August 16th, 2012
04:01 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Electoral Map: Wisconsin moves to true "toss up"

(CNN) - CNN Thursday turned the important battleground state of Wisconsin from "lean Obama" to true "toss up" on its electoral map, in the wake of Mitt Romney's naming of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, a seven term congressman from the Badger state, as his running mate.

One contributing factor behind CNN's move was a new poll that matched two others from last week that indicate that the presidential contest in Wisconsin is close. While Ryan's announcement did not dramatically alter the presidential poll numbers in Wisconsin, it did change the way both campaigns viewed the state of the race in the state.

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"Both campaigns see the Ryan pick as something that makes Wisconsin more competitive. When we visited this week, every Republican we spoke to suggested it would help keep a Republican base already energized by the recent recall election fired up and hungry for more in November." said CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

"And we saw the impact on the Obama campaign firsthand. Within hours they rewrote their script for calls to voters to add some sharp criticism of Ryan and his Medicare plan. But the way they did it was telling: A couple of lines about how is a nice guy, sure, but then the segue to the attack and a script that included a line saying President Obama was more in tune with working class voters," added King.

According to the CNN/ORC International survey, which was conducted entirely after Romney added Ryan to the GOP ticket, 49% of registered voters in Wisconsin say they back President Barack Obama, with 45% supporting Romney. The president's four point advantage over the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is within the survey's sampling error.

Two other polls conducted last week, before the Ryan announcement, indicated the president holding a single digit advantage in a state he won by 14 points in the 2008 presidential election.

Wisconsin now becomes the eighth state CNN considers a true toss up, joining Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia. CNN considers Michigan, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania as states that lean towards Obama, with Arizona, Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina as states that lean towards Romney.

With Wisconsin's move to true "toss up," the CNN Electoral Map now suggests Obama leading in states with a combined 237 electoral votes, Romney ahead in states with a combined 206 electoral votes, and states with 95 electoral votes up for grabs. 270 electoral votes are needed with win the White House.

While Obama won Wisconsin by double digits, Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee, narrowly captured the Badger State, over President George W. Bush, and Vice President Al Gore edged out Bush in the state in the 2000 contest. It appears the 2012 contest in Wisconsin will be much closer to those competitive contests than the 2008 election.

"The longer term history is on the president's side, but the last couple of years have been good for Republicans. If nothing else, the president is going to have to fight harder – and that means time and resources in Wisconsin that otherwise might have gone to a North Carolina or Colorado. Anything Romney can do to expand the map helps, and this at least for now expands the map," adds King.

While the CNN poll suggests the Ryan announcement barely moved the needle in his home state, the news shouldn't come as surprise.

"That's in keeping with political wisdom which says that Americans pay little attention to the bottom of the ticket , even in the running mate's home state, if he has never run for statewide office," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

But the survey does indicate Ryan's popular in his home state. His favorable rating, at 50%, is actually higher than Romney's, and 56% of all Wisconsinites say that Ryan is qualified to serve as president if necessary, and most rate Romney's pick of Ryan as excellent or pretty good.

According to the poll, the Romney/Ryan ticket is doing best in the southeastern part of the Wisconsin, Ryan's home base. They also do best in outer suburbs that are far removed from major population centers like Milwaukee or Madison - a good description of much of Ryan's congressional district. Obama continues to pile up votes in Milwaukee and Madison, but he is also winning the "Big Woods" area of Wisconsin in the northwestern part of the state - an area he carried four years ago.

"Ryan gets his highest favorable rating among Wisconsinites who consider themselves members of the Tea Party. Tea Partiers are wild about Ryan - 87% have a favorable view of him. His favorable rating is higher among men than women, among higher-income Wisconsin residents than lower-income, and among those outer suburbs that are similar to the places Ryan represents in Congress," adds Holland.

But the survey indicates Wisconsinites are less familiar with Ryan the further they live from the First Congressional District. Only one in ten who live near his district are unsure how they feel about Ryan, but that rises to one in four in the northwestern part of the state.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC on Monday and Tuesday, with 1,005 Wisconsin adults, including 920 registered voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Mitt Romney • Paul Ryan • Polls • Wisconsin
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Some people in WI are called "cheeseheads" and must be suffering from "brain freezes." That may explain support for Mittens by the reality challenged.

    August 16, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. MaryM

    Nope, President Obama still ahead in the polls in Wisconsin

    August 16, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. Obama Cares

    How is the "white board" like the etch-a-sketch? Ask Mittie, he can tell you.

    August 16, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. guyfromla

    At age 11, Paul lost his father. His father's Social Security checks kicked in and fed, clothed and sheltered this person. It allowed him to go to school in Univ of Miami and become a congressman. If he did all these using social security money, then why is he denying the same to my children – in case of my death? Why is he trying to abolish the hand that fed him, the system that got him where he is now? Rep, can you return the social security money that were given to your family along with the degree bestowed on to you by Univ. of Miami?

    August 16, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Dave

    Wisconsin, The Red State

    August 16, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Dave

    Obama wonders why they moved his cheese.......

