(CNN) - It's the state where Mitt Romney was born and where his father served as governor, but a new poll indicates President Barack Obama is leading the Republican nominee in the race for Michigan's 16 electoral votes.
According to a CNN/ORC International survey (PDF) released Wednesday, 52% of likely voters in Michigan say if the presidential election were held today, they'd vote for the president, with 44% saying they'd cast a ballot for Romney. The poll is the second in a week to indicate Obama with a lead. The president was up 47%-37% over Romney in an EPIC/MRA poll released last week. But polls conducted earlier this summer indicated a closer contest.
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The auto bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler may be a factor behind the new numbers in the state that's home to the domestic auto industry. They were prominently showcased during all three nights of the Democratic convention earlier this month, as was Romney's opposition to Washington's role.
The federal government's assistance of auto giants was started under President George W. Bush in 2008, but the next year Obama grabbed the keys to the program, managing and funding the bailouts of GM and Chrysler. Romney opposed the government bailout and pushed for a privately financed, managed bankruptcy of the two automakers.
According to the CNN poll, Obama piles up sizeable margins among his core groups, including women, union households, urban and younger voters, and those with lower incomes. But he also holds his own among men, higher-income Michiganders, and non-union households. He manages a 46%-46% tie among independent voters, and has a narrow deficit in the suburbs.
"One key to President Obama's strength may be the 51%-46% advantage he currently has among Michigan men," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "It has been suggested that the auto bailout is particularly popular among men in 'car cultures' like Michigan even if they do not directly make their living from the auto industry."
Romney was born in Detroit and raised in nearby Oakland County, but he loses both of those regions to Obama, according to the survey. Romney does best in the southwestern part of the state, including the Grand Rapids area, where he has a 19-point lead over Obama.
George H.W. Bush's 1988 victory in Michigan was the last time a Republican carried the state in a presidential contest. Obama won the state by 57%-41% over Sen. John McCain four years ago. The state is currently "lean Obama" in CNN's Electoral Map.
This cycle, since the unofficial start of the general election in early April, neither presidential campaign has spent money to run ads on broadcast TV in the state. SuperPACs and other independent advocacy groups backing Romney have spent over $6 million to run ads in Michigan, but that pales in comparison to other competitive states like Florida, Ohio and Virginia.
Wednesday Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney super PAC, announced that it was going to spend $2.2 million to run ads in Michigan and Wisconsin.
Obama has not visited Michigan since April. Romney and Ryan were last in the state in late August, just before the start of the Republican convention.
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"This was one of Governor Romney's top targets as he tried to expand his map - create more options to get to 270 – by putting the president on defense in some of the bigger blue states from 2008. They insist they haven't given up on Michigan, but the campaign isn't spending any TV money here, which speaks volumes," says CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "Republicans had a great 2010 in Michigan, but when you talk to party leaders now, they are less and less optimistic that Romney can win here – and less and less certain he will even make a late push."
As for the "Restore Our Future" ad buy, King says it "looks like one last effort to budge the numbers now that the conventions dust has settled."
Also influencing the numbers in Michigan is the state of the economy. Michael Traugott, a professor of communications and political science at the University of Michigan, says one factor here is that while Michigan is hardly booming, things are a bit better than a few years ago.
"The economy is on an upward slope even though the magnitude of the slope is very small," Traugott told CNN. "Barack Obama also has a reservoir of popular support or sentiment about him personally, and views about how he cares for other Americans, that he can take advantage of and it's difficult for Romney to argue against."
According to the new poll, Green party nominee Jill Stein and U.S. Taxpayers party candidate Virgil Goode each at one percent among likely voters, with Natural Law party candidate Ross C. Anderson registered at less than one-half of one percent.
The survey was conducted mostly before Monday afternoon's release of secretly recorded remarks that Romney made at a private fund-raiser in May, where he described supporters of President Barack Obama as dependent on government. Fallout from the controversial clips has dominated coverage of the race for the White House over the past two days.
"As always, keep in mind that today's poll is not, and cannot be, a prediction of what will happen in November. One in eight likely voters say they could change their minds between now and Election Day, and with three key debates on the calendar, it's far too early to predict the final outcome in Michigan or any other state," adds Holland.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from September 14-18, with 1,023 adults in Michigan, including 910 registered voters and 754 likely voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for registered and likely voters is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Mitten is not George Romney! He was born here in Michigan alright; but he will never win Michigan. Never! Let Detroit Go Bankrupt, right? We are so bankrupt to vote for him.
Didn't he tell his birth state of Michigan, not his adopted states of NH and UT that it could go bankrupt itself? This includes neighboring states oh Ohio and Indiana and that southern state of NC the same in a roundabout way because they manufacturer auto parts?
