September 19th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Romney trailing in birth state

(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.


Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC poll • Michigan • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Boo

    Hey Matt – just come out of your coma after Bush left office?

    September 19, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Jrd

    It's a CNN poll. Duh.

    September 19, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Too bad you over sampled Democrats by 6 points."

    Learn what random sampling is and then go look up the differential for people who self-report as Dems versus people who self-report as Republicans. Then, after you've figured out hwo stupid you sounded, take the time to grow up.

    September 19, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. DJ

    What a joke. CNN polls are obviously tainted and biased, I live in a mixed democratic-republican area of Michigan and the overwhelming majority of people in my area want to see Obama defeated.

    Many people that voted for Obama the first time are either voting for Romney, or not at al,l because of their strong dislike of Obama.

    The ecconmy in this area and throughout the state is brutal mainly because of Obama's failed economic plans.

    Most of us that were fooled into voting for him once, will not be deceived a 2nd time. They must of did their polling in the heart of the city of Detroit, where most of the "government owes me a living" citizen's reside.
    Many of us living in MidMichigan areas like Bay City, Midland, Saginaw, and other former Obama strongholds have had it with his lies and deceptions. You will see far different results than what these deceptive CNN polls are saying, wait and see.

    September 19, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    Let Detroit go bankrupt, I don't care about poor, corporations are also people, my friend, 47% of the people are on WellCare that will vote for Obama, what a brain this idiot has!!! God save USA from GOP thugs and mitt the Cult leader. Obama12.

    September 19, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Bill in Lansing

    Mitt can't hold a candle to his father.

    September 19, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. 200 TON HAMMER

    And mitt came too his own and they fact check him in his birth state,let detroit go
    Bankrupt,yeah mitt game over

    September 19, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. bluedogboy

    Wasn't it about this time in 2008 that McCain shut-down his entire Michigan campaign operation?

    September 19, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. HOLY TIGHTY WHITIES WILLARD

    Ahhhh. The trees are just the right height. Let Detroit go bankrupt.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012
    ELIZABETH WARREN 2012 & BEYOND

    September 19, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. michael

    Funny how every time bad news regarding Romney comes out, his sheeple come out with the "Obama's a failure" and the "Obama did this" and the "Obama said that" defense. Sorry but Mitt can't win with the "Vote-fo- me-because-Obama-sucks" platform. What Romney must do is win the confidence of the American people, which he has failed to do so far; that's why he trails Obama in the polls despite Obama's screw-ups. Until Romney can gain the confidence of American voters he WILL NOT WIN, as most voters will choose to keep the devil they know instead of taking a chance with the devil they nothing about.

    September 19, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. rshanks66

    Not true, Matt, that Obama has failed. Look at the facts: Turned around the 2nd worst fiscal crisis ever. Rescued the auto industry and saved millions of jobs. Added 40+ million jobs. Boosted fuel economy standards. Pumped more domestic oil in 4 years than W did in 8. Supported alternative energy. Put measures in place to prevent banks and Wall Street from drag gin us down again. Open your mind, review the facts.

    September 19, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. once upon a horse

    President Obama's slogan in 2008 may have been "Hope and Change" but Mitt Romney has replaced that in 2012 with "Point and Blame"......it is starting to show in the polls.

    September 19, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. John

    Romney would have let GM fail. As a result, Romney WILL fail.

    September 19, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. bluedogboy

    Bill in Lansing is correct.

    Mitt wishes he was half the man that his father was. George Romney was a good, thoughtful man.

    September 19, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    But he likes the height of the trees....doesn't that count for something?

    September 19, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Obama has not failed in my eyes. I think he is doing ery well, considering what he had to deal with after republicans trickle down BS for eight years.

    September 19, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. Norma Vessels

    We need President Obama in the White House .. and we need the Republicans in Congress out! Vote .. please.

    September 19, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. ann

    cluessless, cold rascist..all that work is wife did to humanize him all went up in smoke..phony people..thank you God for showing him up...who says there is no God??

    September 19, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. Howard

    @ ERIN ...
    When you investigate Obama online, you will find sanitized websites ... or simply missing information. For example, Obama swore alliegnience to the 'Black Values' policy, at the jeremiah Wright church, Obama attended ro TWENTY FIVE YEARS ... where Obama pledged to provide all opportunities to Black people, ahead of all other races. Also, when running for the senate, Obama promoted Black voter registration, only to cancel out their votes, by disqualifying his opponent (A Black Female) on a technicality. Today, Video Tape reveals countless Obama 2008 campaign promises, which were broken. Maybe YOU need to look past your blind devotion to 'Dear Leader', and investigate the FACTS.

    September 19, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    I want to see his certified original long form birth certificate with the footprint on it.

    Oh, that's right, his father was on welfare and couldn't afford to pay the fee. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Obama/Biden for sanity in the WH 4 more years.

    September 19, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. nkrempa

    DJ, MidMichigan was not an Obama "stronghold," primarily thanks to Dow Chemical. The fact that Obama is ahead in Oakland County, where I live, is a surprise to me, but a welcome one. After all, most of my friends and neighbors are highly distrustful of ALL Republicans this time around, after they swallowed the shallow promises in 2010 by state and federal representatives.

    "Elect us for more fiscal responsibility"

    "We'll get people back to work"

    Yeah, right... NOT. All our Representatives did in the House at the federal level was obstruct the plans that were put before them to stimulate the economy, while supporting even more invasive, intrusive laws into our personal lives. All our state Representatives did was the same – or worse – as when they decided to tax seniors pensions, or gut the Earned Income Tax Credit for thousands and give the proceeds to the richest corporations in our state.

    September 19, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. Sorry Charlie

    Check out unskewedpolls. Your Liberal heads may spin but it provides some great information.

    September 19, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. Farrok

    Let me ask You a question: You are a Mormon Bishop, a man who is looked up to by the rank and file Mormon as a role model, and that I one thing Mitt Romney is. Now as a Mormon Bishop you have a duty to help the Poor, lame and sick? Now as a matter of fact Mitt Romney is proposing Public Policy of cutting off Social Security, Medicare and food programs the hungry and needy among us.

    Here is the question: How can a Man be two things at the same time? He proclaims his Faith Mormonism yet the wants the poor, the lame, the elderly and sick to starve or die!

    September 19, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. justin

    Dj...your an idiot...how can michigans economic problems be caused by obama??? If it was up to mitt we would have no auto industry and my state would be a ghost state!!! And I live ina a detroit suburb and very few ppl I talk to are going to cote for mitt!!!

    September 19, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  25. PixieDust

    Some form of redistribution has been a policy of the United States for decades under both Democrat and Republican administrations. A complicated and sophisticated society cannot operate under simplistic notions that worked during much simpler times and under completely different conditions.

    What Obama said is nothing new. We heard it during the last election. What is new are Romney's callous remarks.

    September 19, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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