The latest Marquette University Law School poll had the presidential and Senate races in Wisconsin essentially tied, a tightening in both races from the last survey two weeks ago.
The poll found 49 percent of respondents backed President Obama, compared to 48 percent who supported Mitt Romney. Charles Franklin, the poll’s director, said the two were separated by fractions of a point and the 1 percentage point difference was due to rounding.
Two weeks ago, the poll had Obama up 53-42.
In the Senate race, Tommy Thompson was backed by 46 percent of respondents, while 45 percent supported Tammy Baldwin. Franklin said like with the presidential race, the difference between the Senate contenders was a fraction of a point.
In the last Marquette poll, Baldwin led by 4 percentage points.
In both of the races, Franklin attributed the tightening to a shift with independents.
Independents went from backing Obama 49-40 in the last poll to a 49-45 Romney edge in the new survey.
In the Senate race, they went from a 43-43 split to a 44-41 advantage for Thompson.
For both races, there was also a shift in the gender gap.
Two weeks ago, Obama had a 61-36 advantage with women, but it’s now down to a margin of 4 percentage points.
Two weeks ago, Thompson led 50-41 among men with his lead now 47-43. Baldwin led among women 54-38, but it’s now down to 47-44.
The survey was conducted Oct. 11-14, coming out of the field before last night’s presidential debate. It went into the field the same day as the only vice presidential debate of the campaign.
Franklin said the first presidential debate had an impact on the results. Of those who watched the first presidential debate, Romney led 50-48. Those that did not watch it favored Obama 50-42 with about three-fourths of the likely voters surveyed saying they watched the debate.
The survey of 870 likely voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. Cell phone users made up about 30 percent of the sample.
Franklin said 31 percent of respondents identified themselves as Dems, a drop of 3 percentage points from the last survey. Twenty-eight percent said they were Republicans, unchanged from the previous poll.
-- By JR Ross