On Tuesday, Mitt Romney’s barnstorm across America reached Michigan where he promised that if he were to win Michigan; he’d win the Presidency.
Now that isn’t an extreme thing to say when visiting a state. It is also not that surprising that Mitt thinks Michigan is a possibility given how his father was the state’s Governor in the 1960s.
But given how Michigan has been a relatively safe state for Democrats who have won it in every Presidential election since 1992, it does seem odd that Romney is targeting it Let’s not forget that even though he is a “favorite son” of the state (even though he didn’t run for office there), he just edged out Rick Santorum by a 41%-38% margin in the February 28th primary. Let’s not forget Michigan was also the place where the “trees are the right height” and the blunder that was having a rally at an empty Ford Field.
Romney was also in some hot water for his comments suggesting that GM should’ve gone bankrupt instead of being bailed out. That issue alone, given the importance of the car industry to Detroit and the rest of Michigan, could be enough to turn off voters from Mitt Romney.
But recent polls have shown that Romney’s visit to Michigan was actually a good move and not a waste of campaign money.
Let’s take a look at the recent polls that have come out of the state:
- Public Policy Polling: Obama-53%, Romney-39% (May 29th)
- EPIC-MRA of Lansing: Romney-46%, Obama-45% (June 5th)
- Baydoun/Foster: Obama-47%, Romney-46% (June 12th)
- Rasmussen Reports: Obama-50%, Romney-42% (June 14th)
- We Ask America: Romney-45%, Obama-43% (June 18th)
- Mitchell Research: Obama-47%, Romney-46% (June 18th)
- 2008 Election: Obama-57%, John McCain-41%
Now, these results on the surface seem to be more than a little worrisome for Barack Obama. The PPP poll, which showed very low MI favorability numbers for Mitt Romney, was the closest to the 2008 results BUT now seems like an outlier. Funny though how Rasmussen, who I always consider guilty of having a strong (to say the least) Republican bias; is actually the home of Obama’s second biggest lead.
I haven’t really sat down to dissect these polls, but I have two theories on why Mitt Romney is doing better than previously thought in Michigan.
- Attention to Detail. Whenever a candidate visits a state personally, it always drums up interest as opposed to a simple surrogate. When a potential voter sees that they can listen to perhaps the current (or next) President of the United States, it does create a sense of belonging to the voter. It shows that the candidate gives a darn about them. With Romney canvassing the state and President Obama busy attending G20 summits, Mitt will have an early advantage. Being in the White House can hurt an incumbent’s re-election bid as they do have to spend some time off the trail. That could be a rationale to why Romney has maybe closed the race up a tad.
- SuperPAC overload. Here’s the more likely scenario in my opinion. First off, neighboring state Wisconsin was blasted with campaign ads in the wake of the attempt to recall Governor Scott Walker. Romney could have been experiencing a simple bounce from the numerous ads that Michiganders might’ve caught from Wisconsin. Also, as it was mentioned in the link for the EPIC-MRA poll, it appears the SuperPACs have really keyed in on Michigan. It appears that their ad-bombing of the airwaves have worked successfully over in the Great Lakes State.
Now, whatever the reasoning is; it could be helped by the Obama campaign. If Barack Obama visits the state and really starts finding his groove this summer on the campaign trail, I suspect we could see the polls shift in his favor. Michigan is always a more light blue state as opposed to purple so Obama does have a slight advantage on the surface. But very few states know more about economic struggling than Michigan which could aid the challenger.
Nonetheless, I think Michigan might be safe to classify as a swing state right now; at least far more than New Mexico which seems to be more safer territory for Barack Obama.