KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Melissa Block

Wisconsin is a prime battleground state in this year's presidential election.

Republicans hope the pick of native son Paul Ryan as their vice presidential nominee will bolster their chances to turn the state red in November. Wisconsin hasn't voted for a Republican for president since 1984. Barack Obama won the state by a blowout 14 points in 2008. And a run of Wisconsin polls this week shows him widening his lead over Mitt Romney.

So what do Wisconsin voters have to say about their choices — and their mood?

Economic Strain

Republicans hoping to gain control of the U.S. Senate in November's elections are banking on Wisconsin where they want to flip the seat held by Democrat Herb Kohl, who's retiring.

The Republican vying for that seat is Tommy Thompson, a four-time governor of the state. He left to serve as secretary of health and human services under President George W. Bush.

Thompson's rival is seven-term Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Madison, who is among the most liberal members of Congress. If she wins, Baldwin would be the first openly gay U.S. senator.