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. Midway

    LOL! Obama is still up by 4% in Wisconsin!

    August 16, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. wade

    Your poll that favors Democrats is a lie Romney is winning in Wis by 1 point. Rasmussen!

    August 16, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. Jrdz

    What a load of crap is all I can say about it. Wow Mittens is grasping at straws again what a loser.

    August 16, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. blow hard

    CNN is always trying to make things more dramatic in hopes of improving ratings. I have a novel idea... why don't you concerntrate on the news and stop trying to create news? Wisconson is still a blue state.. and if you want to look at a deciding state... look to Nebraska.. they are the one state that is listed as red but actually gave Obama an electorial vote in 2008. If it is coming down to one vote.. it is in Nebraska.

    August 16, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Bob

    Ryan the big hypocrite GOP (I guess that's redundant). Ryan was so grateful for the Social Security benefits he received after his father's death (the ones he used to pay for his college education) that he's working hard to make sure no kids ever again get such benefits (the freeloaders!). Or how about how he constantly whines about the stimulus when he voted for 1) The bailouts (all of the them) 2) The wars in Iraq 3)The debt ceiling. And now we know that he was a key member of the counter-stimulus proposal which would have spent $800 billion dollars in money on tax cuts for the wealthy and subsidies to oil companies (because those are job creators) instead of infrastructure projects to fix bridges and roads (because that's Socialism). So if Ryan had gotten his way during 2008, the U.S. auto industry would have gone out of business (instead of keeping its and millions of other related jobs) but oil companies would have had even higher profits (because record-breaking profits weren't good enough) and the deficit would have been even higher (because at least GM paid back its loan while the oil companies and the rich were going to be given an outright gift) and unemployment would be even higher (none of those job creators created jobs during Bush when regulations were non-existent and taxes were just as low).

    August 16, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Paul

    You know, they call it a VP "Bounce" for a reason. It comes back down. McCain was 4 or 5 points ahead after picking Palin.

    Didn't last.

    August 16, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Bob

    The Ryan/Romney plan of getting rid of medicare while lowering Romney's tax rate to below 1% is what the GOP likes to call 'shared sacrifice'

    August 16, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. FredKelly

    I dunno...that's a lot of red on that map.

    August 16, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. scott

    There is no way the race is close.I know nobody who thinks Obama deserves a 2nd term.

    August 16, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. sayer

    No worries, Mr. President, we got this.

    August 16, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Obama - Ending the American Dream as We Know It

    A lot of "toss up" states are going red this election. Obama BARELY won many of them in 2008. And after 4 years of failure he isn't going to be winning them in 2012.

    I have it from anonymous sources that Obama has already booked a moving van in January. It can;t get here fast enough.

    August 16, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Hannibal7

    Looks like people in Wisconsin are discussted by Obama destroying Medicare. They hate the man.

    August 16, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Paul

    How come the 18-34 age range is marked "N/A"? Surely you polled some people in this group?

    August 16, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. Phil Thomas

    Please this guy has 90 days to show every one what he's made of just like Sara did. He's a loser just like Mitts and he media will keep it close to help their ratings but trust that the loser will show his true colors

    August 16, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. bb

    Blaine go to canada and live, if u dont like it here, and $90 mo is b.s. and u know it. Typical DUMBOCRAP loser thinking. Success is not a dirty word, anyway why would u care welfare people get free medical

    August 16, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Jim Hahn

    It matters not. President Obama wins Florida and just 6 more electoral votes and it's game over. Romney would have to win Florida and 2/3rd of the remaining swing states in order to win. Not going to happen.

    August 16, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. Jason

    I personally know 7 people that make over $250,000 a year and have made that amount for a long time. At no time during the last 3 Presidents' terms have they started a business and/or hired anyone!!!! They work for large corporations, which are publicly owned by stockholders, so having their taxes lowered doesn't warrant them to "go out and start a business and hire people." Nor do these vice-presidents (which some are) of these corporations feel that since their personal taxes are lowered, that means they should start hiring where they work. Only supply and demand tell them to hire additional workers!!!

    August 16, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. Dave

    I work in Michigan but my house is in Wisconsin (unfortunately). I wont be voting for Romney/Ryan, I'd prefer a slow recovery than no recovery. Give more money to the rich that sold out American jobs to China? No thank you. Lets reward American companies that stay in America and deal with the fraudsters in Wall Street that funnel their profits to offshore accounts in order to evade taxes (that means you Romney).

    August 16, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. Red Pison

    Notice most of the dumbest states are Red.

    August 16, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. sumguy2006

    Wow, the media has been trumpeting how bad a pick Ryan was and what a gift to the Democrats this choice would be.
    That doesn't seem like much of a gift.

    August 16, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. Justin

    Ryan has nothing to do with wisconsin being tossup, I won't vote for romney/ryan, im one of many in wisconsin that won't.

    August 16, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. Joan

    The write is definatley bias towards Obama. If the poll didn't change much why are tossing up the states. If the middle class in American wants to see Mitt and Ryan take over and put them into more poverty and pad the pockets of the rich. I hope all
    the poor and middle class in America go out and vote. Your life depends on it... this is a serious election, people don't
    made a mistake like 2 years agon when you all stay home and give the congress to the GOP. They went in there and did
    not do a thing after all the promises. Please don't be fool twice. Obama would do better but he need congress and they did not do a thing becasue they want him to lose this election.

    August 16, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. a disgrace but you voted for him

    the disgrace obama used medicare and social security increases to keep extending unemployment so he could go on vacation instead of WORKING TO CREATE JOBS!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. W

    No way MI goes to Obama – I live there, and w/ the exception of the few blind-blue voters and racists (blacks who will only vote for blacks), everyone is overwhelmingly in support of our Republican Governor and what he's been able to accomplish in just a year. Furthermore, the people who support Gov. Snyder will hit the polls on election day, the blind-blue and racists won't. Went from worst state in the nation to one of the best for economic freedom – can't complain at all.

    August 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. GonzoG

    If the Radical Right win, how many gay friends will I lose to them fleeing to Canada and Europe?

    I don't trust either side to 'fix' the broken economy–I don't think they really know how it works. They DO seem to be able to gum up the works for the "other side", but I doubt Republican or Democrat can actually "fix" it.

    But honestly, I have several gay and lesbian friends and family members. If the Repblicans win–will they need to sneak out of the country to escape 'official' persecution? The non-government-sanctioned persecution is hard enough to deal with. I catch hell just for defending their right to exist.

    August 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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