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Wisconsin Remains a Toss-Up

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Tuesday, 04 Oct 2016 08:37 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Wisconsin, which has gone Democratic for president without interruption since 1988, is genuinely undecided when it comes to its choice for president next month.

According to the latest Marquette University poll, Hillary Clinton barely edges Donald Trump for Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes by a margin of 41 percent to 38 percent. The same poll showed Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson at 11 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein 2 percent.

There is mounting national interest in the Badger State largely because of its modern history in voting for president. The last Republican Wisconsin went for in a race for president was George H.W. Bush in 1988.

The last tight contest for its electoral votes was in 2000, when Democrat Al Gore eked out a win over Republican George W. Bush by just over 5,700 votes.

Among Wisconsinites I spoke to last week, there was near-universal agreement that the uncertainty about the economy’s future fueled Trump’s strength among blue-collar voters.

“Nobody realized that enough people were angry about the economic conditions here,” Ellen Foley, award-winning journalist and former editor-in-chief of the “Wisconsin State Journal,” told me. “But to those who see a lack of jobs and an uncertain economic future, Trump’s message on trade is very, very attractive. There’s a lot of troubled people here in Wisconsin.”

Foley said that, despite national figures indicating the economy is trending upward, the feelings of Wisconsin workers are anything but positive.

“Real wages have not increased more than 3 percent,” she said, “and the high percentage of healthcare costs have kept employers from raising wages. People feel they are cash poor, and they are angry they have to struggle to send their kids to college.”

This anger, Foley believes, translates into a very strong base for Trump in such working-class havens as Waukesha and Janesville.

Van Mobley, president of the village of Thiengsville and a professor at Concordia University, said, “I think the trade issue is key in this state. And quite honestly, if [Republican Sen.] Ron Johnson would come out and say something to indicate he doesn’t like the TPP [trade agreement], he might be in as strong a position as Trump is.”

The same Marquette poll showing a tight race for president in Wisconsin also showed Johnson trailing former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold by 47 percent to 41 percent.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker is playing the part of Tim Kaine in preparing GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence for his lone-televised debated with Clinton’s running mate. Former four-term Gov. Tommy Thompson is a vigorous supporter of Trump and a presence at all of the GOP presidential hopeful’s events in Wisconsin.

“The enthusiasm for Donald Trump in Wisconsin is growing every day and the recent polls reflect that,” said Pete Meachum, state campaign director for Trump.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


 

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Wisconsin, which has gone Democratic for president without interruption since 1988, is genuinely undecided when it comes to its choice for president next month.
wisconsin, trump, hillary
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2016-37-04
Tuesday, 04 Oct 2016 08:37 AM
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