October 30, 2014

Schimel, Happ unfamiliar to voters in close AG race

Charles Franklin

Charles Franklin

Republican Brad Schimel has a slight advantage over Democrat Susan Happ in the race for attorney general among likely voters, according to the latest Marquette University Law School poll. Schimel has a 4 point lead, with support from 43 percent. Happ receives 39 percent, with 14 percent saying they are undecided.

Poll Director Charles Franklin says the race remains tied among registered voters, 40 to 40, with 16 percent undecided.

With just a few days before the election, voters still are not familiar with the candidates hoping to replace the outgoing J.B. Van Hollen, who opted against seeking a third term in office.

“When you’re presented with these names — Susan Happ, Brad Schimel — do you know who they are right away?” Franklin explains the survey question. “That’s not a problem much with the governors race, it’s very much a problem with the attorney general’s race.”

More than 70 percent of registered voters say they haven’t heard enough or don’t have an opinion of them. Brad Schimel is the Waukesha County district attorney, Susan Happ is the Jefferson County district attorney.

The poll shows 37 percent of registered voters say the attorney general should appeal when a court strikes down a state statute or constitutional provision while 46 percent say the attorney general should use his or her judgment as to whether an appeal is likely to be successful.

This poll interviewed 1,004 registered Wisconsin voters, by both landline and cell phone, Oct. 9-12, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points for the full sample. The sample included 803 likely voters. The margin of error for likely voters is +/- 3.5 percentage points.

Walker leads Burke by 7 points in latest Marquette poll

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke and GOP Governor Scott Walker (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke and GOP Governor Scott Walker (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Republican Governor Scott Walker picks up a seven point lead over his Democratic challenger Mary Burke in the final Marquette University Law School poll of this election cycle. Professor Charles Franklin is the poll director. “Walker at 50, Burke at 43.” Franklin points out it’s “a substantial increase from an even tie two weeks ago.”

That seven point lead is among likely voters.

Franklin says the gap between the two candidates is tighter among registered voters, with Walker at 46 and Burke at 45. “So what you’re seeing here in the contrast between all registered voters and a one point race, and all likely voters in a seven point race is just how important differential turnout is.”

Franklin reminds voters, “Polls don’t vote; people do.”

Joe Zepecki is communications director at Burke for Wisconsin. He says the race is “too close to call and going to come down to turnout.” Walker has maintained all along the only poll that matters is on November 4th.

Franklin says it’s the “likely” voter numbers that are more predictive of election outcomes, but that can change.

The poll interviewed 1,409 registered voters, including 1,164 likely voters, by landline and cell phone Oct. 23-26. For the full sample of 1,409 registered voters, the margin of error is +/- 2.7 percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of 1,164 likely voters is +/- 3.0 percentage points. This is the final Marquette Law School Poll before the Nov. 4 election.

President Obama stumps for Mary Burke in Wisconsin

President Obama rallies for Mary Burke in Milwaukee

President Obama rallies for Mary Burke in Milwaukee

President Barack Obama stumps in Milwaukee for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke in a very tight race. Both politicians repeatedly emphasize the importance of casting a ballot in this election.

AUDIO: Obama urges voters to take advantage of early in-person voting. :43

The president slams Republican Governor Scott Walker on several hot button issues — jobs, minimum wage, health insurance, and education — while calling Burke an “honest person … who cares about people.” But, he says, there are also “policy reasons” why the former Trek bicycle executive needs your vote.

Obama points out Republicans aren’t bad people. They love their country, he explains, just like Democrats. “But,” he says, “they’ve got some bad ideas.” Obama jokes he’s got family members with bad ideas. “They’re still part of the family,” he says, “but you don’t put ‘em in charge.”

The president’s appearance in Wisconsin is one of several campaign events in states with close races for governor.

Burke hopes to benefit from national politicians stumping in the Badger State in recent days, including President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and U.S. Senate Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

Governor Walker says the many visits from the president and similar high-profile politicians show Burke is “the candidate of Washington.”

