Political Experts Say Wis. at the Center of Presidential Election

By: Madeline Anderson Email
By: Madeline Anderson Email

The election is exactly two weeks away and both presidential candidates are crisscrossing the country, hoping to appeal to those remaining undecided voters and encourage supporters to get out the vote.

The campaigns and their supporters are expected to spend about $100 million on TV ads from now until Nov. 6, mainly in the key battleground states.

Wis. is, of course, one of them, and more so than ever before.

"Wis. is kind of a the center," said Dennis Riley with the UW-Stevens Point political science department. Riley says he's never seen so much attention on Wis. while he's been a professor.

Wis. hasn't gone red in a presidential election since Ronald Reagan won back in 1984. But with Janesville-native Paul Ryan on the GOP ticket, the race is tighter than ever in the Badger state.

"If the president holds the lead that the polls give him in Ohio, and he wins Wis., it's virtually impossible for Romney to get to the presidency because of the electoral college," Riley said. "So Wis. is going to be pivotal. If Gov. Romney wins Ohio, then if he wins Wis. and Iowa, he's likely to be the next president of the United States."

Riley says the get-out-the-vote momentum will likely trickle down to other races as well, primarily the U.S. Senate race in Wis. between Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson. There's a good chance whichever party wins the presidential race, will also take the Senate seat.

Moving forward, Riley says the candidates will focus jobs and the economy. He says Romney will highlight poor jobs numbers over the last four years while Obama will show things are steadily getting better.

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