ability to win votes from those who “somewhat disapprove” of how he has handled his job as president, typically winning a small majority of this group of voters. Table 12 shows how voters choose to vote for Biden or Trump by strength of approval or disapproval of Biden’s job performance. Biden wins large percentages of both categories of approval, while Trump dominates the strongly-disapproving voters. Biden wins 61% for those somewhat disapproving of his job performance, while Trump is favored by 39% of those. In February, Biden took 60% to Trump’s 40% among the somewhat disapproving. Biden’s share among those who somewhat disapprove was slightly lower, 55%, in November.

Table 12: Biden vs. Trump vote, by Biden job approval

Among registered voters

Biden job approval
Vote
Donald Trump
Joe Biden
3/18-28/24
Strongly approve
1
99
Somewhat approve
6
94
Somewhat disapprove
39
61
Strongly disapprove
92
8
2/5-15/24
Strongly approve
2
98
Somewhat approve
9
91
Somewhat disapprove
40
60
Strongly disapprove
95
4
11/2-7/23
Strongly approve
3
97
Somewhat approve
9
91
Somewhat disapprove
45
55
Strongly disapprove
94
6
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, latest March 18-28, 2024
Question: If the 2024 election for president were held today between former President Donald Trump, the Republican, and President Joe Biden, the Democrat, would you vote for Donald Trump or for Joe Biden?
Question: If you had to choose, would you vote for Biden or for Trump?
Question: Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Joe Biden is handling his job as president?

Perceptions of Biden and TrumpTable 13 shows which candidate is thought to do a better job on seven issues. Trump is seen as better on immigration and border security, the economy, the Israel-Hamas war, and, to a lesser degree, foreign relations. Biden is seen as better on abortion policy and health care. Slightly more see him as better than Biden on handling Medicare and Social Security, as well. These views of the candidates have remained quite stable over the last three polls.

The percentage say that neither candidate would be good on an issue, or they would both be about the same, ranges from 18% to 26%, an indication that even with two such well-known candidates, there remains considerable uncertainty over how successfully each would handle these issues.

Table 13: Who would handle issues better

Registered voters

 
Who better on issue
Poll dates
Biden
Trump
Both about the same
Neither good
Immigration and border security
3/18-28/24
27
54
7
12
2/5-15/24
25
53
6
15
11/2-7/23
27
50
7
16
The economy
3/18-28/24
32
51
9
9
2/5-15/24
32
52
7
10
11/2-7/23
30
51
7
11
Handling the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza
3/18-28/24
32
42
9
17
2/5-15/24
28
43
11
18
11/2-7/23
31
42
11
16
Foreign relations
3/18-28/24
39
41
8
12
2/5-15/24
37
44
7
12
11/2-7/23
38
44
7
11
Medicare & Social Security
3/18-28/24
39
36
14
11
2/5-15/24
40
36
13
11
11/2-7/23
38
39
11
12
Health care
3/18-28/24
40
34
13
13
2/5-15/24
42
34
13
11
Abortion policy
3/18-28/24
42
33
10
15
2/5-15/24
42
34
11
12
11/2-7/23
41
34
10
14
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, latest March 18-28, 2024
Question: Do you think Joe Biden or Donald Trump would do a better job handling each of the following issues?
Healthcare not asked in November

Table 14 shows how well various phrases describe Biden and Trump. Biden, particularly, is seen as too old to be president, with 55% saying this describes him very well. For Trump, 23% say he is too old to be president.

On “shares your values,” more say this describes Trump very well than Biden, but more also say this describes Trump not at all well than say the same of Biden.

Corruption assertions have been leveled against both candidates; 29% say “has behaved corruptly” describes Biden very well, and 42% say the same for Trump.

On having a strong record of accomplishment as president, 17% say this describes Biden very well, while 28% say this describes Trump very well.

“Has the right temperament to be president” is seen as describing Biden very well by 24% and as describing Trump very well by 15%.

