President Barack Obama has lost his once-decisive lead in Wisconsin and now stands tied with his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, according to a new poll from Marquette University. The poll — taken before the second presidential debate — found the race in a virtual deadbeat, with Obama edging out Romney, 49% to 48% among likely voters. That’s down from the 53% lead Obama held in the poll last month.
The shift to Romney was particularly significant among independent voters and women, two key constituencies. Independents, who supported Obama by a 49-40 margin before the debate, now back Romney over the president, 49% to 45%. Among female voters, Romney has closed Obama’s double-digit lead to just four points, 51% to 47%.
The results reflect a growing enthusiasm for Romney in the wake of the first presidential debate. Among those likely voters who watched the first debate, Romney holds a 50-48 per cent edge; while Obama leads Romney 50-42 per cent among those who did not watch the debate.
The tightening race is further evidence of Wisconsin’s new status as one of the country’s key battlegrounds. Once solidly Democratic, the state has been trending rightward for several years, and was put into play in the presidential race after Romney selected native son Paul Ryan as his running mate. Following this latest poll, veteran political handicapper Larry Sabato officially labelled Wisconsin a “toss-up” in the presidential race.
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