President Barack Obama will hold a campaign rally in Milwaukee on Saturday after two polls released Wednesday showed he has the lead among Wisconsin voters.
A Quinnipiac University poll put Obama at a 51 percent to 45 percent lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney among Wisconsin voters. A poll released Aug. 23, shortly after Romney’s pick of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as vice presidential candidate, showed Obama with a 49-47 percent lead.
Yet another poll executed by the Marquette University Law School showed a larger lead for Obama in the state with 54 percent to Romney’s 40 percent. This poll also showed increased support for Obama from August, who led Romney 49 to 46 percent in an earlier Marquette poll.
Marquette Poll Director Charles Franklin warned more Democrats than Republicans were polled than in previous studies, though the amount of independent voters polled remained the same. He added that if this was adjusted, Obama would still be leading, although only 51 to 43 percent.
According to University of Wisconsin political science professor Dietram Scheufele, the campaigns must be cautious in assumptions that these polls are definitive.
“It’s premature to place too much of a weight on whatever polls are out right now, because they are influenced by what people are thinking about right now,” Scheufele said.
Despite these polls, Scheufele said it is still a “very tight” election. He added Obama does have the upper hand right now, and many Romney supporters think Obama will win the election.
Scheufele said if he asked people what they thought about Romney right now, what would come to their minds would be the “premature reaction” he had to the Libyan embassy tragedy, as well as the video released this week at a private fundraiser during which Romney criticized the 47 percent of the country that he alleged does not pay income taxes.
“[Those issues] won’t be that salient in November,” Scheufele said. “What is dangerous for Romney is if he produces the reputation that he produces one blunder after the other.”
Obama’s campaign was pleased with the poll results and said part of the reason this happened is their ground campaign.
“We have always said that Wisconsin will be more competitive than it was in 2008 at the presidential level, and that assessment has not changed,” campaign spokesperson Gillian Morris said in an email to The Badger Herald. “Neighbor to neighbor, door to door, we have been discussing the clear choice in this election for months and will continue to do so in the final weeks of this campaign.”
Gillian said Obama’s vision resonates with middle class voters, as he believes they are the core part of his “economy built to last.” She contrasted this with Romney and Ryan’s plans for the economy.
“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would take us right back to the very same top down economic approach which crashed the economy in the first place,” she said.
The Romney campaign and the Republican Party of Wisconsin did not return calls for comment on the polls.
An email sent to supporters by the Obama campaign said the president will speak at Milwaukee’s Summerfest grounds on Saturday. The doors will open at 2:30 p.m., and free tickets may be picked up on a first come, first serve basis at Wisconsin campaign offices.