Obama spoke at Milwaukee’s North Division High School in a majority Democratic district.

Burke and Walker are tied in the polls. Each campaign says turnout is the key to a win.  A final Marquette poll is scheduled to be released Wednesday, though both candidates have said the only poll that matters is at the voting booth. Election Day is Tuesday, November 4th.

After the Milwaukee rally Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin Joe Fadness released the following statement:

“Wisconsin can’t afford a governor who will walk lock-step with President Obama and his failed policies that have hurt our country and would take Wisconsin backward. As President Obama appears with Mary Burke, voters must remember that the president’s failed policies are on the ballot this November — policies that have raised taxes on the middle class and made it harder for small businesses to succeed.”

Assessing your furnace’s readiness for winter

Home furnace (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Home furnace (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Winter is fast approaching and many homeowners are hoping to avoid high heating bills.

Last year was one of the coldest winters Wisconsin has seen in decades, according to official records. Tamara Sondgeroth is director of operations for Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s statewide program for energy efficiency and renewable energy. She says last winter’s frigid temperatures really took a toll on many furnaces. “We did see a lot of furnace replacements last year but they said it will actually continue over the next two years, at least, just because your furnace ran so much last year.” She says, “So, even if it’s a relatively mild winter, people still may be needing to think about replacing their furnace.”

As the autumn season changes to winter, Focus on Energy encourages Wisconsinites to examine energy use in their homes and businesses. You don’t want to wait until the last minute when it’s cold — and more expensive — for a service call. It’s a huge expense to replace an old furnace, but Sondgeroth says the return on investment is worth it. “The payback on that is pretty reasonable — to get the more efficient furnace — especially after you consider that we do a rebate to help you out with that initial cost.”

Several cities in Wisconsin experienced their coldest winter season in recorded history during the period from December 2013 through February 2014.

Regularly changing the filter can make a big difference in the efficiency and life of a furnace. Setting the thermostat to its optimum temperature can reduce heating bills. The Focus on Energy program offers incentives all year round to residential and business customers who make efficiency upgrades with the goal of conserving energy and reducing utility bills.

Electric customers pay for the Focus on Energy program, which offers incentives for buying energy-efficient appliances.

October is Energy Awareness Month. It highlights the importance of energy conservation and efficiency.

Group sues Governor Walker to act on minimum wage

(WRN file photo)

(WRN file photo)

Advocates for a higher minimum wage want to force the governor to increase the rate; they hope to draw attention to the issue before the election.

Wisconsin Jobs Now is taking legal action, because its members say the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage is not a “living wage,” as required by law.

Jennifer Epps-Addison is director of the group. “Underpaid workers are suing Governor Walker to demand that he follow the law. Walker broke state law by denying valid complaints from underpaid workers without the due diligence of even a cursory investigation.”

The group is suing the governor as well as Reggie Newson, in his role as secretary of the Department of Workforce Development.

The lawsuit comes just a week before Election Day. Epps-Addison denies the filing is a political stunt. She says they have been focused on increasing the minimum wage for quite some time. “For the last year and a half workers have been demanding a raise in the minimum wage — both by going out on strike and by talking directly to elected officials.” She says, “Governor Walker has refused to hear those claims.”

Epps-Addison says the legal action is in response to the state’s rejection of more than 100 worker complaints regarding the current minimum wage, saying it does not comply with Wisconsin’s living wage law. The group is also responding to news that there was no adequate investigation on whether $7.25 is high enough to make ends meet. Walker’s Democratic opponent Mary Burke favors a wage of $10.10 an hour.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday. According to a new report from the MacIver Institute, more than 91,000 Wisconsinites would lose their job under a $15 an hour minimum wage. The group’s president Brett Healy says, “An increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour would be devastating for Wisconsin families and young people looking to establish a positive work history because many would lose their jobs.”