'Ryan Effect' Doesn't Tip Wisconsin Red, But Race Tightens

A Marquette University Law School poll shows that more Wisconsin voters support President Barack Obama than his opponent Mitt Romney. But the race is definitely tightening.

President Barack Obama is up by 3 percentage points over Mitt Romney in the presidential race in Wisconsin, according to a Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday.

However, the race is tightening and polling officials warned candidates not to take Wisconsin for granted.

This is the first Marquette University Law School poll in Wisconsin since Mitt Romney tapped U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate, and the poll shows that the GOP candidate didn't get enough of a bump to swing Wisconsin from blue to red after the announcement.

“The two-point shift in Romney’s direction is within the margin of error for the poll, but suggest Ryan’s addition to the ticket may have slightly increased Romney’s chances in Wisconsin,” said Professor Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll.

Wednesday's poll shows 49 percent of the likely voters surveyed backing Obama, while 46 percent favor Romney. However, a poll done prior to Ryan’s selection between Aug. 2 through Aug. 5, showed Obama led 50 to 45 percent.

“Romney has suffered from more unfavorable reviews throughout the year,” Franklin said. “That was wider throughout the primaries and has narrowed after he clinched the nomination. But he hasn’t turned that around yet.

“One of the challenges to his ticket is, can they use the convention to turn that around and re-introduce him to the public and can he explain to the public why they should view him more favorably than they have?” Franklin said.

The "Ryan Effect" bumped Romney’s numbers slightly higher, Franklin said.

When pollsters asked likely Republican voters if having Ryan as the VP had an influence on their decision to vote for Romney, 29 percent said more likely while 16 percent said less likely. However, 53 percent said having Ryan as vice president on the presidential ticket wouldn’t have much of an effect on their decision.

Nicole Tieman, Wisconsin communications director for the Republican National Committee, said the poll numbers were very encouraging.

“We’ve been putting a lot of work into Wisconsin and this demonstrates how the Romney campaign believes Wisconsin is a top tier swing state. We’ve put every effort into their campaign to offer real solutions, not excuses,” Tieman said. “Even before the Ryan announcement we were seeing Romney closing the gap and now we’re getting dangerously close to Obama.”

In the U.S. Senate race, the latest poll shows former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson still has the advantage over Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin.

"Todays poll results represent voters trust in Tommy to solve today’s pressing economic crises and their understanding of the failed economic policies that Tammy Baldwin has spent the last four years advocating," Brian Nemoir, a spokesman for Tommy Thompson's campaign.

Thompson is up by nine points against Baldwin. In the previous poll, Thompson led by five points.

“Baldwin isn’t widely known across the state,” Franklin said. “The appeal outside Baldwin’s home area is an area where development still has to take place.”

Baldwin's communications director John Kraus acknowledged that Baldwin is very aware that she needs more recognition in the state and she has been campaigning in Milwaukee, Appleton, Wausau, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Green Bay, Sheboygan, Oshkosh, Manitowoc, De Pere, and La Crosse.

“Tommy Thompson will put those at the very top and the powerful special interests he has worked for in Washington ahead of Wisconsin," Baldwin said. "That is why he has shown a sense of entitlement to keep secrets and hide his tax returns from the people of Wisconsin.  Thompson would actually cut taxes for millionaires like himself and increase taxes on the middle class, increase out-of-pocket health care costs for seniors, increase the cost of higher education for students, and end Medicare as we know it for future generations." 

The results of the poll were released Wednesday during a segment of the on-going "On the Issues" series with Mike Gousha and Franklin. Polling of 706 registered voters took place between Aug. 16 through Aug. 19, and the poll results include responses from 576 likely voters in the pool with a 4.2 percent margin of error. 

Only 4 percent of those surveyed said they are undecided.

The Public Policy Forum also came out with a poll today on the U.S. Senate race between Thompson and Baldwin. Their poll has Thompson leading Baldwin 49 to 44 percent. In their prior poll in July, the two were at a dead heat at 45 to 45. They also noted that state Republicans are now backing him more than ever with an 89 point lead 93-4. In their previous poll, Thompson had a 77 point lead at 84-7.

