January 15th, 2008
10:09 PM ET
14 years ago

How Romney won: Economy, evangelicals, local ties

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/15/art.romneywin.ap.jpg caption=" Three factors helped Romney win Michigan."](CNN) - Mitt Romney's victory over John McCain can be credited to three factors, CNN exit polling indicates.

A majority of Michigan voters named the economy as the most pressing issue - and those voters overwhelming chose the former Massachusetts governor and one-time successful businessman: 41 percent of them went for Romney, compared to 29 percent who went for McCain.

Romney was also aided by winning a strong share of evangelical voters. As predicted, evangelical turnout was up this cycle - they constituted 38 percent of GOP primary voters. Mike Huckabee was banking on winning this bloc as overwhelmingly as he had in Iowa, but the exit polls indicate that he and Romney were essentially tied among those voters, with Romney getting the votes of 33 percent to Huckabee’s 31 percent.

Finally, Romney's local ties to Michigan - he was born there, and his father served as the state’s governor - may have put him over the top: 41 percent of Republican primary voters said Romney's connection to Michigan was an important factor in their decision on who to support.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: John McCain • Michigan
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. jay

    Mitt's been an auto worker for pretty much his entire life.

    January 15, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  2. Anne -Detroit, MI

    Romney won not only Repub votes but Independent voters too. I think the people of Michigan have seen the state be largely solidly blue and highly unionized. But when you ask yourself "how's that working out?" , Michigan has to admit that being blue hasn't worked out very well at all.

    January 15, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  3. stunnedsilence

    President Mitt Romney, I like the sound of that!

    January 15, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  4. ragingcentrist

    Don't forget the Daily Kos vote.

    January 15, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  5. Lucky Lakeshore

    Anne, you comment is GOP caca. Michigan voters are smart enough to know that a Democratic state government can do precious little to affect the auto industry's troubles. In fact, it is doubtful that the federal government could do that much either. But it could show some interest and support–neither of which has been forthcoming from the Bush administration. The fact that Republican voters opted for the canidate with local ties and chameleon-like policy positions is more of a statement on how pitiful the state party has become than any judgment about red or blue. Why did Granholm crush the Amway King during the last governor's race, do you think? Come November next, you will see Michigan vote for the Democratic candidate. Great Lakes State voters aren't the idiots that you take them for.

    January 15, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  6. Solar Guy

    Romney will get it done! Go Mitt!

    January 15, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  7. kennypatchen

    Let's see... being blue and unionized are the reasons for Michigan's high unemployment. Uh, yeah. If Michigan had been red then maybe Repubs could've subcontracted the Gitmo clubmed torture resort to a hockey rink near Anne.

    January 15, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  8. Todd Jenson

    Hopefully now CNN (and the rest of the liberal bias in the media) will stop calling Romney a 'two-time loser'. Before tonight, McCain and Huckabee were also 'two-time' losers, but CNN chose only to call Romney by that negative label. Romney still has the most RNC delegate votes, just as he has for the past few weeks. McCain and Huckabee are now members of the 'three-time' loser club. CNN also has consistently used old polling data to show McCain is ahead of Romney (yes, I mean to imply that CNN has endorsed McCain as its Republican favorite). CNN needs to decide whether it wants to lose its ant-Romney bias or its credibility.

    January 15, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  9. lilyandscout

    I like Romney's ideas for the economy. I'm glad Michigan gave him this win. I trust Romney more than McCain or Huckabee to strengthen our economy.

    January 15, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  10. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Great going Romney and thanks to the evangelical voters.

    January 15, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  11. pol

    Wonder how many Democrats voted for him, as Kos suggested?

    January 15, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  12. fa

    'Mitt's been an auto worker for pretty much his entire life.'

    Why, because his father was president of American Motors? That has as much in common with the rank and file autoworker, as I do with George Bush, and let me tell you, I have nothing in common with him. Mitt bought and sold companies to make his millions, and made them salable by cutting expenses. Translation: cutting expenses means laying off people, and cutting benefits for those who remain. If the voters of Michigan think he's going to restore the lost jobs to the auto industry, they're going to be sorely disappointed. That's not how he thinks, and that's not how he operates.

    January 15, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  13. DLounsbury

    Libs and the Daily Kos flatter themself if they think they had an impact. Exit polls confirmed bad weather kept Democrats at home.

    Not to mention how ridiculous their "strategy" was. Telling libs to go vote republican for the most organized most wealthy politicican with no bones in his closet. Only a boneheaded contrarian could come up with such an idea.

    What happened is what happened in Wyoming–Romney finally ran in a state with conservative republicans.

