Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Not the new Ohio, but the new Wisconsin

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Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics asks if Wisconsin is the new Ohio.

A new poll from Rasmussen Reports underscored just how close the contest has become here: President Obama and Mitt Romney were tied at 49 percent each in the poll of likely voters, conducted Thursday. Overall, Obama leads by just 2.3 percent in the RealClearPolitics Average in Wisconsin, down from 6.6 percent two weeks ago.

Obama’s campaign has moved quickly over the last week to try to shore up support in a state the president won overwhelmingly four years ago. In addition to the vice president’s visits Friday, the campaign announced that the president himself will make a campaign stop next week in Green Bay.

In another sign of Democrats’ concern over the tightening race in Wisconsin, earlier this week Priorities USA, the super PAC supporting the Obama campaign, bought advertising time in five media markets for the final week of the campaign.

The Romney camp has also mobilized more resources to the state, apparently sensing a shift in momentum. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio stumped for Romney on Thursday in the heavily Republican area of Waukesha, just west of Milwaukee. RNC Chairman and Wisconsin native Reince Priebus barnstormed the state earlier in the week, and Romney is set to hold a “victory rally” in the Milwaukee area on Monday night.

Along with Ohio and Iowa, Wisconsin represents what is being termed Obama’s “Midwest Firewall.” Ohio remains the focal point, thanks to the electoral math; whichever candidate wins the Buckeye State and its 18 electoral votes has a much easier route to reach the magic number of 270.

But with Wisconsin (and Iowa) very much in play, the Romney campaign senses an opportunity to break through Obama’s firewall, and with the state’s 10 electoral votes in its column the Romney brain trust can suddenly see a potential path to the White House despite losing Ohio – something that would be unprecedented for a Republican presidential candidate.

Wisconsin may be in play, according to the article, in part because of the Republican infrastructure built during the recall campaign. Isn’t that ironic?

The other reason Wisconsin is in play is because of the selection of Congressman Paul Ryan to be Mitt Romney’s running mate. That decision just keeps looking better and better.

Scott Rasmussen explains why Wisconsin has become so important:

To move into the White House, Romney absolutely needs to win Virginia’s 13 electoral votes. If he can accomplish that goal, he just needs to win Ohio and one other swing state to reach the magic number of 270 for victory.

Romney has never led in Ohio according to scores of public polls. The numbers in the Buckeye State so far suggest that the race is either tied or leaning slightly in Obama’s favor.

If Ohio goes for the president, Romney has a few perilous paths to victory available to him. All require him to carry Wisconsin and its 10 Electoral College votes.

The simplest path without Ohio would be for Romney to win Wisconsin, Colorado and one other swing state. It’s plausible, but an uphill struggle. The latest Rasmussen Reports polling in Wisconsin shows the president up by 2 points.

Despite the polls, some conservative activists in Wisconsin think it’s possible to pull off an upset. They point out that, unlike Ohio, the state was not flooded with anti-Romney ads over the summer (in Wisconsin, they were still fighting about the governor’s election recall at the time). That means more voters may be open to supporting the GOP candidate.

Additionally, in Ohio, almost all analysts believe the Democrats have a better ground game to get voters to the polls. That’s not the case in Wisconsin. The Republican ground game got a good and very successful dry run during the recall election in June. And, of course, the man on the ticket with Romney is from Wisconsin. If Paul Ryan is able to pull in just a few extra votes, it could make a lot of difference.

On election night, the first places to watch will be Virginia and Florida. If Romney wins there, watch Ohio. If the president wins Ohio, Wisconsin is likely to be the decisive battleground state of Election 2012.

The latest that I am hearing is that everything is close, real close. However, Tommy Thompson seems to be doing okay according to one internal poll I was told about (I won’t say whose poll) but Romney is still down a couple of points. Another political insider told me that the presidential race is essentially tied.

If forced to offer my own guess right now, I would guess that Thompson wins, Romney/Obama is not decided on election night, and some journalist goes head first out a second story window at the Waukesha County Courthouse like Father Karras in the Exorcist when County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus brings out the rolls of election result tape.

Exorcist

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