Bob McBride August 23, 2012 at 03:15 PM
And at that time, his detractors were blaming Bush. It may be wrong, but its consistently so.
tom munson August 23, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Romney declares Energy Independence by 2020. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/sns-rt-us-usa-campaign-romneybre87j0p0-20120820,0,2610963.story Finally a President with COMMON SENSE, who is not beholden to Whacky Extremists Environmentalists. People have to live.
Jay Sykes August 23, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Was this article/analysis written before or after the MU polls accurately predicted the results of the Walker recall vote? As, I can not find the article you reference in the July or August archive of this blog.
James R Hoffa August 23, 2012 at 04:10 PM
@Bren - Could you elaborate on the job creators trickle down myth and describe in detail what kind of macro economic system you advocate?
James R Hoffa August 23, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Ha - looks like McBride schooled Schmitzy once again! @Lyle - Why is it that the only thing you seem to have on this issue is going back to Bush? Who here is defending the Bush administration as being a model of what they want our future to look like? Both Romney and Ryan have vocally admitted that many mistakes were made by the Bush administration, but instead of judging their professed platforms on their own merits, you instead go back to Bush - is that the current Democratic talking point???? Better check the professed platforms, pull my string Lyle Ruble ;-)
Eric August 23, 2012 at 04:20 PM
If I had any respect for politifact I that might mean something but since there a left leaning organization facing a potential lawsuit from the Virginia State GOP because of some off there "fact checking" it means nothing to me.
James R Hoffa August 23, 2012 at 04:24 PM
@Mr. Robert - What does that prove? Obama and Biden have made many false/inaccurate statements over the course of their prior campaign, administration, and current campaign. Not to mention that the Democratic left in general was responsible for the Politifact LIE of the year concerning Ryan's proposed budget / Path to Prosperity. The only thing that Politifact definitely proves is that both sides spin to their own advantage - is that really that surprising to you?
James R Hoffa August 23, 2012 at 04:27 PM
@Michael Schwister - Are you claiming that increased government taxation leads to greater prosperity? By what standard or measurement are you basing such a conclusions upon?
Eric August 23, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Another thing I am so sick and tired of hearing about how "the failed policies of the Bush administration got us in this mess in the first place." Really? First of all I seem to remember the economy under Bush who also by the way inherited a recession from his predecessor (the dot com bust) albeit not as severe, was pretty solid. Secondly I fail to see any connection between Bush's tax policy, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or any other of his policies and the housing market meltdown or the financial crisis. That was 20 years plus in the making with mistakes made in both republican and democratic administrations (Glass Stegal was undone during Clintons reign). If we want to have a debate about weather or not Obama's policies have helped or hindered the recovery that's a debate worth having but the whole this is all Bush's fault and Romney/Ryan are just going to take us back to the "failed Bush policies" argument is just stupid.
Jason Junck August 23, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Pertinent info: 1) Restoring cuts means highers costs for Medicare recipients. 2) The cuts are already included in Paul Ryan's plan to balance the budget. 3) Medicare Advantage is the single stupidest program in recent American history and should be scrapped no matter what happens in upcoming elections. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/us/politics/costs-seen-in-romneys-medicare-savings-plan.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=politics
Randy1949 August 23, 2012 at 04:37 PM
@JRH -- There are those among us who remember times of much higher marginal tax rates and greater prosperity for everyone -- not just a select few. It isn't so much prosperity, though as deficits that are caused by lower tax rates and increased spending on things like wars and arms buildups at the same time. Wasn't it back in the Reagan era that someone said deficits don't matter?
Jason Junck August 23, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Tom, try taking the median price of gas under President Bush and under President Obama, then compare them. When the economy collapsed at the tail end of W's tenure, the price of gas tanked along with it. The ending price is not reflective of the cost of a gallon of gas during W's tenure as president. Then realize that presidents have little to no control over the price of gas, and if they did, they would all wave their magic wands as their election neared in order to ensure they'd win. Then, well, you don't have to do anything after that, but if you could stop talking about gas prices is if they're relevant to politicians, that would be great. Thanks in advance.
James R Hoffa August 23, 2012 at 04:51 PM
