Poll: With help from Ryan, Romney closing gap on Obama in Wisconsin

Rep. Paul Ryan's addition to the GOP presidential ticket appears to have tightened the race in the key swing state of Wisconsin. 

A new poll from CNN/ORC International released Thursday found President Obama with a very narrow lead among registered voters in the state, taking 49 percent to Romney’s 45. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3 points.

The poll was taken after Romney picked Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, to join him on the GOP ticket. 

In light of the poll, CNN has moved Wisconsin from "lean Obama" to "toss-up" on the network’s electoral map. It is one of 12 battleground states likely to determine the outcome of the presidential election.

Real Clear Politics has also moved Wisconsin to "toss-up" status.

It would boost Romney's chances of winning the White House if he could widen the playing field this fall. No Republican has won Wisconsin in a presidential race since Ronald Reagan in 1984, though the state elected a Republican governor and senator in 2010.

Most Wisconsin residents said they approved of Romney’s choice to name the Wisconsin congressman as his running mate. Thirty-one percent in the CNN poll called Romney’s pick of Ryan “excellent,” and 23 percent called it “pretty good.”

The Obama campaign on Thursday dismissed the Ryan pick as "falling flat" with voters, pointing to poll data from Gallup that found little bounce in Romney's support from the announcement.

But there have been signs that the Ryan pick has helped Romney. Polling on 12 swing states by Purple Strategies this week found Romney with an edge in the key states of Virginia, Ohio and Florida, though Romney led by a narrow margin. 

In the CNN poll, Ryan earned a 50 percent favorability rating among people polled in his home state, with 32 percent indicating an unfavorable opinion. His supporters skew slightly younger than Romney’s, according to the poll. It shows 40 percent of the 18-to-34 age group have a favorable opinion, as do 57 percent of the 35-to-49 group. Overall, 56 percent consider him “qualified to serve as president if it becomes necessary.”

Most recent polls have shown a tight race in Wisconsin but put Obama in the lead. The notable exception was a poll from conservative-leaning pollster Rasmussen released Thursday that showed Romney 1 point ahead of Obama in the state, but within the poll’s margin of error. 

Updated at 9:25 p.m.

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