Table 14: How well does this phrase describe Biden or Trump

Among registered voters

Issue
How well phrase describes
Very well
Somewhat well
Not too well
Not at all well
Is too old to be president
Biden
55
22
13
10
Trump
23
29
26
22
Shares your values
Biden
15
28
18
39
Trump
17
28
12
43
Has behaved corruptly
Biden
29
18
23
30
Trump
42
21
19
19
Strong record of accomplishments as president
Biden
17
24
20
38
Trump
28
23
19
30
Has the right temperament to be president
Biden
24
27
16
33
Trump
15
21
17
47
Marquette Law School Poll, national survey, March 18-28, 2024
Question: How well does each of the following phrases describe (Joe Biden)(Donald Trump)?

Undocumented-immigrant policy

On the issue of illegal immigration and border control, 47% strongly agree with the statement, “The Biden administration’s border policies have created a crisis of uncontrolled illegal migration into the country.” An additional 22% somewhat agree. Fifteen percent strongly disagree with the statement, and 16% somewhat disagree.

Thirty-six percent strongly favor “deporting immigrants who are living in the United States illegally back to their home countries,” with 26% who somewhat favor that. Twelve percent strongly oppose deportations and 25% somewhat oppose.

Views of deportation are somewhat different when people were asked a question focused on how to deal with undocumented immigrants already in the country. Two versions of this question were asked, each to a random half of the sample. One question asked about undocumented immigrants “currently working” in the U.S. and one asking about undocumented immigrants “currently living” in the U.S.

The questions are:

  • Which comes closest to your view about undocumented immigrants who are currently working in the U.S.?
  1. They should be allowed to stay in their jobs and to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship
  2. They should be allowed to stay in their jobs only as temporary guest workers but not to apply for U.S. citizenship
  3. They should be required to leave their jobs and leave the U.S.

The alternate wording is:

  • Which comes closest to your view about undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the U.S.?
  1. They should be allowed to stay in the U.S. and to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship
  2. They should be allowed to stay in the U.S. temporarily but not to apply for U.S. citizenship
  3. They should be required to leave the U.S.

The results are shown in Table 15.
Table 15: Undocumented immigrant policy, by question wording

Among registered voters

Question wording
Undocumented immigrant policy
Stay & apply for citizenship
Stay temporarily, no citizenship
Required to leave U.S.
Working in U.S.
41
25
34
Living in U.S.
47
11
42
Marquette Law School Poll, national survey, March 18-28, 2024
Question: Which comes closest to your view about undocumented immigrants who are currently working in the U.S.?
Question: Which comes closest to your view about undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the U.S.?

As compared to the question that asks simply about those “living in the U.S.,” mention of “working in the U.S.” increases support for a middle sort of approach—a temporary-guest-worker option—while lowering support for both the options of a path to citizenship and of requiring undocumented immigrants to leave the U.S. In either question, substantially fewer respondents say undocumented immigrants should be required to leave the country than in the earlier-discussed question where 62% strongly or somewhat favor “deporting immigrants who are living in the United States illegally back to their home countries.”

Attention to topics in the news

Of recent events in the news, 59% said they had heard a lot about a New York court’s decision finding Trump liable for conspiring to manipulate his net worth and ordering him to pay a penalty of nearly $355 million plus interest, 28% had heard a little, and 12% had heard nothing at all.

Thirty-eight percent had heard a lot about Biden’s recent State of the Union address, while 44% heard a little and 18% heard nothing at all.

Considerably fewer, 23%, heard a lot about Sen. Katie Britt’s Republican response to the State of the Union, while 33% heard a little and 44% heard nothing at all.

The results of the Super Tuesday presidential primaries drew 33% who said they heard a lot, 45% who heard a little, and 22% who heard nothing.

Respondents are more likely to say they have paid a lot of attention to news about inflation than to news about unemployment. The survey asks about the latest estimates of the Consumer Price Index and the unemployment rate for the most recent month available at the time of the survey, February in this case. Table 16 shows attention paid to this news for inflation and for unemployment.

