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LIVE UPDATES: Fox News Projects President Obama Wins Wisconsin

UPDATE, 9:30p ET: Fox News projects that President Barack Obama will win the battleground state of Wisconsin.


Get continuing updates on the standings of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the state of Wisconsin, with latest polls, political facts, figures, stories and commentary.

Current Standing Among Likely Voters:
Barack Obama - 49.7%
Mitt Romney - 46.0%

Poll Times:
Open: 8:00a ET
Close: 9:00p ET

2008 Election Results:

Obama - 1,677,211 votes - 56.22%
McCain - 1,262,393 votes - 42.31%
Other - 43,813 votes - 1.47%

BACKGROUND:

In the past six presidential elections, Wisconsin was in the Democratic column; the last Republican to win the state(which has 10 electoral votes) was Reagan in 1984. But it's hardly a Democratic lock. In 2000, Gore won the state by 0.2 percent of the vote, and Kerry in 2004 won by 0.4 percent. Obama then won by a whopping 13.9 percent in

2008.

The Wisconsin race is still tight, with Obama leading Romney in recent polls. Nearly every attempt to parse the electoral college math makes Wisconsin a must-win state for Obama and an opportunity for Romney to make the president's path to re-election narrower.

In no battleground state has Obama lost more ground in four years than Wisconsin. Obama carried this state by 13.9 percentage points in 2008. As of Oct. 25, his average lead over Romney in the most recent polling was just under three points. While other blue-leaning Great Lakes battlegrounds have become more safely Democratic this time (Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania), Wisconsin has remained in play, giving the GOP at least a shot at winning a state they haven't carried since the 1980s.

If you believe 2012 will look a lot like 2004 when it comes to the electoral map then there is reason for Republican optimism. In 2004, Bush lost Wisconsin by just 0.4 percentage points to Kerry.

Wisconsinites vote in droves. They believe in being good citizens. In 2008, more than 72 percent cast a presidential ballot, a turnout second only to Minnesota's.

Gov. Walker
Republicans see potential here after Gov. Walker survived his recall.

Wisconsin's political complexion shifted dramatically in 2010 when the GOP took control of the governorship, both chambers of the state legislature, a Senate seat and two more House seats.

The state has been trending GOP. Wisconsin Republicans are on a hot streak. Tea party-supported Republican Ron Johnson upended Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in one of the surprise races of 2010. Walker entered office after the 2010 election, in which Republicans claimed the majority in the state legislature.

Facing a budget shortfall, he and his allies took aim at public employee unions (other than police and firefighters), advocating an end to their collective-bargaining rights. The battle was joined, reaching into every community as schoolteachers rallied to their defense. Next came the recall election, with money surging into Wisconsin from ideological brethren nationwide. Democrats fielded the same candidate, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, whom Walker beat in 2010.

Any hope that the electorate would recoil at Republican Gov. Walker's success in hobbling public employee unions was wiped out in June's special election, when Walker became the first governor to survive a recall vote with a 53 percent-46 percent victory.

The Ryan Element
Obama won the state in the 2008 election, but a repeat of that victory is threatened by Romney's choice of runningmate - Wisconsin native Representative Paul Ryan.

Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2010 that his state was a key buffer in relation to the perennial battle over Ohio. A GOP loss of Ohio's 18 electoral votes could be largely offset by picking up Wisconsin's 10 votes and Iowa's six votes.

Winning Wisconsin
The political geography is quirky: Wisconsin doesn't have a typical urban-rural divide in voting patterns. In many states, Republicans win all the counties that have a lot of cows, to put it simply. Democrats have owned the cities.

In both the 200 and 2004 races, some historic patterns were reversed. Bush carried eastern Wisconsin and metro Milwaukee both times, while Gore and Kerry carried western and northern Wisconsin. Indeed, western and northern Wisconsin and adjacent eastern Iowa were the only rural parts of the country where Gore and Kerry carried large numbers of counties.

Obama in 2008 did rack up huge majorities in Milwaukee, the largest city, and Madison, the capital and home of the state's flagship university. But he also won many of the rural counties, that picturesque territory with dairy farms and Holsteins and shops selling cheese curds that squeak when you chew them.

Obama's win was so decisive last time that he prevailed in 59 Wisconsin counties to McCain's 13. Four years before, in 2004, Bush amassed 45 county wins in his razor-thin loss in the state to Kerry.

This November, Obama likely will convincingly win the counties encompassing the Democratic strongholds of Madison and Milwaukee. Romney almost certainly can bank on a surplus of votes in solidly conservative counties bordering Milwaukee. What happens in the midsize areas will prove more consequential in determining if Wisconsin resembles the 2000 and 2004 elections -- when less than a half-percentage point made the difference -- or the 2008 campaign that produced the Obama blowout.

Green Bay and Fox Valley areas could be key. Obama did well there in 2008, but Bush won there in 2000 and 2004.

Obama also made especially large gains over previous Democrats in the rural southwestern counties.

Obama easily won Brown County, where Green Bay is located, in 2008 capturing 54 percent of the vote compared with 45 percent for McCain. But the county voted for Republican George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004. More recently, the county went for Walker both in 2010 and the June recall.

Wausau and the area north of it, and the southwest corner of the state, also will be important.

Eau Claire County has traditionally been less favorable to Republicans. The county went strongly for Obama in 2008 with 60 percent of the vote. Statewide in 2008 Obama won 56 percent of the vote. In the previous two elections, the win by Democratic presidential candidates in Eau Claire County was narrower at 50 percent to 44 percent in 2000 and 54 percent to 44 percent in 2004.

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