Wis. poll: Presidential, Senate races are dead heats

2012-10-17T16:00:00Z 2012-10-18T06:19:51Z Wis. poll: Presidential, Senate races are dead heatsBy Bill Novak | The Capital Times La Crosse Tribune
October 17, 2012 4:00 pm  • 

The races for president and U.S. senator in Wisconsin got as tight as they can get, according to a new poll of likely voters.

The Marquette Law School Poll, released Wednesday, shows Democratic candidate President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney in a virtual deadlock among Wisconsin voters, with Obama garnering 49 percent of the votes from likely voters and Romney 48 percent.

For the U.S. Senate, former governor and Republican candidate Tommy Thompson was the favorite of 46 percent of those polled while Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin was the favorite of 45 percent of those polled.

The poll was conducted Oct. 11-14, before the second presidential debate was held Tuesday night.

The poll of both landline and cellphone users asked 870 likely voters who they'd vote for, the effect of the first presidential debate and the image of the candidates, with a plus or minus margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

Two weeks ago, before the first presidential debate, the Marquette poll showed Obama with an 11-point lead over Romney, and Baldwin with a four-point lead over Thompson.

Poll director Charles Franklin said in a news release announcing the new results that the first presidential debate, considered a big victory for Romney, had a dramatic impact on the latest findings.

"Rarely has a debate produced such a large movement in the polls," Franklin said. "In September, President Obama held a steady lead, but now the race is a pure toss-up, in large measure because of the first debate."

"The remaining three weeks of the campaign, including reaction to the final debates, will tip the balance to one candidate or the other," Franklin said.

The third and final presidential debate is on Monday.

In the Thompson-Baldwin race, Baldwin's favorability rating dropped to 32 percent from 40 percent in late September, while Thompson's favorability rating was down a point, from 38 percent in September to 37 percent in the latest poll.

On specific issues in the presidential race, Obama fared better on taxes, foreign policy, health care and social issues such as abortion or same-sex marriage, while Romney was ahead on handling the federal budget deficit and the economy.

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