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Race tightens in battleground Wis.

November 1, 2012

The state of Wisconsin will play a key role in the presidential victory of either President Barack Obama or Governor Mitt Romney.

Political Science Professor Neil Kraus explained that Wisconsin is classified as one of the nine battleground states for this upcoming presidential election.

With 10 electoral votes up for grabs, he said it would be a close call with whichever candidate wins the state.

“Obama has had an advantage all along, but now it’s pretty close,” said Kraus. “Whoever wins, I don’t think it will be by very much. It might be between 2-3 percent.”

The state of Wisconsin has not voted Republican since 1984, but due to the recall victory of Republican candidate, current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, it could come down to just a 2-3 percent win.
Due to the recall election for Gov. Walker, a source from the Republican campaign office in Hudson, Wis., said that they feel the Republicans may now have an advantage over the Democratic Party.

“We were able to lay the ground work for the campaign before the Democrats because of the recall,” said the Republican source. “We’ve been making phone calls and advertising at least six months before them.”

However, according to Ben Plunkett from the Pierce County Democrats, this election will be a test to see what kind of impact the recall has had on the state of Wisconsin.

“Many of the bills that Walker tried to pass have been declared unconstitutional. It was this violation of individual liberties that caused the movement to recall Walker,” said Plunkett. “Many more people have become involved in politics because of the recalls.”

According to the Federal Election Commission website, the state of Wisconsin has received $8,935,895 from contributions for the campaign.

The Obama campaign has received $4,409,612 and the Romney campaign $3,831,521.

With the amount of citizens contributing to both campaigns the numbers show just how close the election will be based on the support each party is receiving.

One of the ways each party is looking to win the 10 electoral votes that Wisconsin has to offer is reaching out to different demographic age groups.

“Every age group is suffering, due to the economy, and the Republican campaign is doing a great job pointing it out to every age group and not just one in particular,” said the Republican source. “I think we’ve succeeded in treating everyone the same in the terms of everyone wanting a job, everyone wants the economy to bounce back.”

The Democratic Party also is working to target age groups not just in Wisconsin, but throughout the nation.

“There are specific efforts to bring in new and younger voters by the Democratic Party. Younger voters do not tolerate the homophobia, racism, and misogyny that have become trademarks of Republican policy,” said Plunkett. “Outreach to youth and voter registration has been increased by the Democrats.”

Kraus expressed that, from his perspective, the advertising and campaigning has increased with this election.

“I think there’s pretty much a saturation of the two campaigns for presidential election,” said the Republican source. “It seems like a lot but it’s probably the right amount to show how important this election is.”

Plunkett agreed that the advertising shows how important the election is: “The amount of advertising is a reflection of the importance and impact of these elections. In fact we can expect a very high turnout among students and younger voters - advertising has helped to make sure everyone knows about the elections.”

The amount of advertising could either push voters away or draw them in.

“Some of them are not going to vote and some have already made up their minds,” said Kraus about those who choose to tune out the advertising.

Kraus predicts Obama will win Wisconsin.

However, he admits that he has been incorrect with his predictions before and the race to win Wisconsin will be very close.

“If Romney wins Wisconsin, my sense is that Obama could be in trouble nationally,” said Kraus. “Whether or not the work both campaigns put into this state will pay off, we’ll know next week.”