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Wisconsin, a Barack Obama stronghold?

June 12, 2008 |  8:12 pm

Whatever it is Barack Obama has going in Wisconsin, his campaign would be well advised to bottle it and ship it.

The state, with its 10 electoral votes, is a mainstay on lists of this year's battlegrounds because of the results there in the 2000 and 2004 presidential races.

Eights years ago, Al Gore carried it over George W. Bush by 5,708 votes out of almost 2.6 million cast. Four years ago, John Kerry did slightly better, winning it in his matchup with Bush by 11,384 votes out Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama conducts a town hall rally in Wisconsin of almost 3 million cast.

How could it not be achingly close again?

But if a new poll is to be believed, it won't be.

The survey, a joint venture by the University of Wisconsin and conducted Sunday through Tuesday, gave Obama a 13-percentage-point lead over John McCain, 50% to 37%.

Perhaps it isn't to be believed. A poll earlier this month by Rasmussen Reports showed the contest more in line with the past barnburners -- Obama led by only 2 percentage points, 45% to 43%.

The Obama camp could be excused for having faith in the more recent numbers, given that Wisconsin already has come through for him. The state gave him one of his most impressive primary wins: He thumped Hillary Rodham Clinton by 17 percentage points in the Feb. 19 contest.

Exit polls showed that he walloped Clinton among male voters, held his own among female voters and carried the lower-income voters that proved so elusive for him in the primaries that closed out the Democratic race.

The new poll served as a welcome mat for Obama: It was released as he traveled Thursday to Kaukauna, Wis., where he attracted about 1,500 people for a town-hall meeting (pictured above) on a topic he currently is dwelling upon, the struggling economy.

-- Don Frederick

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