@Randy1949 - So, higher marginal tax rates lead to greater prosperity for all - how? And when was this experienced exactly?
tom munson August 23, 2012 at 04:57 PM
23 million un/underployed meas we are in a recession. In a recession oil prices s/b lower. Pretty basic stuff. Unless you are President Obama who consider extremist environmental lobbyists more important.
Randy1949 August 23, 2012 at 05:00 PM
If you read carefully, JRH, I wasn't arguing cause and effect. But during the Eisenhower years, the highest marginal tax rate was 91%. Few people actually paid that, of course, but it was not a drag on the economy. One paycheck could actually support a family. Nor was it during the Clinton years, when marginal tax rates were slightly higher than they are now. When did we begin to see deficits getting out of hand? Under Reagan, who lowered income taxes and increased defense spending.
James R Hoffa August 23, 2012 at 06:11 PM
@Randy1949 - Reagan admitted that his deficit spending was his greatest regret. The problem is that not many Republicans until recent times have actually been serious about shrinking the size of the federal government, thus translating to lower spending requiring less revenues. Romney and Ryan promise to cut spending. If the Republicans don't start delivering on the promise of reduced spending soon, then they'll open the door to a viable third party that will garner Tea Party support. As far as military spending goes, national defense is the one thing that the federal government is actually expressly constitutionally obligated to perform.
Randy1949 August 23, 2012 at 06:18 PM
@JRH -- We are not constitutionally required to play cop to the world and pay for an arsenal that could kill the entire planet three times over. Have you ever seen the figures on our defense spending versus that of the other developed nations? It's about time we let some of our European neighbors take up the slack and protect themselves. They are never grateful for it either.
Jeff Frievalt August 23, 2012 at 06:43 PM
You folks rolled out that same chart during the Walker recall election. How did that work out for you?
James R Hoffa August 23, 2012 at 06:51 PM
@Randy1949 - That's a fair point and Hoffa wholly concurs. However, this also does not diminish the fact that military spending currently compromises only 1/5 of total federal expenditures. There's a lot more that could and should be cut as well. Check out the federal expenditures vs revenues chart on this page, compiled with data from the OMB and CBO: http://www.factcheck.org/2011/07/fiscal-factcheck/ Note that the Bush years weren't as bad as the lefties are claiming they were, as Bush came close to realizing a surplus of his own around 2007 and wasn't anywhere near the deficit spender that Clinton was during a majority of his administration. The biggest disparity between revenues and spending since 1930, and other than WWII, is wholly owned by Obama and the policies of his administration. Clearly, Obama needs to go!
Randy1949 August 23, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I'm well aware of those figures and charts, JRH -- I cite them often myself. Note that Social Security and Medicare account for 33.5% of the spending while FICA accounts for 40% of the revenue. Low Income Assistance and Medicaid/CHIP seem to account for a little over 13% of spending, yet this is there the Ryan/Romney budget seeks to cut, along with Social Security and Medicare, while leaving defense spending alone. Wouldn't an across the board cut be more equitable? In fact, shouldn't Social Security and Medicare (along with their FICA revenue) be considered apart from the general budget?
Jason Junck August 23, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Actually, Tom, a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction. Yes, current economic indicators show we're squarely in the middle of a prolonged, difficult stretch, but not a recession. Wages have stagnated, wealth is accumulating at the top of the spectrum and tax collections are currently at a 50-year low. But GDP has continued to steadily, albeit extremely slowly, rise for a few years in a row now. President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner worked out a large-scale plan that would deal with the long-term debt problems our nation faces whilst simultaneously protecting the economy's fledgling, yet slow-moving, recovery. Once a deal was reached that both sides could live with, Boehner took the compromise to his charges in the House, where they told him to go blank himself. The general thinking was that if a large-scale compromise was reached and actually worked, the president would get all the credit, despite the efforts of the two men and the two parties involved. That would ensure Obama's re-election, something the Tea Party freshmen in the House would never stand for, even at the steep, steep price of inching our nation closer to economic collapse. Kudos. Anything else I can clear up for you today?
James R Hoffa August 23, 2012 at 07:30 PM
