However, the race is tightening and polling officials warned candidates not to take Wisconsin for granted.
This is the first Marquette University Law School poll in Wisconsin since Mitt Romney tapped U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate, and the poll shows that the GOP candidate didn't get enough of a bump to swing Wisconsin from blue to red after the announcement.
“The two-point shift in Romney’s direction is within the margin of error for the poll, but suggest Ryan’s addition to the ticket may have slightly increased Romney’s chances in Wisconsin,” said Professor Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll.
Wednesday's poll shows 49 percent of the likely voters surveyed backing Obama, while 46 percent favor Romney. However, a poll done prior to Ryan’s selection between Aug. 2 through Aug. 5, showed Obama led 50 to 45 percent.
“Romney has suffered from more unfavorable reviews throughout the year,” Franklin said. “That was wider throughout the primaries and has narrowed after he clinched the nomination. But he hasn’t turned that around yet.
“One of the challenges to his ticket is, can they use the convention to turn that around and re-introduce him to the public and can he explain to the public why they should view him more favorably than they have?” Franklin said.
The "Ryan Effect" bumped Romney’s numbers slightly higher, Franklin said.
When pollsters asked likely Republican voters if having Ryan as the VP had an influence on their decision to vote for Romney, 29 percent said more likely while 16 percent said less likely. However, 53 percent said having Ryan as vice president on the presidential ticket wouldn’t have much of an effect on their decision.
Nicole Tieman, Wisconsin communications director for the Republican National Committee, said the poll numbers were very encouraging.
“We’ve been putting a lot of work into Wisconsin and this demonstrates how the Romney campaign believes Wisconsin is a top tier swing state. We’ve put every effort into their campaign to offer real solutions, not excuses,” Tieman said. “Even before the Ryan announcement we were seeing Romney closing the gap and now we’re getting dangerously close to Obama.”
"Todays poll results represent voters trust in Tommy to solve today’s pressing economic crises and their understanding of the failed economic policies that Tammy Baldwin has spent the last four years advocating," Brian Nemoir, a spokesman for Tommy Thompson's campaign.
Thompson is up by nine points against Baldwin. In the previous poll, Thompson led by five points.
“Baldwin isn’t widely known across the state,” Franklin said. “The appeal outside Baldwin’s home area is an area where development still has to take place.”
Baldwin's communications director John Kraus acknowledged that Baldwin is very aware that she needs more recognition in the state and she has been campaigning in Milwaukee, Appleton, Wausau, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Green Bay, Sheboygan, Oshkosh, Manitowoc, De Pere, and La Crosse.
“Tommy Thompson will put those at the very top and the powerful special interests he has worked for in Washington ahead of Wisconsin," Baldwin said. "That is why he has shown a sense of entitlement to keep secrets and hide his tax returns from the people of Wisconsin. Thompson would actually cut taxes for millionaires like himself and increase taxes on the middle class, increase out-of-pocket health care costs for seniors, increase the cost of higher education for students, and end Medicare as we know it for future generations."
The results of the poll were released Wednesday during a segment of the on-going "On the Issues" series with Mike Gousha and Franklin. Polling of 706 registered voters took place between Aug. 16 through Aug. 19, and the poll results include responses from 576 likely voters in the pool with a 4.2 percent margin of error.
Only 4 percent of those surveyed said they are undecided.
The Public Policy Forum also came out with a poll today on the U.S. Senate race between Thompson and Baldwin. Their poll has Thompson leading Baldwin 49 to 44 percent. In their prior poll in July, the two were at a dead heat at 45 to 45. They also noted that state Republicans are now backing him more than ever with an 89 point lead 93-4. In their previous poll, Thompson had a 77 point lead at 84-7.