Santorum tops new poll in Michigan
February 16th, 2012
12:12 PM ET
2 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.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN


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

    Decide 2012 wrote:

    Romney's support for a traditional bankruptcy filing for GM and Chrysler angered the unions because they would NOT have had the cars companies gifted to them as Obama did. The taxpayers are STILL out about $25 BILLION on GM and their problems are still not solved.
    -------–
    There was no "traditional bankruptcy" option available for GM and Chrysler. Romney is being dishonest when he claims that GM could have had a "structured bankruptcy" without the government help. GM's bankruptcy would have totally unstructured because banks had just gone throught the meltdown and would not lend them tens of billions to keep their "structure" afloat. The auto manufacturer's bankruptcy would have resembled a store having a "going out of business" sale as the entire corporation's assets were liquidated to the highest bidder.

    February 16, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. Thinking7

    Santorum will win. He has the ethics, morals, and leadership skills that will pull this country out of the hole it is in.

    February 16, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    "WRONG! No one in their right mind thinks Santorum could win the nomination. But he is doing is a great job in exposing Mittens' "finger in the air" mentality, which IS what Obama wants"
    --------
    Santorum did clean Romney's clock during the last CNN debate on the issue of health care. Santorum must have had him really rattled because it wasn't until then that Romney finally pulled his hand out of his pocket.

    February 16, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Syd

    hmmmm, I have to say I'm having a tough time. Romney or Santorum? Santorum or Romney? Do I want a fiefdom or a theocracy? Maybe I'll root for Gingrich so we can have both.

    February 16, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. YOU Decide 2012: A country where 1% have all the money or a country with thriving middle class

    This is good news for us Dems. This, along with the record profits that GM is making and the news of lowest unemployment in 4 years.

    February 16, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. 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.

    February 16, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Thinking7

    Santorum will win. He has the ethics, morals, and leadership skills that will pull this country out of the hole it is in.
    ------–
    Santorum probably could win the GOP nomination if nothing significant changes between now and August. But, Santorum is too exteme in his social views to win the general election. Santorum is on record stating that he would bring his Christian morals to the legislative process. He thinks the seperation of church and state in the US Constitution is wrong and immoral, and he has said so in so many words.

    February 16, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. Chris H

    I think this is awesome. Can you imagine a presidential election season with Santorum v. Obama? I smell a landslide.

    February 16, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. Romney is not My Hero

    Yippie!!! Sanctimonious is making old Robot Mitty look bad. It's funny how they are fighting so hard only to lose to Obama.

    Way to go! – OBAMA 2012

    February 16, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. SkekLach

    Sad to see Dr. Paul trailing so badly. Romney's fall from grace has me feeling like a lot of people are going to be reconsidering their options however. If they don't come around, I'll at least take comfort in knowing that Newt is tanking and that we aren't an extremist Christian nation, so Santorum will get destroyed against Obama. I don't care much about Mittens considering that if he gets the nomination, it puts the race at White Obama vs. Black Obama.

    February 16, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Sanctimonius

    Rick Santorum, a leader chock full of hypocrisy, blind ambition, misogyny, homophobia, and other finely tuned core republican values!

    February 16, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. Chrisb

    I think what is helping Santorum against Romney is his pro-manufacturing stance. When he speaks about encouraging manufacturing in America again with a 0% tax rate... Car-Manufacturers and Union Workers find that appealing.

    February 16, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Could be an interesting primary. The winner might get 200 to 300 votes in Detroit...

    February 16, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Hairball

    Oh Mitt, Mitt, Mitt. What's happening? You were supposed to coast on this one. Your party has gone nuts!

    February 16, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. Matt

    Money, money, money..real 'NERD'

    All that Romney has right now going for him and his bid is 'MONEY'. If it was all about money, then Romney wouldn't need to campaign, and wouldn't need TRUMP'S support...he would have more than enough to buy the nomination and the presidency.

    Romney needs to connect with the American people (that he's just not able to do). Romney needs to show interest in helping the 'poor' (that he's not interested in doing). He actually said 'he isn't concerned about the poor'... read his lips.

    His negative adds, supported by his super pacs are turning people away from him. His interest in seeing the housing foreclosure 'hit the bottom' and seeing his home state of Michigan 'go bankrupt' is enough to keep him away from being the nominee, and moreso the next president.

