PPP's newest Wisconsin poll finds a big debate bump for Mitt Romney in the state. Two weeks ago he trailed Barack Obama by 7 points there, 52-45. Now he's pulled to within two points, with Obama's lead now just 49-47.
There's not much doubt it was Romney's strong debate performance on Wednesday night that's given him this boost. Voters think he won the debate by a 61/25 margin, including a 60/19 margin with independents. 95% of Republicans think Romney won the debate, while only 50% of Democrats claim to think Obama was the winner. Romney's image has seen significant improvement over the last couple weeks with 49% of voters now expressing a positive opinion of him to 48% with a negative one. That's up a net 8 points from a 44/51 spread on our last poll.
The main shift compared to 2 weeks ago in Wisconsin is an increase in Republican enthusiasm about Romney and the election in general. He's gone from leading Obama by 79 points with Republicans (89-10) to an 85 point advantage (92-7). One thing that might be reassuring for Democrats is that Obama's held steady with independents in the state, continuing to hold a 9 point lead.
There's also been a big uptick in Republican enthusiasm about the election. Two weeks ago there was basically no enthusiasm gap with 65% of Democrats and 63% of GOP voters saying they were 'very excited' to vote this fall. Now the Republicans are seeing an advantage on that question with their share of 'very excited' voters climbing to 72% while the Democrats have declined to 63%.
The most discussed issue in the wake of the debate Wednesday night has been about funding for public broadcasting. 51% of voters say they support federal funding for PBS to 33% who are opposed to it. Democrats (80/8) strongly support funding, Republicans (22/55) strongly oppose it, and independents (50/37) come pretty close to matching the overall numbers. We also asked about Big Bird himself and while he's a popular figure overall with a 51/11 favorability rating even his reviews have become somewhat partisan with Democrats (58/11) rating him a lot higher than Republicans (37/12).
Full results here