By Kirsten Adshead | Wisconsin Reporter
“Clearly from the (Romney) campaign’s point of view, there’s a real concern here. You want, all candidates want, to be seen more favorably than unfavorably,” said Charles Franklin, the Marquette visiting professor who is leading the university’s political polling series this year.
The news is better for Republicans in the U.S. Senate race. The poll shows Republican former Gov. Tommy Thompson with a 9-point lead over U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-2nd Congressional District. Among likely voters, Thompson leads 50 percent to 41 percent.
“Tommy Thompson’s strong lead over Tammy Baldwin underscores the trust voters have in the former governor to get government spending under control, keep taxes low and create the kind of jobs that will make Wisconsin families stronger,” Thompson campaign consultant Darrin Schmitz said in a statement.
The poll of 706 Wisconsinites who are registered to vote or who said they would be registered by Election Day was conducted Aug. 15-19 – after Romney announced Ryan as his VP pick and after Thompson won the four-way Republican primary.
The margin of error for questions involving all 706 respondents was 3.8 percent.
For questions involving just the 576 respondents who are likely to vote in the presidential election in November, the margin of error was 4.2 percent.
According to the poll:
- Among likely voters, if the election was held now, 49 percent of respondents said they would vote for the Obama-Biden ticket, while 46 percent would choose Romney-Ryan, with 4 percent undecided and 1 percent choosing someone else.
- Majorities said they believe Obama cares about them and is a strong leader, 57 percent and 52 percent, respectfully. For Romney, 37 percent believe he cares about them, and 46 percent see him as a strong leader.
- Fifty-eight percent of those polled said they thought Romney’s choice of Ryan for a running mate was either excellent or very good.
The Marquette poll has shown a gradual narrowing of the presidential race during the past several months. A poll conducted just before the Ryan announcement showed a 5-point advantage for Obama.
Voter enthusiasm is)”all in our favor, so as you see the weeks go by closer to the election, I think that excitement and enthusiasm on the Republican side is just going to grow,” said Nicole Tieman, Wisconsin communications director for the Republican National Committee.
She also criticized Obama for not spending enough time in Wisconsin.
The president’s last trip to the state was in February, and some were critical that he did not campaign in support of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett during the gubernatorial recall battle earlier this summer.
First lady Michelle Obama will be in Milwaukee on Thursday.
Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Obama campaign spokeswoman Gillian Morris said she would email a response to Tieman’s criticism, but hadn’t done so by Wednesday evening.
Obama supporter James Zietlow, however, accepts that the president can only do so much campaigning.
“I think it’s a wise choice of him to go where the contest is closer than it is,” the Eagle River retiree, 74, said. “You only got so much time, so much money. You make decisions.”
But if the closeness of the race in swing states determines whether Obama stops there, Wisconsin might be getting a presidential visit someday soon after all.
Of the 10 states identified as “swing states” by TalkingPointsMemo, which tracks polling data, Obama’s average 1.1 percent lead in Wisconsin is among the narrowest.
TPM shows Romney winning in Florida and North Carolina. Of the states in which Obama is leading, only Iowa has a tighter race than Wisconsin’s, with a 0.3 percent average edge to the president.
Contact Kirsten Adshead at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @wisconsinreport.