    Work as you will oh! Mr. Trump, make as much money as possible for Romney...that cannot BUY him the nomination and the presidency.

    I do think it's time for Romney to quit. He's more interested in stacking his $millions in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland, than paying his fair share of taxes to his own country.

    Isn't he a real NERD?????

    February 16, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. SkekLach

    Actually, can we please at least go back to Mittens for now? My stomach churns everytime I read or hear the phrase "Santorum Surge"..

    February 16, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. Dr Knowitall

    Why is their so much bitter hate from liberals on these forums ?
    I see words like stupid, dimwits, Ayatollah.
    I think Rudy NYC is the only one amonst you to have actually listened to something that Santorum has said.

    February 16, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Zenfire

    GOP’s newest crush Rick Santurum (I swear the GOP acts likes a teenager when choosing a candidate) is an interesting one. He has never really been a leader of anything. In congress he was a pork barrel spender and then a lobbyist. He has very little experience – period. To even think of nominating Santoram (and his lemonade stand experience) for the highest office in the nation is pathetic. Just shows how out of touch the GOP is.

    February 16, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. MTATL67

    With Mr. Santorum’s and the other GOP candidate taking the sexist positions on Contraception issue and now Rep. Darrel Issa so called watchdog denies witness for his Contraception hearing. The Virginia Republican Legislature pass bill for state sanctioned rape (Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound) and the various other Republican support personhood bills. The Republican party has confirmed that it has declared war upon American women.

    February 16, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Anonymous wrote:

    They are so blind and have no idea who Santorum is but they just want to vote for him. There we go again, I am afraid we have already elected Obama. God help us. Romney 2012!
    --------
    That's funny. I have heard almost those exact words many times before, "They are so blind and have no idea who [insert the fool's name here] is they they just vote for them anyway." I just recently heard Santorum supporters expressing almost exactly that same shock and awe about Romney.

    But, usually I hear it coming strictly from Democrats who say that about all Republican voters and candidates.

    February 16, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. clarke

    The turn out in these primaries are a bit low, have to wait and see who pulls the rabbit out of the hat.

    February 16, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Ben

    I'll tell you this... Mitt's blind faith in markets scares me.

    I'll tell you two things that markets are bad at:

    1 – They exclude people. If you can't pay, then you're out. So anything that is necessary for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Well, it's not available to all of society in a markets-solve-all-problems world.

    2 – Markets crash. They're unstable. So if stability is needed (say...when you put money in the bank), then a markets-solve-all-problems mindset is insufficient.

    Governments...for all their weaknesses...are both stable and available to all of society. This is why the government provides things that are necessary for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (like self-defense and a basic education). And why the government insures your bank deposits so that you know that you'll get your money back.

    So yeah... Mitt Romney and similar "markets will solve all of our problems" politicians scare me. They are ideologically wrong, and I have no interest in seeing them in power.

    February 16, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. Jim Bob

    It would be so great if Santorum were to win the Republican Nomination – He'd get throttled in the general election even worse than Romney. Romney is the only one that would stand a chance against Obama. And currently, ALL of the GOP rhetoric is to the far right. This will be thrown in their faces during the debates of the general election. Moderates decide elections – not extremists...

    February 16, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. JohnRJ08

    I find it quite frightening that so many Republican voters appear to support Rick Santorum. The man is a homophobic theocrat who would impose his own peculiar morality on the entire country. I can't imagine this guy ever being able to deal with other world leaders on any level. On top of that, his recent statements about President Obama have shown that he is as willing to lie as Romney or Gingrich. I realize that a lot of this is hyperbole, but it is incredibly destructive and divisive for a country that is trying to claw its way out of a near depression.

    February 16, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Scott

    Santorum is a man that would move this country in the right direction, unlike Obama who is forcing religions to go against their beliefs, Refusing to let a pipeline go through, which would put 1000's to work and bring in billons in revenue. He stays with his failed green polices. (Solyndra). Arms the Mexican Drug Cartels, fails to control immigration. Runs up our national debt. now he is trying to make peace with Al Queda, the very people that killed thousands of our citzens, We can not stand anymore of Obama and his corrupt failed polices, Vite Republicans to get this country back on track.

    Santorum/Rommey 2012

    February 16, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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