High stakes for battleground Wisconsin - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

High stakes for battleground Wisconsin

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WAUSAU (WAOW)-- There are still a handful of primaries between now and April 3rd when Wisconsin voters will head to the polls, but political experts told Newsline 9 Wisconsin's reputation as a battleground state will draw candidates here.

Analysts say the badger state could be a key test for Republican presidential candidates.

"Wisconsin is quite clearly a battleground state and so this will be testing the candidates' ability to draw voters in a battleground state," said UW-Stevens Point Political Science Professor Ed Miller. Many experts believe the stakes are high.

UW-Marathon County Political Science Professor Eric Giordano said, "I think that we're likely to see a good fight in Wisconsin and I would expect to see the candidates come here."

He said because Wisconsin is a swing state, a win here could make a big difference. 

"It is a winner take all state so it's not a proportional divvying up of the delegates," said Giordano.

Mitt Romney won Ohio on Super Tuesday, but Giordano said he's struggled relating to the blue collar voter, a big group in Wisconsin. "People just wonder if he's really authentic," he said.

But Wisconsin holds an open primary meaning both Republicans and Democrats can vote--and experts said that could work in Romney's favor. "This is an advantage that Romney has with the crossover vote I believe," said Miller.

He believes both parties voting in the primary could shake things up. "It would not be surprising that quite a number of Democrats will vote in the Republican primary and that will have an affect," he said.

But he argued Rick Santorum's ability to relate to the working-class voter could give him an edge in Wisconsin, and if the race stays close, we could be hearing a lot from both Republican front runners. 

"We're going to see candidates come in, we're going to see more political ads," said Miller.

Making the badger state a key stop on the road to the Republican presidential nomination.

Online Reporter: Bonnie Shelton

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