Swing States

New Poll: Obama Leads Romney In Wisconsin, But Gary Johnson Could Impact the Race


While a majority of Wisconsin voters plan to vote for Republican Governor Scott Walker in the June 5th recall election, Wisconsinites plan to vote for President Barack Obama by a margin of 10 percent over Mitt Romney. (46 percent to 36 percent)

Among likely voters, Obama's margin over Romney shrinks to 44-41 percent. Consequently, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson's 5 percent of the vote could potentially impact the results of thisswing-state. Depending on whether Johnson takes more votes from Romney or Obama could swing which presidential candidate receives the state's electoral votes.


Gary Johnson voters in Wisconsin are difficult to categorize, as they agree with Mitt Romney supporters to end automatic union dues deductions, and think public employee unions have too much power and get better benefits than private sector workers. However, they are more like Obama supporters in that they are less comfortable limiting public unions' collective bargaining, and are slightly more likely to vote for Tom Barrett (38 to 33 percent). They self-identify as Independent, but tend to lean Republican.

Full poll results can be found here and cross tabs here.

ORC International conducted fieldwork for the poll, May 14th-18th 2012 of both mobile and landline phones, 708 Wisconsin adults, margin of error +/- 3.7%.  Likely Wisconsin voters (609, MOE +/-4%) include registered respondents who said they are absolutely certain to vote or very likely to vote in the June 5th recall election for governor.

Emily Ekins is the director of polling for Reason Foundation where she leads the Reason-Rupe public opinion research project, launched in 2011. Follow her on Twitter @emilyekins.

NEXT: Flashing Headlights to Warn About Speed Traps Is Protected Speech, Sez Judge

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Gary’s Johnson could what?

      1. ur sooo mature

        1. I know. That’s why I’m gunnin’ for your mom.

  2. I plan to vote for Johnson. So there’s one. Though the news is pretty grim for Obama here, as Romney appears to be surging way past him in the polls in Florida.

    1. I thought it was only Santorum that surged.

      1. His surge has abated.

      2. More of a trickle, really.

        1. Seepage.

    2. That is very bad news for Obama. If Romney wins just the states McCain won, he is already 14 votes further towards a majority because of the 2010 census. IF Romney flips Indiana and North Carolina, which seems virtually certain, he is at 213. If Florida flips, that puts Romney at 242.

      That would leave Virginia (13), Ohio(18), New Hampshire (4), Colorado (9), Wisconsin (10) Nevada (6), New Mexico (5), Iowa (6) and Pennsylvania (20) as battleground states. That means Romney has to win 32 out of 91 remaining electoral votes.

      Those are pretty good odds. Any two of Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio and Obama is done. Losing Florida leaves Obama with no margin for error.

      1. Wow!

        I’ve long been down on Romney’s chances, but it seems to me that if he could get the rustbelt unions to vote for him as Bush II and Reagan did, Obama is toast.

        1. Pennsyltucky’s not going to happen. That’s a mix of Progressive cities and rural union workers with Alabama’s social sensibilities.

          1. That’s a mix of Progressive cities and rural union workers with Alabama’s social sensibilities.

            Dude, you just described Massachusetts outside of the 495 loop.

          2. I think Obama’s war on coal is going to really hurt him in Pennsylvania. Romney is down 6 right now among likely voters. That is getting pretty close. Of course the machines in Philly and Pittsburgh are going to produce a lot of dead voters. Even still, I think Pennsylvania is definitely close.

            1. New photo ID law may stop that but only if GOP gets some poll watchers with backbone into the Pgh and Philly wards where 95% vote Democratic.

              1. Nobody sane goes into the Wastelands.

  3. Most of the people who responded ‘Gary Johnson’ probably don’t even know who he is — aside from not being Obama or Romney. A more realistic/useful poll would also include Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode and likely Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

    1. I don’t think so – did you notice the breakdown of the Johnson voters? Almost all of them were independents. Sure, it’s possible some of the D’s or R’s who just wanted to not vote for Romney or Obama picked him because he was “Somnebody Else”, but I don’t think that made up a majority of his “voters” in the poll.

    2. I don’t have time or patience for the Christian Nationalist Constitution Party’s faux-liberty views.

    3. I don’t know about Wisconsin specifically, but I don’t believe the Constitution Party or the Green Party will be on nearly as many ballots as the Libertarian Party will. Isn’t the Green Party going to be on like 25, while Johnson may be on all 50?

      1. I doubt the LP will get on all 50. Oklahoma is pretty much impossible to get on. And there seems to be some intra-party squabbling that might keep Johnson off in Oregon. The LP wasn’t on in my home state of CT last time around (at least not on my ballot), not sure if that’s changed.

        The CP is going for 45 states this time around, so it seems they’ve more or less caught up with the LP.

        Regardless, I just think all of the candidates on the ballot should be included in polling. Not that it matters anyway, since history shows presidential polling can’t be trusted until September.

