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020919-bara-opn-zweifel-column

Last month’s Marquette University statewide poll didn’t have much good news for the Republicans who continue to control Wisconsin’s two legislative houses.

It put them on the hot seat because the poll showed that on virtually every issue on which they and Tony Evers appear to disagree, the people are on Evers’ side.

This was the first Marquette poll since the election, when the polling had shown then Gov. Scott Walker and Evers in a virtual tie heading into Nov. 6. This one got down a little deeper, asking 800 of Wisconsin’s registered voters how they feel about specific issues — the minimum wage, education financing, health care, nonpartisan redistricting and so on.

It didn’t look anything at all like the picture Assembly Speaker Robin Vos painted in his response to Evers’ State of the State message a couple of weeks ago. Vos implied that Evers’ election was a fluke, that Wisconsin was in a wonderful position thanks to him and his fellow Republicans, and he pledged to stop any changes that might smell of “socialism,” whatever that was supposed to mean.

But it appears Wisconsin folks have a different take on things these days.

Charles Franklin’s poll, considered one of the most accurate in the state, showed overwhelming backing for nonpartisan redistricting, an idea Vos and his GOP colleagues have spent millions of dollars of taxpayer money fighting in court. They have conspired to not even allow a vote on the concept, defending their clever gerrymandered partisan redistricting of 2011 that allows them to win a healthy majority of legislative seats while receiving less than a majority of the vote.

It’s one way that Republicans have been able to get their way these past several years despite passing unpopular legislation.

The Marquette poll also showed that Wisconsinites want the state to withdraw from the national lawsuit that seeks to declare Obamacare unconstitutional. By a margin of 48-42 percent, voters said the state should get out of the suit engineered by former Gov. Scott Walker and former Attorney General Brad Schimel.

That’s what Evers has asked his attorney general, Democrat Josh Kaul, to do. Alas, he’s been hamstrung by the lame-duck legislation that took away several of the governor’s long-standing powers. That brazenly partisan session didn’t fare well in the poll either — a sizable majority viewed it negatively.

According to the poll, voters also are in favor of accepting federal money to expand Medicaid in the state to help insure more of the working poor and save the state hundreds of thousands in health spending. Walker constantly opposed accepting the money and Wisconsin is now one of the few states, even among Republican ones, that continues to reject the federal money.

Oh, and about Scott Walker. Poll respondents indicated they’re tired of him. By 53-37 percent, they answered that the former governor shouldn’t run for governor again — or, for that matter, the U.S. Senate.

Although Donald Trump captured Wisconsin’s electoral votes in 2016, the Marquette poll showed people are souring on him. His favorable rating stands at 42, unfavorable now at 53 percent. His wall is even more unpopular. Sixty-two percent oppose it, 25 percent are in favor.

Whether any of this means legislative Republicans will see a need to temper their agenda is anyone’s guess.

As long as they have the power to rig the state vote with redistricting tricks and legislation that suppresses the vote, they probably don’t see a need to play fair.

Their only fear is that every so often even voters in gerrymandered districts get angry enough to throw out the bums.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. He can be reached by email at dzweifel@madison.com and on Twitter

@DaveZweifel.