Poll: Wisconsin Shake-up, Romney in Striking Distance

Poll: Wisconsin Shake-up, Romney in Striking Distance

A PPP poll released October 6 reports Romney advancing in Wisconsin, as Obama’s 7% lead is reduced to a mere 2%. The poll was conducted on October 4-6 among 979 likely voters with a margin of error of 3%.

The previous poll, conducted on September 20 among 842 likely voters, had Obama leading with 52% and Romney at 45%. Two weeks later and after the first presidential debate, Obama has dropped to 49% while Romney increased his vote share to 47%. The October poll also shows Romney a clear winner in the Presidential debate with 61% saying so and only one-quarter of voters saying Obama was the victor.  Although these are small gains, they can indicate critical electoral momentum in the final stretch of the race.

Romney’s gains came from an increase among voters identifying themselves as Republicans, where we see a 3% bounce.

Generally speaking, the most important driver in a head to head general election vote is the voters’ impression of the candidates. Since Obama and Romney are in a battle for the non-partisan vote, it’s encouraging to see Romney increase his favorablility (+3%) among independent voters.  Perhaps the most promising increase in the poll, is the increase among women with favorable impressions of Romney. Forty-eight percent of women have a favorable impression of Romney now, which is a whopping 8% increase from September where 40% of women viewed him favorably.

PPP does not ask the image question for Obama so it is difficult to compare the two candidates on this metric. However, there is a small drop among voters who approve of Obama’s job performance, which was at 52% on September 20 but has dipped to 49% in the October 6 poll.  

Wisconsin does not require voters to identify themselves with a political party when they register to vote, so we do not have a benchmark with which to compare PPP poll’s party sampling.  For the most part, the party sampling is in the ballpark as their last poll. The September 20 poll had the party breakdown at D34%/R31%/I35% and the October 6 poll has D34%,R33%,I33%.

Sadly, the big loser in Wisconsin is Big Bird, with barely half of likely voters holding a favorable impression of the government subsidized Sesame Street resident.

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