It seems like ages ago, but it was only six months ago that Wisconsin looked very bleak for Democrats in general, and Barack Obama in particular. The state had just gone heavily Republican, costing the Democrats a statehouse, a Senate seat, a pair of House seats, and legislative seats by the boatload. The state's ten electoral votes, which had gone handily to Barack Obama in 2008 (a fourteen-point edge), seemed destined to be a toss up.
Funny what six months of a Scott Walker-led Wisconsin has done for the Democrats in the Badger State. Walker's numbers are sinking like a turd in a well, and Democrats are starting to look awfully good in comparison. This resurrection, it seems, includes the man at the top of the ticket.
Public Policy Polling (PDF) (5/21-5/24. Registered Wisconsin Voters. February results in parentheses)
Barack Obama (D) 50 (49)
Paul Ryan (R) 43 (40)
Barack Obama (D) 51 (48)
Mitt Romney (R) 39 (38)
Barack Obama (D) 53 (51)
Newt Gingrich (R) 35 (39)
Barack Obama (D) 55 (54)
Sarah Palin (R) 36 (35)
Local boy-turned-Dick Cheney fantasy Paul Ryan cannot convert home-state status to anything more than a high single-digit deficit, roughly where he was in February.
His relative closeness in this survey, it is worth noting, is fueled almost entirely by rapturous support within his own party. While Republicans are "meh" about the rest of the GOP contenders, they LOVES them some Paul Ryan (77/12 favorability spread).
But overall, his favorability numbers have taken a beating since his "serious" assault on Medicare as we know it. What was once a net favorable statewide rating (38/30) is now underwater (41/46). As bad as that is, it actually is better than the other Republicans in question, which explains why he comes a bit closer to the President than the rest of the GOP field:
Net Favorability: GOP Presidential Candidates
Paul Ryan (R) -5 (41/46)
Mitt Romney (R) -20 (29/49)
Sarah Palin (R) -31 (32/63)
Newt Gingrich (R) -52 (15/67)
Meanwhile, as has been the case elsewhere, President Obama has seen a bit of a rebound in his numbers as the year has progressed. What was a mildly positive assessment (49/45) in February now stands at 52/44, which would probably be enough to contend with even if the Republican field wasn't so marginal.
The best news for Democrats in this PPP poll (which also showed Walker as a legitimate recall target, and hinted that Democratic recall attempts might have some support) is that the sample here is far from unduly optimistic. The sample voted for Obama by a net advantage of nine points (51-42), considerably less than the 14-point edge he actually enjoyed in 2008.
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