The last Marquette University poll of Wisconsin was conducted the last week of September, prior to the first presidential debate. It found Obama with a comfortable 11-point lead among likely voters, 53-42. Among the broader universe of registered voters, Obama enjoyed a 14-point lead over Romney, 54-40. He had leads on job approval, favorability, and better handling of most issues. What a difference a debate makes.
In the University’s latest poll of Wisconsin, released this afternoon, Obama’s comfortable lead has been wiped out. His headline support dropped four points and Romney’s support surged upward six points. The race is essentially tied, with Obama getting support from 49% of likely voters to Romney’s 48%.
The University hasn’t released the full poll results yet, so we’ll have to wait to see if Romney has gained an edge on any specific issues. Still, sometimes you don’t need deep archaeological digs into polls to see that the dynamics of the race have fundamentally changed. You don’t often see 10-point swings in statewide polls over just a couple weeks.
The race between Obama and Romney has always been expected to be close. But, in the last fortnight, lots of polls have started shifting towards Romney. Obama’s performance last night, while better than his first debate, wasn’t enough to blunt Romney’s building momentum.
Wisconsin voters are likely to see the presidential candidates a lot between now and November 6th. The Badger State is anyone’s to take.