How Voters Feel About Economy Plays Key Role in Presidential Choice

New polling from Marquette University shows that Wisconsinites still suffering the effects of the recession favor Romney over Obama.

If the presidential election were held today, President Barack Obama would win in Wisconsin over Republican Mitt Romney by about 8 percentage points — 51 to 43 percent.

But a closer look into the numbers revealed Wednesday in a new poll from Marquette University Law School shows a distinct divide among voters and whom they support when that question is linked to how they see the economy.

It boils down to this:

Survey respondents who said the recession really hasn't taken a toll on their personal finances back Obama, while Romney has an edge over those still hurting from the economic turn-down.

Obama beats Romney by 51 percent to 44 percent among respondents who say  they were affected by the recession but have now recovered. And among those who say the recession hasn't really hurt them back Obama by 54 percent to 40 percent.

For those who were affected and have not recovered, Romney is their candidate by a small margin, 48 percent to 45 percent.

The poll results were released as part of the school's monthly "On the Issues" program with broadcaster Mike Gousha and Professor Charles Franklin. A sample of 810 likely voters were reached via land line and cell phone to answer questions between July 5 and 8. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.


"There is a very personal aspect for those who have suffered because of the recession and have not gotten any gains," noted Franklin, director of the poll. "They are fertile ground for the Romney campaign."

Views on the country's economic recovery also make a difference in how Wisconsin voters might lean come November. Those who think the economy is better than a year ago support Obama over Romney 77 percent to 15 percent. Those who think things will be better a year from now back the president by a 66 percent to 28 percent margin.

Likely voters more in the middle who see the economy as the same now and in the next year also support the president by double-digit margins.

But for those who think the economy is worse or expect it to get worse in the next year, Romney is their choice — 72 percent to 24 percent, and 71 percent to 22 percent respectively.

"Is it unusual to see President Obama leading in the state when so many think the economy is worse?" Gousha asked.

Yes and no, Franklin answered.

"It depends on how you do the math," he said. "Looking at it one way is that 64 percent of voters say the economy is better or the same. Or you can look at it as 75 percent say the economy is the same or worse."

Voter income levels are also tied to which candidate survey participants support.

Romney wins over Obama — 49 percent to 46 percent — with voters who make over $75,000 a year. Those in the bottom and middle third income levels support Obama over Romney, 61 to 33 and 52 to 45 percent, respectively.

"Income is related to Republican votes and that shows up in our polls as well," Franklin said.

CowDung July 13, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Sounds like a case of the pot and kettle again...
morninmist July 13, 2012 at 09:16 PM
@Tosa I read about American exceptionalism years ago and started to read its critiques about 10-15 years ago about the same time neoconservatives tweeted the concept into their own unique meaning--that being American was superior to other nations. Neocons transformed the meaning into America a better than other nations. The rest is history.
Tosa720 July 13, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Comment on American Exceptional-ism - US is 45th in the world in education - More: Out of 34 countries assessed, U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science, 25th in math. More:163 countries guarantee paid leave for a woman after childbirth - the US does not (it is up to individual employers),45 guarantee pd leave for fathers when a child is born in the family. The US does not. 76 countries protect breast feeding at work, the US does not. 96 countries guarantee an annual leave or vacations - the US does not (it is up to individual employers). 139 countries guarantee short and long term sick leaves - again - US = no- it is up to employers. The US is 39th in early childhood educational enrollment and 91st in student staff ratios for our children and our school year is shorter than 54 other countries. We are clearly NOT the best educated or the most well-taken care of. American Exceptional-ism: We have that in our Military Budget.
Tosa720 July 13, 2012 at 10:36 PM
$$andSense July 14, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Unfortunately Mike, this goes way back to the Patriot Act under the second Bush, the war on drugs and expansion of police powers under Reagan and Bush the first, and the global bankers that hoodwinked Woodrow Wilson with the Fed Reserve. Yes, not just Wisconsin, but a nation of morons that think voting "conservative" or "liberal, if they even vote at all, think the system is going to change based on a vote. Love him or hate him, Ron Paul is one of the few last vestiges of what could change this country. I don't support violence but it would seem that bullets and neighbor versus neighbor is the option that is drawing close fast. Where is Doofa and Dumshtsky weighing in on this? GenXers without a clue, that's where. Silence says it all.


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