        1. They’ll probably be a lot closer than the other third parties at least it looks like it right now. The Green Party is on 19 right now, while the Constitution is on 17. Obviously, alot remians to be seen, but from what I have heard the Libertarian Party should be close to 50.

  4. No way am I voting for Obama or Romney. So most likely I’ll be voting for Gary Johnson. I don’t quite understand why the Repubics went with Romney.

    1. He was inevitable!

    2. The media shaded things his way because they figured their client–I mean, candidate–would find him easy to beat. They grossly underestimated the crappiness of their client–I mean, candidate.

      1. It strikes me as a wretched misappropriation of the word candidate to refer to either Obama or Romney as such. Considering the root for candidate is candid, and that neither of these empty suits has spoken with anything approaching candor on the vital subject of the federal govt’s long term fiscal clusterfuck, calling either a candidate strikes me as disingenuous.

        1. From the Latin, candid?tus, “clothed in white.” Yes, you’re right, N/A.

    3. It was his turn! Duh!

  5. C’mon Emily. When designing two closely related graphs, you should reuse the same color for the same topic.

  6. A troubled Denver police officer has been reinstated after a three-member panel of the city’s Civil Service Commission overturned his termination for driving 143 miles per hour while drunk.

    Derrick Saunders was arrested on June 17, 2010 for cruising 88 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. He had a .089 blood alcohol level at the time of his arrest.

    This wasn’t the officer’s first run-in with the law. Since he was hired by the police force in 2007, other felonious allegations against Saunders include brandishing a gun to scare McDonald’s employees into working faster.


    1. Wow, the injustice of not reinstating him sooner! That time delay is an OUTRAGE!

      1. I know it. All that paid administrated leave? Poor guy.

        1. Imagine the people he left behind! They expected a world record speed beer run and instead they had to bail their friend out… And to think they would suspend him for that! The outrage… And to bring up him just promoting productivity at a community business AGAINST HIM!

      2. They would have reinstated him sooner, but he didn’t get out and beat any innocent civilians.

    2. “[T]he disciplinary action of termination far exceeds the discipline given to other officers in comparative or greater misconduct cases,” the commissioners said.


      1. You mean other officers have also sped at twice the speed of traffic while intoxicated?

        That must be one fun place to work…

  7. Makes sense that Obama would lead in Wisconsin since it has Milwaukee, the only major American city to have ever elected three Socialist mayors.

  8. OT – still the two best bumper stickers, EVER:

    1) “I Brake for Hallucinations” and
    2) “My Other Car is a Porsche” affixed to a Porsche 911.

    Awesome. Please, carry on…

    1. I saw one the other day that said:

      “Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy”

      Though my personal favorite:

      “Discourage Inbreeding
      Ban Country Music”

        1. Not a subject I find much humor in.

  9. Can anyone give me an idea roughly how much money a professional fortune teller pulls in a year? I’m guessing it’s a lot by the way they dress and I’m considering getting into the field.

    1. I would imagine there is a pretty broad range.

  10. 5% of Wisconsin voters could pick Gary Johnson from a lineup also consisting of a blue tick coonhound, Gary Busey and a bottle of Jaegermeister?


    1. Libertarian candidates have to get popular some time.

      1. One of them has…

        1. I sense Paulbotism ahead…

          1. Not at all. I’m just saying that he’s the only libertarian candidate in this or any Presidential election in the last 40 years, whose name and face that 5% of people surveyed would recognize.

    2. I’m backing Busey, all the way!

      1. This election, I’m reaching for the Jaeger.

      2. He is really your only option…
        First debate Jager had with Busey, it would be downed…No bottle of liquor is going to win a debate with Busey. And the dog…forget it. When he campaigns in front of the PBA his ass is getting shot for “threatening” the police…

    3. I have a bluetick — my second one. she’s got my vote.

      1. I love coon hounds. Do you have one in the city? How does a hound do without lots of space to roam and do hound things?

        1. i live next to a park. we take long walks and i’ll only let her off leash in those fenced dog parks, otherwise she’ll pick up a sent and be gone.

          she’s got the house to herself during the day. as long as she gets enough walks and runs and I let her sniff around in the woods, and tree squirrels, we’re good. if not, she’ll get bored and destructive.

  11. Vote for Romney please. I love Gary Johnson personally, but Obama needs to be removed from office.

    1. A vote for Romney is a vote for President Obama. See how that works? The winner won’t matter, both their policies are statist at their core. The lesser of two evils is still evil. Since they offer virtually the same approach to government, it is better to vote your conscience. Your individual vote won’t sway the election result, so you are only truly wasting it if you aren’t sending a message you really believe in.

      1. Yes, and Gary Johnson still won’t win.

  12. Why does the pie chart and story say that Gary Johnson polled at 5% but the actual poll results list it as 6%? Also, the cross-tabs link leads to an unreadable file.

    1. To which state should I move so my one vote will swing the electoral college from Obama to Romney?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.