December 20, 2014

Obama lead shrinks in latest poll

A new poll shows the race for president tightening among likely Wisconsin voters. The latest Marquette University Law School Poll gives President Obama a 49 to 46 percent lead over Republican Mitt Romney in the Badger State, compared to the 50-45 lead the Democratic incumbent held in a similar poll done at the beginning of August.

Poll director Charles Franklin notes the latest survey was done just days after Romney named Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. While many voters have a good opinion of the Janesville native, past elections shows who is picked as the vice presidential nominee may only have a limited impact. Franklin says a shift of one or two points would be consistent with other races in history.

The poll found most people supported Ryan’s addition to the presidential ticket, although many of those who said they are more likely to back Romney now identified themselves as Republicans. Franklin says it shows “vice presidents are not the main issue in presidential elections, even when they’re from the home state.” Still, he says there is clearly a little tightening in the presidential race.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:18)

Meanwhile, the poll also shows Republican US Senate nominee Tommy Thompson coming out of a tough primary fight with a lead over his Democratic opponent. Thompson has consistently held a single digit lead in polling against Tammy Baldwin, with the latest poll giving him a nine point edge over the Congresswoman.

Franklin says the boost is not uncommon for a candidate coming out of a difficult primary fight. However, he also notes that Baldwin faced no primary opposition and was able to hold back on most of her campaigning over the summer. Now that the field of candidates for November is set, both candidates will be “front and center” and the race could easily heat up.

AUDIO: Charles Franklin (:13)

The poll of 576 likely voters was conducted August 16th through 19th. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percent.