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. Phil

    Famous Obama quote " What me worry?"

    August 16, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. Alfalfa RYan

    So the polls didnt change? Then why again did you change the status?

    August 16, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Sashatree

    " 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." This is precisely the kind of GARBAGE quasi-newsworthy reporting that we don't need! ARE YOU KIDDING? 1,005 PEOPLE POLLED, AND ONLY 920 ARE REGISTERED VOTERS!?!? AND THIS MERITS A HEADLINE DECLARATION?!?! CNN – you're looking pretty desperate.

    August 16, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Paul

    Looks like people in Wisconsin are perfectly fine with Medicare being destroyed by Paul Ryan

    August 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. SPF

    @DC Johnny. Proven to be incredibly unsustainable by whom? Because someone said it? By that logic the defense budget should be unsustainable, as well as anything else we spend money on.

    August 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Blaine

    Medical premiums $90 per month for a couple in Canada, and you still cannot understand why any one would want govt funded care. That's the way it should be with no "pre existing" medical exclusions. You are still debating this in 2012!

    August 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. dd

    take a look at wisconsins budget...it's in the black yea thats right...with a surplus....thanks to walker and ryan....jealous much?

    August 16, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. dreamer96

    What did Mitt Romney say about the Wisconsin recall vote....It proved we do not need more policemne, firemen, public workers....Ah Texas let go of many firemen too..then was hit with the biggest wildfires in their history..and many people lost their homes, all their property....and Texas had to ask the Federal Government for help...

    August 16, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. hal

    I don't understand why NH is a toss up state. It should be a red state. Oh wait....Mass. people move to NH and make it a Liberal state!

    August 16, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. BlueDem1

    President Obama's lead in Wisconsin has consistently been in the single-digits all summer. Of course it's not a given that the president will win there, as Wisconsin presidential races are almost always close. However, the Republicans haven't carried the state since 1984 and it will not be easy to flip that state to red, especially if there's a high turnout (which is usually the case in a presidential election).

    August 16, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. libbie_sheep

    hey blane – ago watch logan's run. Then you might understand why it is so cheap

    August 16, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    rrd – you obviously are a Marxist, communist sympathizer, foreigner, Hitler type, plutocrat who is a puppet to the wealthy. Now that is name calling!

    August 16, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Wisconsin is now the Mississippi of the north.

    August 16, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. libbie_sheep

    libbies are failing – hahahhahahahah hahahhahhahhah

    August 16, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. stax11

    @guyfromla it was Obama that cut over 700 billion from medicare to fund Obamacare. Obama has stolen from current seniors, but the liberal media as always are protecting him by not asking the hard questions.

    Social Security and Medicare left in the Dems hands will eventually go bankrupt leaving nothing for me or my children in the future. The Ryan budget that the Dems are trying to demonize actually SAVES these programs for future generation whilst leaving those currently in the system and over 55 untouched. Obama has done nothing to save these programs. Ryan is actually trying to LEAD by making hard decisions, telling the American people the truth and treating us like grownups.

    August 16, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. john

    @Eric Ready

    The polls had Walker leading by 6.7 percent.....good job

    August 16, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. Ray

    This election is so confusing I dont know who to vote for this year. Either its our presiden Mr. Obama or Mr Romney. All I want is and majority of the Americans whoever the president will be just bring back the economy. Lets bring back the manufacturing and lets start putting tariff on the goods that are coing into this country. Other countries are doing it why not us. We can trun things around completely if our politicans want them to be.

    August 16, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. milopup09

    I like how CNN analyzes polls.

    Obama ahead by 4 %: State is a TOSS-UP

    Romney ahead by 4 %: State LEANS ROMNEY

    And some call CNN liberally biased!

    August 16, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Big George in Big D

    @Paul – you obviously are another dumb a Obamabot drinking the koolaid. Paul Ryan's plan does not destroy Medicare. Why don't you put things in prospective? Like Obama's infamous Obamacare taking $716 BILLION FROM Medicare! Read up on the facts and quit spouting lies from the lamestream media.

    August 16, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Josh from Wisconsin

    Wisconsin was a toss up state before this annoucement.

    August 16, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. Salsaluver

    and this is coming from John King? I have never heard John speak anything positive in regards to the POTUS. John you're thirsty. Have some Repub Kool-Aid.

    August 16, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. michael

    well outlawgodsucks your screen name says it all. dumb as a stump

    August 16, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. tee27

    After Mitt get taking behind the woodshed in the debates it will be a done deal for Obama, This is crazy they would vote for someone who has paid no income taxes in 12 years not a dime. Pull the rug from under seniors .

    August 16, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. Big George in Big D

    @Sashatree – you are correct – A more reliable pollster, Rasmussen, has Romney leading in Wisconsin.

    August 16, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. louis

    I live here in Wisc. and this choice didn't change any minds at all.. The prez will carry this state..

    August 16, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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