Santorum tops new poll in Michigan
February 16th, 2012
12:12 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum tops new poll in Michigan

(CNN) - Mitt Romney may lay claim to home field advantage in Michigan, but according to a new poll released 12 days before the state's Republican primary, Rick Santorum is on top of the field in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

According to a survey out Thursday by the Detroit News and CNN affiliate WDIV, 34% of likely Republican primary voters say they're backing Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, with 30% supporting Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who's making his second bid for the White House. Santorum's four point margin is within the poll's sampling error.

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The survey indicates that 12% back former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, with 9% supporting Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and 12% undecided. The poll was conducted entirely after Santorum's victories over Romney, Gingrich and Paul last week in caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota and a non-binding primary in Missouri. Santorum's sweep of the February 7 contests sparked his surge in national and state polling, and cemented the perception that Romney was having a hard time locking down support of core conservatives.

Michigan and Arizona are next up in the primary and caucus calendar, with both states holding primaries on February 28. The 30 delegates up for grabs in Michigan will be divided proportionally, while the 29 delegates at stake in Arizona are winner take all.

Romney grew up in Michigan and his father served as governor in the 1960's. Romney won the 2008 Republican primary in Michigan, edging out eventual GOP nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona by nine points. But four years later, the Santorum campaign feels they can be competitive in Michigan, as well as Ohio, which votes on Super Tuesday on March 6. Both states are considered part of the Rust Belt, with larger working class populations and strong Catholic communities, which may favor Santorum over Romney.

According to an American Research Group survey released Monday, 33% of likely Michigan GOP primary voters said they were backing Santorum, with 27% supporting Romney, with Gingrich at 21%, Paul at 12% and 6% undecided. Santorum's advantage in the ARG survey was also technically within the poll's sampling error.

The Detroit News poll's release comes as both Romney and Santorum separately campaign in Michigan Thursday. Romney also campaigned in the state Wednesday, defending his opposition in 2008 to the federal government's bailout of Michigan based G.M. and Chrysler.

The auto bailout, put in motion by former President George W. Bush and continued by President Barack Obama, is now widely viewed as a success. Michigan Democrats have seized on the issue as a potential vulnerability for Romney in a state hard hit by the economic downturn. Romney says that a managed bankruptcy would have been a better route to take in helping out the troubled auto makers.

The survey indicates the issue may not matter much to GOP primary voters, with half of the people questioned in the poll say a candidate's opposition to the government loans to the auto industry would not make a different to their vote in the presidential primary. Nearly 20% said it would make them more likely to vote for such a candidate, with 11% saying it would make them less likely to vote for such a candidate.

The Detroit News and CNN affiliate WDIV poll was conducted February 11-13, with 500 likely Michigan GOP primary voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

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Filed under: 2012 • Michigan • Rick Santorum
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. elizabeth

    Santorum as the candidate will assure a landslide for Obama.....and no, America will not go down hill...we will recover nicely and hopefully move on from the right winged craziness that is Santorum's hallmark. BTW, I am a life long Christian, attend church every week, pay my taxes, have worked since I was 14, have a stable family and have had one marriage. The right winged folks talk about taking back America from likes of me and many of my family. I don't think we need to take America back from anyone....we have messed up some....but lets get back on track and believe that President Obama is the leader we need.

    February 16, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    32.Ochro

    I read somewhere some months ago that Jesus so loved Barack Obama that he sent his servant, Rick Santorum, to be the Republican nominee. Looks true now.
    ------------------------
    Actually he sent them the entire GOPeeing Teatard clown car of candidates to ensure his re-election in 2012.
    Jesus loves us. Yes he does.
    Obama 2012.

    February 16, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. Jim Bob

    The GOP is toast, this election. They're shooting themselves in the foot with all of the current rhetoric aimed to get the vote of the neo-cons. This will come back to bite them, HARD, when they try in vain to get the moderates to vote for them.

    February 16, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens exemplifies the true meaning of being a republican: tax evasion, anti worker, corporate raiding, eliminator of women's reproductive rights, chicken hawk, who claims to be a severely conservative moderate liberal with the back bone of a limp wristed liar. That should get him the GOP nod.

    February 16, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. mb2010a

    Obama wins either way so what difference who they run against him. Both Romney and Santorum are the sorriest candidates (next to Gingrich) that the Republicans could come up with... Obama will be happy to run against either one, because he can beat either one.

    February 16, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    I guess the truth about the GOP strikes some as hate, to others its a cathartic release. With regards to listening to the candidates, there are only so many variations you can hear from truth, four, or knowitall as to why they hate anyone who does not agree with their ideologically-driven view of the world. Santorum is honest and direct in his responses, but the love affair ends with that. There is only so much undilluted disdain people can take before they push back.

    February 16, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. asdf

    of all of the dullards who could have thrown a wrench into the republican primary, I suspected Santorum the least.

    February 16, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. Dixie Independent voter

    I'll repeat. The GOP did not put forth any candidate that was either worthy or qualified to be president. The GOP needs to dump the Tea Party. If there are any real Republicans left, please stand up so we can see you.

    February 16, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Jake

    sighing a huge sigh of relief knowing Michigan will go for Obama in the general!

    February 16, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. kitteh

    MI = socially repressed by religious zealots. sounds like the perfect place for either romney or santorum. (so depressed to live in this state)

    February 16, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Alcoholiday

    Where are these alleged Santorum supporters???

    I would real like to here some one that likes this guy explain themselves

    February 16, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. Independent In Albany

    Good news......for the Democrats

    Santorum can't win the middle, lose the center, lose the election

    February 16, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Alcoholiday

    hear*

    February 16, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. Jules

    So Santorum says he no longer has his tax returns from when he was in congress. My suggestion is that he ask the IRS for copies and make them public. What did he make in addition to his congressional salary? Don't think is going to go away, Rick.

    February 16, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. kitteh

    @ elizabeth...thumbs up to you!

    February 16, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Dave

    Saturyday Night Live is going to have a field day with Mr. Personality.

    February 16, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. PM Ohio

    Rick Santorum thinks women are chattrl and subservient to men. He has repeated these things over and over. He even wrote a book and besides the rhetoric about abortion and contraceptives, he also doesn't think women shoud work outside the home, becasue it is bad for the children. The facts aside, how could any woman pull the lever and vote for this guy? He doesn't believe single mothers should persue education and bettering themselves, either. From Santorum's book, "It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good," Mr. Santorum, called the "radical" feminist "pitch" that "men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace." and "The notion that college education is a cost-effective way to help poor, low-skill, unmarried mothers with high school diplomas or GEDs move up the economic ladder is just wrong." It turns out that the most powerful single influence on a child's educational success is not the mother's marital status but her own level of education and her educational aspirations for her children, according to education researcher W. Norton Grubb. He now says that his wife wrote some of those passages, but his wife (of course) gets no credit for it and wasn't mentioned as a contributor when he wrote the book in 2005.

    i personally think it is great that the GOP is such a mess that they are turning to this guy who has absolutely no chance of winning a general election of any kind. Now, I am reading posts from the blind followers of the GOP that it is some sort of sinister plan by CNN and the Liberal press to make sure Santorum wins the nomination, thereby ruining any hope of the GOP winning in November. The fact is that the GOP is a total mess and it doesn't matter who runs against Obama in November.

    February 16, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. PM Ohio

    The reason Santorum is making a run is that, like we all know, most of the extreme right will follow whomever they are told to follow, just like the sheep they are.

    February 16, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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