CNN moves Wisconsin from "leans Obama" to "toss up"

Rasmussen has it 48/47 for Romney among likely voters, CNN has it 49/45 for Obama among registered voters. Samples of registered voters do tend to skew more blue than actual turnout on election day, so those numbers jibe nicely. The state really is a toss up right now, it seems.

If we end up losing there in November despite Scott Walker’s big win this summer, with an eminently likable native son on the bottom half of the ticket, then I’m thinking Wisconsin may end up in Pennsylvania’s category for GOP consultants as a purplish state that’s really not worth the trouble of contesting.

CNN Thursday turned the important battleground state of Wisconsin from “lean Obama” to true “toss up” on its electoral map, in the wake of Mitt Romney’s naming of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, a seven term congressman from the Badger state, as his running mate…

Wisconsin now becomes the eighth state CNN considers a true toss up, joining Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia. CNN considers Michigan, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania as states that lean towards Obama, with Arizona, Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina as states that lean towards Romney.

There’s no partisan split provided for the sample so I can’t tell if it’s tilted toward Democrats. Two interesting data points, though. One: Not only is Ryan’s +18 the highest net favorable rating for any of the four men on the two tickets (not surprising in his home state), but Romney’s favorable rating is now net +3. I wonder if that’s reflected glow from Ryan’s numbers or if his image is improving among the electorate generally. Two: Feast your eyes on the age split here.

Senior citizens and the under-50 set are firmly behind Romney/Ryan but the in-between group leans heavily towards O. The good news there is that Wisconsinites are probably a bit more familiar with Ryan’s budget than voters nationwide, but evidently the local Mediscaring isn’t working on the elderly. The bad news is that it might be working on near-seniors: Remember, Ryan’s proposed Medicare reforms would apply to citizens under age 55, which overlaps to some extent with the heavily pro-Obama age group here. I’d like to see these same groups quizzed specifically on what they think of the two sides vis-a-vis Medicare. If that’s not what’s driving this curious split, let’s at least find out for sure.

Oh, speaking of Pennsylvania: Via Tom Elia, an intriguing tidbit from today’s Franklin & Marshall poll of the state putting Obama up by six points. In February, before Romney was crowned nominee, O led by 12:

O’s numbers are strikingly similar to Bush’s in 2004, when Dubya lost the state by two and a half points to Kerry. The big difference? Romney’s favorables are gruesome. On the other hand, as Elia pointed out in an e-mail, the partisan split for this poll is +13; four years ago, per the state’s exit polls, the Democrats’ advantage on election day was just +7. Bottom line, Mitt may be closer than six points in reality, but he’s sufficiently unpopular that I bet he won’t make a play for the state unless things start looking very rosy for him nationwide. Exit question via John Tabin: Dude?