PPP’s newest Wisconsin poll finds a big debate bump for Mitt Romney in the state. Two weeks ago he trailed Barack Obama by 7 points there, 52-45. Now he’s pulled to within two points, with Obama’s lead now just 49-47.
There’s not much doubt it was Romney’s strong debate performance on Wednesday night that’s given him this boost. Voters think he won the debate by a 61/25 margin, including a 60/19 margin with independents. 95% of Republicans think Romney won the debate, while only 50% of Democrats claim to think Obama was the winner. Romney’s image has seen significant improvement over the last couple weeks with 49% of voters now expressing a positive opinion of him to 48% with a negative one. That’s up a net 8 points from a 44/51 spread on our last poll.
The main shift compared to 2 weeks ago in Wisconsin is an increase in Republican enthusiasm about Romney and the election in general. He’s gone from leading Obama by 79 points with Republicans (89-10) to an 85 point advantage (92-7). One thing that might be reassuring for Democrats is that Obama’s held steady with independents in the state, continuing to hold a 9 point lead.
I’m thinking this poll may be an outlier. A Marquette University poll taken at the end of last month found Obama with an 11-point lead. And they’re pretty much the gold standard of Wisconsin polling. I’ll wait until this PPP poll is confirmed by other polls before saying Wisconsin has become competitive again.