How patriotic is it to hide money in foreign countries when America's economy is ailing?
How patriotic is it to evade taxes when brave veterans are returning to unemployment?
How patriotic was it to dodge the Vietnam draft on a Mormon "mission" in Paris?
How patriotic is it to hide tax returns from American voters?
How patriotic is it to vote for someone like that?
Barack Obama has failed so badly, 26 million U.S. residents unemployed, a weak economy and an over 16 trillion dollar debt that he refuses to address. A foreign policy that has all but flopped and a media that is doing all it can to protect this failed White House. And you want us to believe your polls ? Nice try CNN, Mitt, you have my vote and millions of others who feel the same way I do.
I dare people to go online and really investigate President Obama and Romney. I think if you do, you'll see a very different view of who Romney is. You can call CNN bias all you want, but the facts are there and the FACT is, Obama has run a very clean election. Afterall, the only thing the Romney campaign can pin on him is a video that happened 14 years ago! Clear your mind, look past your religion AND investigate the FACTS!!!!
Makers and takers.....who do you support?
Why can't GOPers spell correctly or use correct grammar? Oh yeah, I forgot—they’re no brainers with tea bags in their mouths and all they can do is cry (just like cry baby Paul Ryan and Mittens the spoiled rich kid who will never grow up!).
Obama/Biden for FOUR MORE YEARS!
Good bye Willard.
If the media were fair and balanced, Barack Obama would not even get 10 percent of the vote. He has failed so badly and the shameful media continues to ignore the serious issues we are facing. This is so dangerous.
Michigan has had a birds eye view of the Romneys........................George dodging the draft during WW II, Mitt leaving on a religious "mission" to France to dodge the military draft during the Vietnam war......it is not they are cowards for not serving, but should our country have to put up with Mitt as President and Commander in Chief, while he purposely avoided serving alongside of his classmates.
Only a tea birth always voting Republican no matter what would believe Obama is the failure here. Mit's only plan is to do what Bush did. Definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Obama 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!
You had better hope Romney wins This state will really go off the cliff eith another 4 years of the communist
I think it is amazing that CNN posts article after article trying to make Mitt Romney look bad and not one single article at all about Obama and his changing the facts about everything going on in the Middle East. He is so dishonest and you guys just try to keep getting him reelected. At least try to appear balanced. This might as well be an Obama reelection site.
We all need to look at the facts surrounding this campaign for the presidency. Look at all the papers, remarks, platforms, etc. for each party. Understand what will happen after the election. Decide who will really look out for our interests. Will we get into another war? Will we be even-handed or will we just decide to support one cause, one government, or one ideology only? Are we going to help those who need assistance and to bring them out of poverty or will we blame them for the fact they are poo? Do we really believe 47% of the electorate should be written off? Will we stand up and say enough is enough and demand that these pacs stop trying to buy the election and allow us to know who is contributing to these pacs? Will this nasty ad campaign continue until election day?
I must hope that Americans know in their hearts that every person should be valued and that those who are struggling for any reason are worthy of our assistance. How many people do you know who take and take and give nothing back in return. I would venture that the number is not 47% of our electorate.
But hey, the trees are just about the right height!! Goodbye Mittens.
Mitten is not George Romney! He was born here in Michigan alright; but he will never win Michigan. Never! Let Detroit Go Bankrupt, right?
But they did anyway after Obama gave up $50 billion. They went bankrupt. And now the taxpayers ( you and I and all the people lucky enough to have jobs ) are still out $15 billion just on General Motors. Obama blew that one. Big time.
Both Romney and Ryan will lose their home states in November.
Worderful news, and more proof that Mittens Rawmoney is going to lose bigtime. Bravo for America and four more years for President Obama.
This passes for breaking news?? Must be a slow news day. Perhaps it's a slow news year - just a presidential election going on...
Don't let your State go bankrupt either, vote Obama. Not a hard decision to make, ask Michigan.
Romney is a produce of the scary morman religion not of Michigan Birth... Excaping to Mexico to have five wives, i wonder if Romney has FIVE grandmothers?
"Hell, my dogs got more sense than to vote for this idiot."
Poor Mittens....he can't help it....he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.
All of the Barack Obama supporters, think for a moment.... if a Republican were in office right now, honestly ? would you be happy with the current conditions of the country, 26 million unemployed, a dead economy, welfare handouts up 15 million under this president, an extra 6 trillion dollars added to the U.S. debt in three and a half years, no energy policy the black community has a 16 percent unemployment rate nationally and the entire Middle East calling for the death of America. Would you be happy with these conditions if a Republican were in office right now ?
@ Erin.. Great post!