Poll Shows Wisconsin Voters Disapprove of Trump’s Foreign Policy Moves

President Donald Trump speaks during a Tuesday campaign rally at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

MILWAUKEE (CN) – A Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday showed more than half of Wisconsin voters disapprove of President Donald Trump’s handling of foreign policy, reflecting a particular unease with recent volatility between the U.S. and Iran.

The poll indicated that 53% of voters disapprove of Trump’s foreign policy moves against 44% who approve, although those numbers are not significantly different from the 54% disapproval and 43% approval registered in a December poll.

Sixty-one percent of those polled feel the U.S. is unlikely to enter a major military conflict with Iran as a result of a Jan. 3 drone strike which killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, an operation which has drawn both praise and condemnation from lawmakers split mostly along party lines.

Of those polled, 30% believe that a major military conflict is likely in the aftermath of the operation, while 8% were unsure.

According to the poll, the divide between praise and condemnation from Capitol Hill extends to Wisconsinites. When presented with the statement “it’s about time that the U.S. struck back against Iran,” 43% agreed while 51% disagreed.

Wednesday’s poll comes a day after Trump held a rally in Milwaukee, during which he celebrated the killing of Soleimani as long overdue justice for a terrorist butcher who had taken countless American lives and caused unchecked mayhem in the region.

The Marquette poll also took the temperature of Trump’s matchups with Democratic primary candidates, his overall job approval and impeachment proceedings against him, as well as a number of social and policy issues including global warming, legal immigration, racial prejudice and the economy.

Less than a month away from the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, former Vice President Joe Biden was respondents’ first choice in the Democratic primary at 23%, with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in second at 19%, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg in third with 15% and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren rounding out the top four at 14%. Warren was a popular second choice for those polled, with 21% saying she would be their next best candidate.

Those numbers could shift, however, as 60% of Democratic primary voters said they might change their minds ahead of Election Day, whereas 38% say their mind is made up.

Biden and Sanders were the most favorable for respondents, clocking in at 68% and 67% respectively.

That favorability rating extended to their matchups against Trump in a general election, with Biden and Sanders being the only two Democrats that could beat Trump for those polled. Biden beat Trump 49-45 and Sanders edged Trump out at 47-46, although Trump’s matchups with each of the top four Democrats were within the margin of error.

Wisconsin voters do not seem to have moved much regarding approval of Trump’s performance as president. The poll showed 48% approve of the job he is doing against 49% disapproving, a minor fluctuation from when 47% approved and 50% disapproved in December.

As expected, the approval ratings break precisely along party lines, with 92% of Republicans saying the president is doing a good job and 91% Democrats saying he is not.

Nevertheless, the poll revealed that Trump’s approval numbers have increased slightly in the last year, rising up from 44% approval and 52% disapproval in January 2019.

Wisconsinites do not seem to have moved much since November when faced with Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine and the impeachment proceedings they spurred.

Forty percent of those polled this month said Trump did something seriously wrong in his dealings with Ukraine, 14% thought he did something wrong but not seriously so and 37% defended the president as having done nothing wrong at all. Similar polls in November and December showed slightly more voters thought he did something seriously wrong at 42% while the president’s defenders remained largely unchanged.

Forty-seven percent of Badger State voters ultimately approved of the House of Representatives’ move to impeach Trump, whereas 49% disapproved and 3% said they did not know.

With regard to the Senate trial set to begin Jan. 21, 44% said the Senate should convict the president and remove him from office and 49% said the Senate should acquit him of the charges.

Turning to broader policy issues, 41% of those polled said global warming will cause a great deal of harm to the U.S., with 21% expecting moderate harm and 19% claiming it will cause no harm at all.

Thirty-five percent of those polled said the number of legal immigrants allowed into the U.S. should increase against 20% saying it should be reduced.

When faced with the question of racial prejudice, one-third of Wisconsin voters thought prejudice against black people is a very serious problem, whereas 17% said it is not a serious problem and 9% said it is not a problem at all.

Wisconsinites on the whole had a rosy economic outlook when polled, with 48% saying the economy improved over the past year, 33% saying it stayed the same and only 17% saying things have gotten worse. One-third of those polled saw more economic improvement coming, while 23% saw the good times coming to an end.

One thing remains true, however: Americans are cynical about their government. Forty-eight percent of those polled felt the government is run by a few big interests, 64% strongly agreed that the government wastes their tax dollars and more than half felt they could not trust the government to do what is right. Those trends have been largely steady since July.

January’s Marquette Law School interviewed 800 registered Wisconsin voters over the phone between Jan. 8-12. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points for the full sample.

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