WISCONSIN — A new Rasmussen poll suggests, at least in the short term, that the GOP has regained momentum in Wisconsin following the gubernatorial recall election last week.
Wisconsin’s electoral votes have gone to the Democratic candidate in every presidential election since the Ronald Reagan landslide in 1984 when Reagan carried 49 out of 50 states. However, there are indications that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney could have a shot at winning Wisconsin, with an assist from Wisconsin’s recall election.
Recent polls show public opinion is swinging in the Badger State as Wisconsin has once again become a battleground for the presidency.
“It’s up in the air, definitely in play. Six months ago, I think the White House had it firmly in their column. I think it’s up in the air,” Gov. Scott Walker said.
A right-leaning Rasmussen poll, released a week after Wisconsin’s recall election showed a flip in public opinion, with Obama down three points.
“Oh what a difference a recall makes! Here we are a week after a recall, and they’re neck-and-neck. (The recall) loosened up public opinion. It sort of unlocked how people were feeling — indeed it has to be that. Otherwise, how would one explain such a substantial change in public opinion?” UW-Milwaukee Professor of Governmental Affairs Mordecai Lee said.
President Obama was in Ohio Thursday, June 14th — another “swing state,” where he delivered a speech on the economy.
Obama has visited Wisconsin several times, but avoided campaigning in the state during the recall campaign, instead sending a tweet of support for Tom Barrett.
Romney has planned a trip to the state next week. He is set to campaign with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan on Monday, June 18th in Janesville.
Lee says Romney’s visit is a sign the presidential race in Wisconsin could be a close one.
“That means Wisconsin is winnable by either Romney or Obama, and we’re going to be seeing a lot of them. As long as we’re 50-50, we’re going to be seeing a lot of them,” Lee said.
Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. Senate candidates may also benefit from the “Walker Effect.”
Republican Tommy Thompson, who has been a vocal supporter of Gov. Walker now has a commanding lead over Democrat Tammy Baldwin, according to the Rasmussen poll. The poll numbers show that it appears the recall election altered what was presumed to be a very tight race.
“There’s this thing you can’t touch called momentum, and sometimes out of the blue, momentum influences public opinion,” Lee said.