Despite the gloomy economic news, the Left has been very confident about Obama's reelection chances. To many on the outer edges of the blog and twitter-spheres, the campaign was merely a formality. Obama, they argued, had a "blue wall" of solid support, allowing him to take the campaign to battlegrounds like Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, etc. Romney, we were told, had such a narrow path to victory that any small misstep and Obama was all but assured victory. As the great philosopher Cab Calloway said, "It ain't necessarily so."
Virtually every political pundit has listed Wisconsin as one of Obama's "blue wall" states. He defeated McCain there by double-digits in 2008. Bush lost it, albeit narrowly, in both 2004 and 2000. In fact, the state has not voted Republican in a presidential race since Reagan, in 1984. It is among the more reliable states for Democrats running for President. And yet, a new poll released today by Rasmussen Reports shows Romney is now leading Obama in the Badger State, 47-44.
As recently as March, Obama had a double-digit lead in Wisconsin, trouncing Romney 52-41. Obama's current level of support, 44%, is the lowest its been in the state. Not surprising, considering that only 47% approve of his job performance while 52% disapprove. The collapse of Obama's support in Wisconsin is, to quote Joe Biden, "a big f$%king deal."
Personally, I think the public sector unions are at least partially to blame. Their temper tantrum over Scott Walker's budget reforms embroiled the state in almost two-years of political chaos. Multiple recall elections, a Supreme Court special election and, ultimately, the failed recall of Walker succeeded in doing something the GOP in the state had previously failed to do; energize conservative and GOP voters and, educate them on the failings of the left's policies.
Wisconsin voters have received a real-world primer that, by simply curbing slightly the platinum compensation packages of public sector unions, the state and cities can balance their budgets without resorting to drastic cuts in services or tax hikes. Voters have seen a state which had been saddled with "systemic deficits" for years swing into the black in just a year. Its the kind of thing a voter is going to notice.
Indeed, today's poll showed that a majority of Wisconsin voters, 51%, have an unfavorable view of public sector unions. I would wager that the overwhelming majority of voters in other states don't even have an opinion on public sector unions. Wisconsin voters, though, have seen them and the consequences of their demands all too close.
Just about the sum total of Obama's economic plan is to pump more money into state governments to support public sector unions. There are few states where that is a less-winning plan than Wisconsin.