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Listen to Me: Spotlight Wisconsin

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney campaigns in West Allis, Wis., on Nov. 2. Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Both presidential campaigns covered ground in Wisconsin Friday. Republican nominee Mitt Romney held a morning rally in West Allis, while Vice President Joe Biden made campaign stops in Beloit and Superior.

Over the past year, Wisconsin has been a hotbed of political activity. First, the state’s republican Governor, Scott Walker, won an historic recall election in June. Then in August, Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan for his running mate thrust the Badger State into the presidential spotlight. Now, Democratic Representative Tammy Baldwin and former Governor Tommy Thompson, a Republican, are locked in a close race for U.S. Senate.

Independent voters in the state could make all the difference this time around. “We have a tradition of being very, very closely matched between Democrats and Republicans, so those Independents can make all the difference,” said St. Norbert College Political scientist Wendy Scattergood in a piece that aired on Wednesday.

So what are on voter’s minds in the state? Many voters interviewed for the Listen to Me project said jobs and the economy are important this election cycle.

“It all boils down to the economy, and where it’s going, and how nothing seems to have fixed it at all, recently,” said Heather Lynch of Madison. “I’ve just heard lots of promises but nothing has improved it in my eyes.”

Voter Arthur Palleon agrees that the economy and jobs are big this year. “The only way you’re gonna build up jobs is to give incentives. Because in the end the economy’s not going to improve until you have consumers. Consumers aren’t going to be able to do anything till they have jobs. It’s that simple. No jobs, no consumers, no good economy,” he said.

Nationally, Wisconsin isn’t doing too badly on the jobs front. The unemployment rate is at 6.2 percent, according to data from September, which is almost two points power than the national average.

Still, the voters interviewed for the project, aren’t very hopeful about a full economic recovery. Kathy Philbrick said she thinks the solution needs to be bipartisan.

“I would say the economy, the debt situation and it both kind of being a problem that no-one wants to take the lead and fix. There doesn’t seem to be any way to unite parties to solve the situation,” Philbrick said. “So to me, that is the biggest problem and it doesn’t seem like anyone who wants to fix the problem long-term.”

See all the Listen to Me videos here.

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