@Randy1949 - SS and Medicare are analyzed separately, as if segregated from the general budget, and the trustee reports indicate that unless additional capital is injected into the systems or benefits are reduced, the programs will be bankrupt of their own accord in the near future. Imagine what would happen to the programs if the federal government went to a balanced budget and the fund was no longer able to generate any interest income! Actually, if it wasn't for all the past deficit spending, the funds probably would have already been insolvent without major payroll tax increases. The Romney/Ryan solution addresses the situation from a segregated standpoint, and not as a part of the overall federal budget. The biggest problem is that both of those programs should always be segregated and operate independently from the federal budget, but because they rely on income tax collections to pay the debt in which the programs are invested, we have guys like Obama threatening that SS checks won't be going out unless the debt ceiling is hiked. Obama is definitely one of the most deceptive Presidents we've ever had - even Nixon was more truthful to the people than Obama. Obama uses the people as pawns in his political gamesmanship - disgusting! And we can't cut the military enough to shore up our current deficit without cutting other programs or significantly raising taxes. Raising taxes in a recessionary economy is always ill advised - remember Hoover?
tom munson August 23, 2012 at 08:54 PM
ObamaCare steals 718 Billion from MediCare and puts it into ObamaCare. Since ObamaCare covers Illegals aren't the elderly being sacrificed by the democrats, I say yes they are.
BassGreat August 23, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Could you explain what has happened to the job situation in Wisconsin since the advent of the Walker/Romney/Ryan slashing of government workers pay, benefits and layoffs to make for bigger tax breaks to corporations and one percenters? Jobs just rolling in, are they? But that is what you were told, was it not?
Jason Junck August 23, 2012 at 10:32 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/us/politics/costs-seen-in-romneys-medicare-savings-plan.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=politics Patients would actually pay more if the "$716B being robbed from Medicare" stipulation was put back into place. It was part of a deal to make hospitals more profitable by having 30 million more people with health insurance. The Medicare Advantage program is the single stupidest program in recent American history. It disburses Medicare funding to private entities in the hopes that the competition would bring prices down. Except NOBODY KNOWS WHAT MEDICAL CARE THEY NEED, OR HOW HOW MUCH IT SHOULD COST. For anything. All they know is that insurance covers it, so I don't need to know how much it costs. This means that the private insurers who receive Medicare disbursements can still charge whatever they want for medical services. On average, the typical Medicare Advantage user costs 11 percent more to cover, despite those people not seeing any more benefits than your typical Medicare recipient. And this would be a program we'd want to keep, why????? The best part?!? The $716B in cuts was in Paul Ryan's original balanced budget!!! Really! Now it's bad? "His running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan, included the same savings in his House budgets."
Jason Junck August 23, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Here is the pertinent, absurd information from this story. Feel free to do some research on your own so I don't have to keep correcting you. "Mr. Romney has been especially critical of the cuts for insurance companies that provide Medicare Advantage, a popular private-policy alternative to Medicare. “This is the president’s plan: $716 billion cut, four million people losing Medicare Advantage and 15 percent of hospitals and nursing homes not accepting Medicare patients,” he said in a recent campaign appearance. But Medicare Advantage, which was created 15 years ago in the hope that private-market competition for beneficiaries would result in lower prices, has consistently cost more than standard Medicare — costs that Medicare beneficiaries must help subsidize through their premiums. The reductions for Medicare Advantage providers are “a matter of basic fairness because they’ve been overpaid for years,” Ms. Moon said. As for beneficiaries, she added, “they’re guaranteed basic Medicare benefits. They may lose some extra benefits they may have been getting, but in effect you’re saying some of the windfall benefits may go away.” “The bottom line,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, which Ryan leads, “is that Romney is proposing to take more money from seniors in higher premiums and co-pays and hand it over to private insurance companies and other providers in the Medicare system.”
Bren August 23, 2012 at 11:17 PM
The "Jobs Creators" myth, with 20 years statistical evidence that shows that trickle-down economics doesn't work. Reaganomics: Fail. Bush 41: Fail. Bush 43: Fail. Look it up.
Keith Schmitz August 24, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Try harder please.
Keith Schmitz August 24, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Hey towering intellectual cynic. Did the cost of the wars, the cost of Medicare Part D and the tax cuts for the wealthy suddenly evaporate when Barack raised his hand.
Joe Resident August 24, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Romney Beats OBummer in a landslide! Tammy Bald One is defeated decisively by Tommy!


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