Two new polls finds tighter presidential race after Ryan selection

Thompson leads Baldwin in U.S. Senate race, poll finds

Two new polls found the presidential race is tightening in Wisconsin following the selection of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as the Republican presumptive vice presidential candidate.

The Marquette Law School poll, conducted Aug. 16-19, found that 49 percent of likely voters say they will vote for Democratic President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, while 46 percent say they will vote for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, and Ryan.

In the previous Marquette Law School poll, conducted Aug. 2-5 before Ryan’s selection, Obama led 50 to 45 percent.

“The two-point shift in Romney’s direction is within the margin of error for the poll but suggests Ryan’s addition to the ticket may have slightly increased Romney’s chances in Wisconsin,” said professor Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School poll, in a news release.

Another new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times and released Thursday showed Obama leading 49 to 47 percent in Wisconsin

The Marquette poll also found that Ryan’s selection as vice presidential candidate has raised public awareness of him.

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In the July 5-8 Marquette Law poll, Ryan was rated favorably by 36 percent, unfavorably by 29 percent, and 35 percent were unable to rate him. Since his selection, both his favorable and unfavorable ratings have increased by five percentage points, to 41 percent favorable and 34 percent unfavorable, with 24 percent unable to rate him.

Fifty-eight percent said Romney’s choice of Ryan reflects favorably on his ability to make important presidential decisions, while 31 percent said it reflected unfavorably.

Overall, Franklin said a slight bump after Romney’s vice presidential pick has made the race more competitive.

“If we looked at the polling through the first half of the summer, I think you would say that we were a lean Democratic race, over 5 points pro-Obama. But in the last couple of polls, as that’s narrowed to 5 and then 3, I think we’re in the toss-up category,” Franklin said.

Franklin said the vice presidential candidate bump in home states is typically between 1-3 percent historically, but he said many more voters’ opinions of the candidates will take shape during these two weeks of conventions to come.

In the U.S. Senate race between former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson and Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Thompson holds a 50 percent to 41 percent advantage following his victory in the GOP primary Aug. 14. In the early August poll, Thompson led 48 percent to 43 percent.

The poll of both landline and cellphone users was conducted August 16-19. The November match-ups, based on a sample of 576 likely voters, have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. Other results are based on 706 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

The poll also found that Gov. Scott Walker’s job approval rate remains virtually unchanged since early August, with 50 percent approval and 46 percent disapproval. Approval was 51 percent in the first week of August, with 44 percent disapproving. 

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