Northeast WI could swing election

GREEN BAY — Wisconsin is not a must-win for either President Barack Obama or Republican Mitt Romney, but the Badger State could sure help make an overall victory a little bit easier.

Both Obama and Romney and high-profile representatives for their campaigns have made Wisconsin a frequent stop in the days leading up to election day.

Click here to watch both candidates' campaign speeches to Wisconsin audiences

"It's good to be back in Green Bay," said President Obama at a rally at Austin Straubel Airport on Thursday, while Romney told a crowd in West Allis Friday that Wisconsin is going to help him become president.

The end though is finally near.

Wisconsin hasn't chosen a Republican presidential nominee in 28 years when it picked Ronald Reagan. But political experts tell us this year's close race is a good sign for turning Wisconsin Republican red.

"The fact that we're a competitive state for the presidential, and a state that hasn't been won by a Republican since 1984, I think that's a good sign for Republicans," said Mark Graul, political strategist and president of Arena Strategy Group.

But winning Wisconsin isn't a guarantee for either Obama or Romney that they will win the election.

Wisconsin remains just a piece of the political puzzle.

"States like Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, Virginia and Florida are sort of the major states, and depending on how those states fall is going to make the largest determination for who wins this election," said Scott Furlong, who teaches political science at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

A candidate needs 270 electoral votes nationwide to win. Each state is assigned a number of electoral votes based on population. Most states are pretty much decided based on trends and polls.

But of those toss-up states remaining either side could claim victory.

The four states with the most votes at stake are Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Wisconsin. If Romney gets them all, he will have enough for him to win.

Obama's road to victory is a little easier. He can win by capturing as few as three states; one winning combination is Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin.

"Mitt Romney has a very tough map," explained Graul. "He almost has to get everything right in order to win. Obama is playing defense everywhere and he has more margin of error."

And while the most recent polls give Obama the clear edge in Wisconsin, the campaigns and the political experts are still predicting a close race, which makes the key to victory getting the voters to the polls.

"Who is the most effective in getting their what I like to call lazy voters to the polls," added Graul. "Those who don't vote regularly, probably only vote presidential, probably only vote if you bug them enough, drag them to the polls, whatever it takes."

The campaigns with their push to get the vote out know the importance of every single vote.

"The commitment I want to get from you is that you'll find someone who voted for Barack Obama last time and make sure they vote for me this time," Romney told supporters on the campaign trail in Wisconsin.

"We're going to pull an all-nighter. No sleep," said President Obama about his plan to continue to get out the vote.

Wisconsin's other statewide race, the one for U.S. Senate between Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson, is also in need of every last voter.

"These races are going to be decided by one or two percentage points at best probably.

And those living in Northeast Wisconsin could just be the deciding factor.

While the presidential elections in 2004 and 2008 show Democrats fared best in the large metropolitan areas of Milwaukee County and Dane County, and Republicans did their best in the rural counties, Northeast Wisconsin isn't a stronghold for either party.

"It often comes down to these sort of melded areas like Northeast Wisconsin and sort of the Appleton-Green Bay corridor," explained Furlong. "There's a large group of voters there and it's a flip-flopping area of voters. Sometimes Democrat, sometimes Republican."

That's why both parties with the candidates, political friends and even celebrities have continued to the end to make the push in Northeast Wisconsin looking for your vote.

Copyright 2014 WLUK TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Wisconsin (change)

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wisconsin’s population totaled 5,686,986, a 6.0% increase over the 2000 U.S. Census count of 5,363,715. (Source: Wisconsin Blue Book)
Offices & Officials

Governor: Scott Walker
Lieutenant Governor: Rebecca Kleefisch
Attorney General: J.B. Van Hollen

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