Is Obama's 'firewall' crumbling? Romney draws level with President in 'safe state' of Wisconsin
Obama won there by 14 points in 2008
Romney to campaign in Wisconsin on Tuesday
Obama believes Ohio, Nevada and Wisconsin are his firewall
By Toby Harnden In Washington
PUBLISHED: 11:00 EST, 26 October 2012 | UPDATED: 14:20 EST, 26 October 2012
Mitt Romney is now tied with Barack Obama in Wisconsin, one of the 'firewall' states the president hoped would protect him against defeats in Florida and Virginia, according to a new poll.
Rasmussen found that Romney and Obama were tied on 49 per cent in the state, which Obama won in a 14-point landslide in 2008.
Buoyed by internal polling which shows similar numbers, Romney is to head to Wisconsin next week, as first reported by MailOnline last Tuesday. Romney will be campaigning in West Allis on Monday evening.
Romney advisers believe that Governor Scott Walker's recall victory this year gives them an organisational edge in the state. In addition, Representative Paul Ryan, Romney's vice-presidential running mate, is from Wisconsin and the Obama campaign has not spent there on the negative advertising that has been so effective in Ohio.
Scott Rasmussen, who conducted the poll of likely voters, said that Wisconsin could become the decisive state in 2012 if Romney takes Florida and Virginia - as current polling suggests - but Obama manages to hold out in Ohio, where he has a wafer-thin poll lead.
'If Ohio goes for the president, Romney has a few perilous paths to victory available to him. All require him to carry Wisconsin and its 10 Electoral College votes,' he wrote on his website.
'The simplest path without Ohio would be for Romney to win Wisconsin, Colorado and one other swing state. It's plausible, but an uphill struggle.'
Obama has long believed that Ohio, Nevada and Wisconsin is his firewall. Even if Florida, Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire topple, victory in those three states would secure him re-election. Now, however, that firewall is under threat.
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A Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey released on Thursday gave Obama a six-point lead, up from two points three weeks ago, but the Romney campaign points out that PPP is a Democratic firm and the swing of four points towards Obama when almost all other trends are towards Romney is implausible.
Candidate time is the most precious resource for a campaign in the closing day and Romney's foray into Wisconsin - his first since August - is an indication his team believes he has a real chance there.
The Romney campaign also believes Obama is very vulnerable in Iowa - a favourite state for the president because his caucuses victory there in 2008 was the first step on his road to the White House - and Colorado but in a slightly better position in Nevada.
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