    August 16, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. amohammad

    well said buyfromla...........!!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. BillinCSprings

    With the Wisconsin polls, you add in the recent polls from Florida, Virginia, Ohio, and Iowa, and Mitt Romney will be elected the 45th president of the United States

    August 16, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. FreeDrop

    The Rasmussen poll has Romney leading in Wisconsin

    August 16, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Todd in DC

    The election is closer, but the polls are still a bit of a guess even at this point.

    What is impressive is that in the past several months, Obama has had a narrow nationwide lead, and more substantial leads in individual swing states.

    Still, the polls won't really start to gain importantance until after Labor Day, and even then, only just beginning.

    August 16, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. Edward Marcano III

    I'd like some more conservative tainted meat and polluted water please. Oh and can I have a side of cramming Christianity down my throat. Who needs social mobility in Wisconsin really?

    August 16, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. Repandum

    Shame on Wisconsin, again...

    August 16, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. organically

    Of course the Tea party supports anyone that wants to eliminate or reduce most vital government programs!!!

    August 16, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Just Me

    I am tired of these polls everyday whether they are in favor of the candidate I support or not. The way the media reports these polls, is if they think we Americans a schizophrenic, changing or minds from one moment to another. The truth is most of us know exactly who we are supporting whether we reveal that to someone else or not. My prediction is that President will win all these so called battle ground states after it is all said and done.

    August 16, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. hmmm

    So CNN makes their own news now. A story about CNN's decision to move Wisconsin into the toss up category. So CNN write's this story to justify their move and try to make their weather forecast on the map accurate. by repeating it, it may yet become true. Journalism is a dying art.

    August 16, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. SPF

    Sorry, WI ain't no toss up. Our bubblers say Obama is the clear winner.

    August 16, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. Eric Ready

    And what did the polls say right before the Walker recall election?
    Exactly.
    This is an easy win for Romney in the fall.

    August 16, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. Reggiedw

    If Obama did not have the 2 big states of New York and California for sure he would be a goner by now. Those are the only 2 states that are saving him now.

    August 16, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. Lean6

    Enough with the polls, for pete's sake! Rational people have tuned this political garbage out until Election Day. There is to be nothing useful that comes out of this campaign atmosphere. Nothing but back and forth meaningless crap for the next 2-plus months. Meanwhile, in MY opinion, President Obama has been DOING the job for the past nearly four years while Republicans have done nothing. I've seen and heard all that I need to make a decision in November.

    August 16, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. drake mallard

    Romney was called "FiFi" when he was Gov. because instead of raising
    taxes, he called everything a "Fee". Romney wanted to charge a $100 fee
    to the mentally ret@rded to determine if they were mentally ret@rded.
    Romney wanted to charge $50 for TB tests and an extra $400 if you tested
    positive. Romney wanted to charge blind people $10 to prove they were
    blind and an extra $15 for a photo ID of them saying they were blind

    The high unemployement is due to people like romney aka fifi out sourcing that's why middle class Americans are suffering so much..

    George Romney resisted releasing a single year of taxes, arguing that it wouldn't present an accurate picture...but then he made a surprising offer: He would release the past 12 years of tax returns...That way, it wouldn't look like a stunt

    August 16, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Conrad Murray

    Mittens will lose Florida, and thus the election.

    August 16, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. rrd

    Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Some people in WI are called "cheeseheads" and must be suffering from "brain freezes." That may explain support for Mittens by the reality challenged.

    --
    When all else fails, resort to name calling and childish insults

    August 16, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. tykl

    @guyfromla – what are you talking about? you have missed a couple important facts. 1) there has been no talk of social security. 2) social security is going bankrupt in 2033, so if your plan (which seems to be do nothing) is carried out, nobody gets SS in 2033. also, i am sure he did not go to college on ss – show me an ss check that could cover college.

    August 16, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. drake mallard

    Mrs. Ryan lost her huband but continued to live the same life style.
    Yes the Ryan Family used Social Security checks but Mr. Ryan left his
    family finanically well off. Using Federal funds Mrs. Ryan went to
    school and the taxpayers paid for it. Married life is great and money
    is no problem like the Romneys. Paul Ryan and wife who is a Health
    Care Lobbyist have a plan ending Medicaid to seniors and health care to

    August 16, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. DC Johnny

    @guyfromla –

    You are exactly what is wrong with this country, and exactly why this country is a republic and not a democracy. Has it ever occurred to you that, despite a system being beneficial to those who reap the rewards, the system itself may be on a path to default and financial ruin? Does that theory not get through to you at all?

    The system has proven to be incredibly unsustainable. Your beloved Obama's plan: nothing. Do nothing, let it go bankrupt, and let the next generation and the next 5 or 6 presidents worry about it.

    You can cry all you want to about how your kids deserve the same benefits the previous generation got, but that kind of mentality is going to drive us all right off the cliff together.

    It's called "responsibility". Look it up, while you are looking up "selfishness".

    ------------

    guyfromla
    At age 11, Paul lost his father. His father's Social Security checks kicked in and fed, clothed and sheltered this person. It allowed him to go to school in Univ of Miami and become a congressman. If he did all these using social security money, then why is he denying the same to my children – in case of my death? Why is he trying to abolish the hand that fed him, the system that got him where he is now? Rep, can you return the social security money that were given to your family along with the degree bestowed on to you by Univ. of Miami?

    August 16, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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