Poll: Paul Ryan’s selection has had small impact in home state

The addition of Wisconsin’s U.S. Rep. Paul D. Ryan to the Republican national ticket has not been a game-changer in his home state, though President Obama’s edge over Mitt Romney may have narrowed slightly, a new poll indicates.

The Marquette University Law School survey, conducted Aug. 16-19, found that Obama is favored by 49% of likely Wisconsin voters, while 46% favored Romney. A similar Marquette poll earlier this month pegged Obama’s edge over Romney at 50% to 45%.

Both surveys had a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points, so the apparent movement could be simply statistical fluctuation and the race could be considered a statistical tie.

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The Ryan effect on the race in Wisconsin appears to be “modest” rather than “gigantic,” said poll director Charles Franklin.

“The data here are consistent with Ryan being an asset to the ticket in Wisconsin, but not something that has dramatically changed the balance of the campaign,” he said.  

The Marquette poll, taken monthly, was the most accurate of several surveys in Wisconsin’s hotly contested recall election earlier this year.

Wisconsin, the scene of intense political polarization and turmoil over the past year, has been considered likely to back Obama in November as it did in 2012. Republicans are hoping that the selection of Ryan, a veteran GOP congressman from southeast Wisconsin and the intellectual leader of conservatives in the GOP, might change that dynamic.


Ryan aside, the survey found that Wisconsin voters are still having a hard time warming to Romney, with 45% expressing an unfavorable opinion of the former Massachusetts governor while 35% said they had a favorable opinion of him. Views of Obama were more positive, 52% favorable and 43% unfavorable.

Poll results in Wisconsin’s race for an open U.S. Senate seat were more clearly positive for Republicans, who selected former Gov. Tommy Thompson as their candidate over three rivals in a primary last week.

Just before the primary, a Marquette poll found Thompson edging Democrat Tammy Baldwin 48% to 43%. Now that the matchup is no longer theoretical, the survey pegged Thompson’s edge at 50% to 41% over Baldwin, a member of Congress representing the Madison area.