President Obama continues to lead Mitt Romney by a small but significant margin in Wisconsin, according to a new poll released on Wednesday.
The Marquette Law School poll shows Obama leading Romney among likely voters 51 percent to 43 percent, with 5 percent undecided or preferring another candidate. That is virtually identical to last month's Marquette poll, when Obama led Romney, 49 percent to 43 percent.
Overall, 49 percent of Badger State voters approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, while 44 percent disapprove. Fifty-one percent have a favorable opinion of Obama, compared with 42 percent who view him unfavorably.
Romney's favorables are upside-down: 36 percent view him favorably, versus 42 percent who have an unfavorable opinion.
Romney is seeking to become the first Republican to carry Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984. The state has been trending Republican as of late: 2010 brought the statewide elections of Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ron Johnson, and Walker last month beat back Democrats' attempt to recall him from office. Walker's ratings now resemble Obama's in the state: Half of voters approve of Walker's job performance, equal to the percentage who have a favorable opinion of the governor.
On health care, Wisconsin voters are split: 49 percent say they approve of last month's Supreme Court decision on the new health care law, while 47 percent disapprove. But 36 percent say they would have liked the Court to have overturned the entire law, compared with 21 percent who would have wanted the Court to have thrown out the controversial individual mandate but "keep much of the law intact," and 33 percent who wanted the Court to keep the entire law.
In the state's Senate race, the poll shows Tommy Thompson, the former Republican governor and former Health and Human Services secretary, leading Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin by a scant 4-point margin among likely voters. Thompson is also facing a competitive GOP primary field.
The poll was conducted July 5-8, surveying 1,000 Wisconsin voters. The overall margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. For the Obama-Romney and Thompson-Baldwin horse-race questions, there were 810 likely voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.