Table 16: How much heard about economic news

Registered voters

 
How much heard or read
Issue
A lot
A little
Nothing at all
Inflation rate
43
46
11
Unemployment rate
22
53
25
Marquette Law School Poll, national survey, March 18-28, 2024
Question: Here are some recent topics in the news. How much have you heard or read about each of these? News reports that consumer prices (inflation) rose by 3.2% over the past 12 months (as of February)
Question: Here are some recent topics in the news. How much have you heard or read about each of these? News reports that the unemployment rate was 3.9% (as of February)

Economic perceptions

Views of the nation’s economy have improved somewhat since September, though more say it is not so good or poor than say it is excellent or good. Table 17 shows the trend over the past four polls, with a dip in positive views and rise in negative views in the March survey.

Table 17: View of the national economy

Among registered voters

Poll dates
View of the economy
Excellent
Good
Not so good
Poor
3/18-28/24
5
28
38
29
2/5-15/24
6
29
40
25
11/2-7/23
3
24
40
33
9/18-25/23
3
20
45
32
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, latest March 18-28, 2024
Question: How would you describe the state of the nation's economy these days?

Republicans and independents are quite negative and Democrats considerably more positive about the economy. Table 18 shows opinion of the economy overall and by party identification.

Table 18: View of the national economy by party identification

Among registered voters

Party ID
View of the economy
Excellent
Good
Not so good
Poor
Total
5
28
38
29
Republican
1
13
45
42
Independent
1
19
44
36
Democrat
11
46
31
12
Marquette Law School Poll, national survey, March 18-28, 2024
Question: How would you describe the state of the nation's economy these days?

Asked about their personal financial situation, in March 46% said they are living comfortably, 38% are just getting by, and 16% say they are struggling. That is a small increase in those saying they are living comfortably, compared to February when 42% said they were living comfortably, 41% were just getting by, and 17% said they were struggling.

International issues

Forty-seven percent say Biden has been working to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, while 25% say he has not and 28% say they don’t know.

Those saying the U.S. is giving too much support to Israel declined slightly, to 37% from 41% in February, while those saying not enough aid is being given rose to 24% from 21%. Those saying about the right amount of support is being given barely changed: 39% in March from 38% in February.

Those saying not enough support is being given to Ukraine rose to 32% from 27% in February, while those saying too much aid is being given to Ukraine dipped one percentage point to 36% from 37%. Those saying the right amount of aid is being given declined to 32% from 37% in February.

Abortion

Preferences over abortion policy have changed little in polling since May 2022, with 70% saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases and 30% saying it should be illegal in all or most cases. Table 19 shows the full trend on these preferences.

Table 19: Abortion policy preference trend

Among registered voters

Poll dates
Policy preference
Legal in all cases
Legal in most cases
Illegal in most cases
Illegal in all cases
3/18-28/24
31
39
24
6
2/5-15/24
30
40
24
6
11/2-7/23
28
38
25
9
9/18-25/23
33
36
25
6
7/7-12/23
29
36
29
6
5/8-18/23
32
36
26
6
3/13-22/23
28
36
29
6
1/9-20/23
26
38
29
7
11/15-22/22
31
37
24
8
9/7-14/22
32
35
27
6
7/5-12/22
29
35
28
8
5/9-19/22
29
37
25
8
Marquette Law School Poll, national surveys, latest March 18-28, 2024
Question: Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases?

About the Marquette Law School Poll

The survey was conducted March18-28, 2024, interviewing 868 registered voters nationwide, with a margin of error of +/-4.3 percentage points. For likely voters, the sample size is 674, with a margin of error is +/-4.9 percentage points. The sample of all adults is 1,000, with a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points.

Interviews were conducted using the SSRS Opinion Panel, a national probability sample, with interviews conducted online. Certain other data from this survey (focusing on public views of the Supreme Court) were released yesterday, on April 3. The detailed methodology statement, survey instrument, topline results, and crosstabs for this release are available on the Marquette Law School Poll website [law.marquette.edu].