August 16th, 2012
04:01 PM ET
10 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. politophile

    A couple of weeks ago on This Week, George Will, drawing on his notorious historic knowledge, said that a VP candidate has never substantially influenced any presidential election in the US, even in his or her home state.

    August 16, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Retired Army Officer

    Florida, Ohio, Iowa.......that's all it'll take for Obama to win.

    And Ryan hurts Romney in all three states.

    August 16, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Big George – Once again you are wrong, Ryan's plan does take over $700 billion from medicare, and immediately cuts $500 billion from medicaid. I am surprised that Fox foreign owned media did not tell you that.

    August 16, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. mark ducharme

    yet another throng of stupid here.

    August 16, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. coolbreeze

    With ALL THE ROAD BLOCKS the president has gone through with the Republicans, HE IS DOING JUST FINE. OBAMA FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS

    Vote OBAMA 2012

    August 16, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. Marc

    incoming voter ID law in wisconsin signed by walker... romney may actually win and that's scary... I mean, its not like he'll win fairly, he'll have to rely on voter suppression efforts by ohio and penn.

    August 16, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Jim

    WOW CNN! Obama still has a 4 point lead. They got a slight bump which was expected with the choice and the convention. Then there will be an expcted bumb after the dem convention the other way. There will be no real poll until at least a week or more after all the conventions. So please stop trying to make headlines where none exist.

    August 16, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. Dan

    I live in Wisconsin and my wife and I will be VERY proud that our votes will help remove Obama from office.

    August 16, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. aryugaetu

    If the republicans aren't embarrassed by the Romney-Ryan marriage then they are on the far left side of the IQ bell curve. Could someone, please, draw a picture for the Republicans explaining that remark? Thank you.

    Romney + Ryan = "Romulan"?
    Remember, you read it here first!

    No society can survive when the people with all of the wealth are saying, "Fend for yourself!"
    Need proof? Rome!

    WARNING: Historical facts ahead.
    (The Republicans may need a picture for this one, too.)

    Rome fell due to being too top heavy; the wealthy aristocrats didn't have to pay taxes (sound familiar?), the small land-owners paid the bulk of the taxes. But when they inevitably couldn't pay the ever-increasing burden, the aristocratic large land-owners took their land, but the wealthy still didn't pay any taxes on their newly acquired property. Fewer people could remain as small land-owners to pay the taxes, infrastructure weakened, no money for the Roman army or other services. Rome easily collapsed and was overrun due to internal greed from the top.

    Eerily similar to the US today.

    THIS is why it is important to show ALL of your taxes! The people want to know if you are a non-taxpayer, a wealthy leach, hurting the society that made you wealthy.

    August 16, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. milopup09


    Your attempt to explain that Obama is still ahead in Wisconsin using FACTS is lost on Republicans.

    August 16, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. betterdays

    I see there are still plenty of "blue state" people whose best, most well-crafted argument is that "red state" people are unintelligent. So that hasn't changed.

    Soon California and New York will decide what's best for the rest of the country yet again. So far they haven't been correct very often.

    August 16, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. milopup09

    I welcome Ryan to the race. He will end Medicare saving tax payers trillions. And he's a good 'Ol Frat boy born out of privillege. Just the type of guy who will stand up for the middle class. And did I mention he is as cute as a button!

    August 16, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. iMatt

    I don't see much debating, just name calling.

    August 16, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Ralph

    Weaksauce. These polls are like college rankings, they have to change every single time otherwise people won't pay for them. There are few undecideds that have yet to make up their mind or who will change their mind. I'm sure CNN neglects to say that the poll's change from last poll is within the margin of error as well.

    August 16, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Vijay

    Tax returns of Romney, Ryan's economic policy, Medicare, SSN and medicaid will be huge part in coming election. Obama need to attack Romney and Ryan's plan. I don't know why people are from Right are so worried about their religion. All the talk show hosts from right is ruin this country. Why they have to market that Islam is nothing but terrorism and Christians should get rid of Islam. They have to stop this non-sense. They are molding people in that way. I still don't understand why they have to paint Obama belongs to Islam and muslim. That is really insane. Why they (right wingers talk show hosts) telling that Obama failed as a President. He inherited worst economy with huge deficits, 2 un funded wars and American value was loosing in the world and from before he sworn in as a President all the talk show hosts (right wingers) immediately trying to paint Obama as a bad guy and also they played race card successfully. They were afraid, if obama restored economy, then there wont be Right wing president. Also all the bills he introduced was supported by both the parties. This needs to be stopped.

    August 16, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. Brian

    If you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things."

    Barack Obama '08

    how the worm has turned

    August 16, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. hz

    america is going down IF you elect obama again. if obama gets another 4 years, america credit rating will fall into B range......

    think about it, during first two years of obama administration, he can pass virtually anything he wanted, but what did he do? pass the stupid obamacare which is proven to be against the majority of american's will. and there's nothing else he did during that era

    August 16, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. milopup09

    So if Romney gets Wisconsin because of Ryan that's 10 electoral votes.

    But because he picked Ryan he loses Florida with 29 electoral votes

    Brilliant move Mitt!!!

    August 16, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  19. LOL

    Have we ever seen a state that votes because of the VP instead of the P? Wisconsin needs to remember who would be in charge instead of the creature under it.

    August 16, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. ezduzit757

    Wire Palladin, S. F. – You're not really surprised, are you?

    August 16, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Justin

    Here's the truth. Obama will win by a landslide. Polls=Garbage.

    August 16, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. SPF

    A new report says WI's unemployment went up in July. So yes, we are totally going to vote for a republican president since our republican gov can't seem to get anything done right.

    August 16, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Joan

    John King you are really showing your colors... We all know that you are a Replublican and is very bias towards Obama. You liked Hillary. However, Obama will win because he is good for the poor and middle class. If this group of people don't get help and grow the entire country will colapse. The 2 percent of very very rich is top heavy and the courtry will toppled over.

    August 16, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. JL

    I'm trying to figure out why democrats believe they are smarter than republicans. If wanting a limited federal government that doesn't take from those who work and give to those who don't makes me stupid, then I'm the dumbest s.o.b. on the planet. If wanting to end abortion and protect peoples religious freedoms is stupid, then call me Cletus.

    August 16, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. Dan

    Go Paul Go....we need U. Bring down the deficit...priority number 1

    August 16, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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