2012 Could Be the GOP's Year in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has generally been a fairly reliable blue state. No Republican presidential candidate has carried Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984. But the GOP is hoping that 2012 will be the year that reverses the trend, and a recent wave of Republican success in the Badger State has given them hope.

The year 2010 was a huge year for Republicans in Wisconsin. They won the governorship, a Senate seat and picked up two House seats from Democrats in the midterms. Their success held in June when Gov. Scott Walker became the first governor in history to survive a recall election. Republicans hope that Walker's victory is another sign that the state is in play.

Although exit polls from the recall showed Obama with a lead, 51 percent to Romney's 45 percent, subsequent polling in recent weeks and months has shown a much closer race.

WHAT TO KNOW
  • A Closer Look at the Toss-Up State of Wisconsin

The presence of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan on the ticket is also believed to have boosted the Republicans' chance of carrying the state. Ryan has represented Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District for 14 years.

Check out the 'Electoral States of America' Battleground states map with latest polls and info HERE

While Wisconsin has stayed pretty blue in presidential races since 1984, Democrats haven't always run away with the state. George W. Bush was defeated by a very close margin in 2000 and 2004. And before Reagan's win in 1984, results were mixed. Jimmy Carter won the state in 1976, but Nixon prevailed in both 1972 and 1968.

But again, the GOP believes it has reasons to hope this year.

Here's a look at some key statistics in the Wisconsin battleground.

Current Unemployment Rate:

7.3 percent in September 2012

Trend Since Obama Took Office:

In January 2009, the unemployment rate was 7.2 percent. However, over the course of the next year it spiked, hitting a peak of 9.2 percent in January 2010. Since then, the rate has steadily dropped.

Median Household Income:

2011: $50.395

2008: $54,424

Party ID Breakdown:

Wisconsin does not register voters by party affiliation.

Statewide Population, Per 2011 Census:

5,711,767

Racial Demographics:

White: 88.4 percent

Black: 6.5 percent

Asian: 2.4 percent

Hispanic: 6.1 percent

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