Big Cheese

Wisconsin has experienced more than its fair share of political melodrama this year. The rancorous recall election aimed at Republican Governor Scott Walker in June was followed by a spirited Primary — especially in the GOP Senate race where former Gov. Tommy Thompson overcame an assault from outside money. He’ll face Democrat Tammy Baldwin in November. Tammy & Tommy…does anyone else have a hankering for a Beach Blanket movie?

Some pundits believe that Walker’s survival in the June recall puts the Dairy State in play for Mitt Romney this fall. Others think that Walker’s win simply doesn’t provide a strong political metaphor that may be applied to the presidential election. There’s still time for both sides to make their points, but for now we’re seeing a widening gap in Wisconsin: [Weighting was applied to correct for over-/undersampling.]

Poll type: Automated Date: Sept. 20-23, 2012 - Participants: 1,238 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.8%
PRESIDENTBarack ObamaMitt RomneyGary JohnsonUndecided
ALL VOTERS 52.5% 41.0% 1.2% 5.3%
GOP ONLY9.0%87.4%0.8%2.8%
DEM ONLY90.1%6.5%0.5%2.9%
IND ONLY50.4%37.6%2.1%9.9%
SENATE Tommy Thompson Tammy Baldwin Undecided
ALL VOTERS 40.4% 51.8% 7.8%
GOP ONLY84.7%9.5%5.8%
DEM ONLY8.0%86.7%5.3%
IND ONLY35.9%53.1%11.0%

We included Libertarian Gary Johnson to measure general support for third-party candidates. Note that we asked each participant if they consider themselves to be a Republican, Democrat or Independent voter. In this case, the split was 31% GOP / 32% Democrat / 37% Independents.

Obviously, things can change a lot in October. But for now, Barack Obama is the Big Cheese in Wisconsin.


We Ask America continues a second dip into our “Big Ten” states by revisiting Florida and Pennsylvania. Of the two, Florida clearly is viewed as the more pivotal region, and that’s where’s we’ll begin.


It may be a blinding glimpse of the obvious, but Medicare looms large in Florida. One of Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan’s first stops after being nominated was to visit seniors (including his mother) in central Florida. There, any change in senior services–especially health care–are measured as seismic events. But, like the rest of the nation, the debate currently isn’t about health care or even the economy in Florida. Instead, a big chunk of the Sunshine State’s population is counting themselves among the “47%” who receive help from our government–the very segment Mitt Romney inartfully mentioned in his candid camera appearance at a fundraiser. The aftergaffe (new word alert!) did as much damage as the gaffe itself–at least among the cable gabfest crowd. But how will the VOTERS react?

Tuesday night, we asked 1,230 likely Florida voters how they planned to vote. We included Libertarian Gary Johnson to see if a third-party candidate may have an effect. Since we hadn’t polled the race for U.S. Senate yet (Florida had a mid-August Primary), we asked our participants to also choose between Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson and Republican challenger Connie Mack. As always, the responses are weighted to correct for over-/under-sampling in a number of criteria:

Poll type:: Automated Date: Sept. 18, 2012 - Participants: 1,230 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.82%
PRESIDENTBarack ObamaMitt Romney Gary JohnsonUndecided
ALL VOTERS49.1%45.5%1.3%4.1%
GOP ONLY14.7%80.9%0.8%3.6%
DEM ONLY82.0%13.5%0.5%4.0%
IND ONLY43.7%45.6%3.3%7.4%
SENATEBill NelsonConnie MackUndecided
ALL VOTERS46.7%41.5%11.8%
GOP ONLY14.7%69.7%15.6%
DEM ONLY81.3%11.6%7.1%
IND ONLY41.7%40.4%17.9%


Republicans in the Keystone State hoped that their successes in 2010 would carry over into 2012. But Democrat incumbent Senator Bob Casey hasn’t yet been pushed hard by wealthy Republican challenger Tom Smith (RCP’s polling average gives Casey a 15% lead), and the wished-for “weakened” Barack Obama is thus far a pipe dream. We’ll poll the Casey-Smith race soon, but for now we’re more interested in whether Romney’s numbers will follow the pattern of ebbing we’re seeing in other key states. Let’s see:

Poll type:: Automated Date: Sept. 18, 2012 - Participants: 1,214 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.85%
 Barack ObamaMitt Romney Gary JohnsonUndecided
ALL VOTERS48.1%42.2%0.8%8.9%
GOP ONLY13.7%78.9%0.4%7.0%
DEM ONLY81.4%11.1%0.6%6.9%
IND ONLY39.4%44.5%3.0%13.1%

While Romney is doing relatively well with Independents, the burgeoning Democratic growth in Philly’s burbs and demise of the old Republican Machine is a steep hill for him to climb. As in Florida, President Obama’s ascent (or Romney’s decline) is incremental.  Sure, there’s been a notch brought on by a one-two punch of a strong Democratic convention bump and Romney’s stumbles, but the underlying numbers simple don’t support the theory that Romney is in a free fall.


Big 10-Round 2-VA

After a planned convention-time hiatus from our public polls, We Ask America is back with Round 2 in our Big 10 series of presidential polls–starting with Virginia.

Mitt Romney was doing well in Virginia in late June when we last polled here. But a lackluster convention, his stutter-step campaign and recently reported in-fighting among top staff have caused many pundits to wonder out loud about his prospects. Barack Obama has avoided similar problems…so far.

As in all of the series of states we’re polling, this survey was conducted by automated means. After qualifying each individual in regards to ability (registered voter) and intention to vote this fall, we asked the following straightforward question:

“If the election for president were held today, for whom would you vote?”

The options were randomize and included Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson to measure third-party support. We then followed up with such demographic questions such as gender, age, and political party I.D. Weighting was applied when any of those demographics fell out of the norm. In addition, we applied our proprietary weighting system that compares 65 other bits of criteria to what we believe should be expected. Here are our results with a Party ID breakdown:

Poll type:: Automated Date: Sept. 17, 2012 - Participants: 1,285 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.75%
 Barack ObamaMitt Romney Gary JohnsonUndecided
ALL VOTERS48.5%45.7%1.1%4.7%
GOP ONLY9.9%87.2%0.2%2.7%
DEM ONLY88.3%6.9%0.7%4.1%
IND ONLY41.1%47.6%2.3%9.0%

The nearly eight-point swing in results since June aren’t entirely surprising and shouldn’t be viewed by either side as a true trend–yet. Although cable news networks’ breathless reports have a tendency to magnify the slightest mood swings of the electorate, President Obama clearly received a nice bounce out of the convention while Romney has stumbled a bit. The hotly contest Senate race in Virginia featuring Democrat Tim Kaine vs. Republican George Allen will continue to suck some of the air out of the political atmosphere: the Real Clear Politics average show Allen up slightly, but our privately conducted polls for one client have him doing better than the average. At any rate, outside money is flowing into Virginia for Kaine and Allen at a rate fast enough to set an advertising rep’s heart a-flutter. Those ceaseless ads for the Senate race will eventually dull viewer’ senses to political messaging, making it tougher for those lagging behind to break through the clutter.

Clearly, Romney must quickly find his bearings in order to get back into the game in this must-win state.