    January 15, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  14. Richmond Gardner

    Yeah, I 'spect CNN is undercounting the Democrats voting for Romney as Rasmussen had him winning over McCain by only 1% (26% to 25%), a figure well within the margin of error.

    January 16, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  15. Art

    In answer to your question, not very many Democrats crossed over. Doubt it would have been even a quarter percentage.

    Romney won not only because of the message, but because of the hard work of his ground game. He is an expert at organizing and motivating people. People like myself that devoted 7 hours over the weekend to calling and many more convincing my acquaintances of his viability as a candidate.

    Note to McCain: Don't tell me that my job as an engineer can just go away in the automotive industry. Tell me you will fight to keep jobs here. I don't need retrained for the service industry at half the pay and benefits. I like what I do and if it goes away I want to know that every last breathe was taken to keep it. Stop making the auto industry the evil of America.

    Second note to McCain: We don't forget many of your past sins. You may claim to be conservative, but we remember the past and your "telling the truth". Problem is you can tell the truth, but if your hands are dirty from the crime it does not matter.

    January 16, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  16. Bubba

    "CNN needs to decide whether it wants to lose its ant-Romney bias or its credibility."

    I thought they already had?

    Not that Fox is much better...

    January 16, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  17. John MA

    Romney promised more than he can ever deliver in MI ! The JOBS are NOT coming back to those Larry, Darryl, and Darryl voters, do they comprehend anything ??

    How stupid are you people in MI ?

    He will not win anywhere else, because he cannot use that car salesman schtick in any other state !

    This was his "homestate" don't ya know??

    January 16, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  18. Amanda

    I am totally with Todd Jenson on this. I feel that CNN has been extremely biased against Mitt Romney, it is really getting to me. Is CNN running their own campaign for some other candidate? I don't understand. Half of the time when Mitt should have some screen time, it goes to someone else that isn't even in the forefront of the situation. Mitt seems to go unnoticed in these campaigns, and even unmentioned like the Wyoming delegates that he won. I just wish their could be more fairness and unbiased treatment of the candidates, is it really that hard? Isn't that CNN's job? Is CNN being paid by some other Republican candidiate?

    January 16, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  19. jyfranca

    Congrats Romney.The only thing Romney can win nomination is to campaign on issue of economy only.Lots of Americans feel the pinch am sure the hard he delivers the message of economy and how is going to fix it the more his message will resgnate to voters.

    January 16, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  20. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    Enlightened Evangelicals (several of whom I know), are seeing the universal quality of a MAN OF FAITH, with similar social conservative views, even though not in complete harmony in doctrinal details and without wearing his religion on his sleeve. That's because he believes in treating all people fairly, regardless of their beliefs. THANK YOU ENLIGHTENED EVANGELICAL VOTERS. Go Mitt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 16, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  21. DB, Chicago, IL

    I still can't believe the way the press just writes people off after one bad result. They way they piled on Hillary and Romney after Iowa was ridiculous and outrageous. But, like medieval kings, journalists slobber at the mouths and have favorites. In this case, they drool all over McCain. CNN in particular. They're not liberal - haven't been since they got sold by Ted Turner - and indeed they're now far closer to Fox News than to MSNBC for example. But boy do they love McCain. He isn't liberal either, what with his belief in the war, privatizing social security and cutting government spending. But that isn't necessarily why the press like him. They may share his values on certain issues, but what they really share is his time.

    You see, most political reporters give a free pass to politicians who schmooze them and give them access. The resulting friendly coverage has nothing to do with whether the politician is any good or not. None plays this game better than McCain.

    January 16, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  22. Jose Card - Independent

    I really wonder if Illinois will honor HIllary's local ties. She was born in Chicago.

    January 16, 2008 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  23. SilverTLC

    I ditto Todd! No media even mentioned Mitt won Wyoming with 67%!! I hope Mitt can continue to strengthen his support from all the branches of the conservative coalition. Looks like he is doing a good job so far!

    Keep it up Mitt!

    January 16, 2008 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  24. Kirk

    CNN Endourses "anyone but Romney"
    THE CNN Romney Bias is so obvious – earlier this week instead of talking about his accomplishments, posistions, intelligence or ability...they did a piece that was essentially on his "HAIR" and on him being "too perfect"?! For crying out loud – I thought I was watching entertainment tonight.

    The media seem to be the ones most concerned with Race, Gender, and Religion..... Most American's just want someone to fix Washington.

    January 16, 2008 04:24 am at 4:24 am |
  25. WakeWashington

    It appears a lot of evangelicals aren't as bigoted as Huckabee would like to think.

    January 16, 2008 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
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