September 19th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
10 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. John P Sabella

    I hate to be picky but the word Robme should have used was "Eloquently" not "Elegantly". "Eloquently" may have helped his chest nuts since the word refers to the use of word only. "Elegantly" completely afferms what he said.

    September 19, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. anoel2005

    hey John King ( from CNN, the state run media) ,

    The Liberals are asking how bad this secretly taped video is for Romney.............New poll: no one gives a sh$t.

    Americans care about the debt we are leaving our kids and the fact that 50 % of college grads can't find a job because apparently, Obama hates the private sector.

    September 19, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. NYC REPUB news here Romney, is NOT winning Michigan.

    September 19, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. NYbywayofTexas

    This is a statemnet made by someone who wants to represent the country I live in? Common sense should tell you if he can be so flippant about not representing the USA (ALL OF IT), then he will wreak havoc if elected. He has yet to give us a plan of how he will govern as president. Let's speak about healthcare, deficit, foreign policy and TAXES! Namely yours! And yes I work hard and pay taxes. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!! WE CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN. Remember the George W. Bush years?!!!

    September 19, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. on StreetWise

    All citizens have a real need to earn a living and support their families... Now in this economy, it’s called survival!
    People would prefer to earn a decent paying check than go on welfare. During the 50, 60's the top tax (marginal) brackets were 74% and our middle class were prosperous. Then when the Reaganomics/Trickledown 80's economy arrived and that set off the start of "Class Wars" and really split the country between the investment class and the middle class and the with the Bush Administration kicked into overdrive. Any worker class person can work off their butts off if the tax code could re-overhauled and produce a more equal dispersal of wealth. The vast majority of citizens are satisfied with a job, home, security and a saving account, only if the politicians were responding to the voters and put "K" Street out of business. The number issue in front the people is to turn over the Supreme Court decision "Citizen vs. United" and get the glut of Super-Pac money out of politics.

    September 19, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. The Other Campaign Strategist @ Amsterdam Ave & 115th

    The President stood up for and stood behind these workers in Michigan, Ohio & Wisconsin. IF they can`t stand with Barack Obama, then that says our nation has a long way to go to fulfil Dr. King`s dream.

    September 19, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "if a Republican were in office right now, honestly ? would you be happy with the current conditions of the country"

    Sigh. Your shallow, superficial analysis is really getting tiring. We're looking at WHY we're in the situation we're in, not simply at the coincidence of who is in office and what the situation is at the time. If a GOPer were in office right now, DADT woudl be in place, there'd be no legislation for equal pay, we'd be doubling and tripling down on the policies that caused and worsened the recession and the redistribution of the country's wealth upwards and the destruction of the middle-class, Medicare and SS would be dead...completely dead...and we'd be sending young men and women off to Iran or northern Africa. So no. We wouldn't be happy if a GOPer had been POTUS these past 4 years.

    September 19, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. Patriot Awesome

    Just wait for the debates. Obama is going to crush Romney and his lead will open up more.

    September 19, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. Deist

    Romney is so out of touch with the middle class that his condition is best described as "Nerd Elitist" because, in spite of being bright and attractive, he has the social skills of an awkward adolescent used to bullying people into submission rather than listening and watching for clues that would allow him to convince others of his perspective.

    September 19, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    Romney is trailing in a CNN poll? Who would have thunk it? Surprise, Surprise!

    September 19, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  11. Patriot Awesome

    Wait a second. How do we know Romney was born in Michigan? I demand to see his birth certificate!

    September 19, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  12. Bob

    Michigan is Romneys home state and he wanted to put the auto makers out of business yet he talks about job creation. If he will do this to his home state what do you think he will do to the rest of the country if given the opportunity ? He talks about the redistribution of wealth in this country being a bad thing...I happen to agree with that statement as the wealth has already been redistributed the 1%. Its time for the 1% to keep some of that wealth in this country and create jobs instead of parking the money in offshore acounts to avoid paying federal taxes. Romney only cares about his wealthy contributors and has no idea what the common person is going through during these trying economic times and frankly i do not thing he cares.

    September 19, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. Ancient Texan

    NYbywayof Texas- Yep I remember the George Bush years....4.7% average unemployment, the DOW @ 14,000. I'd go back rather than the disaster we're involved in today.

    September 19, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. leftywriteagain

    Flipflopney is on the take. He is throwing the election like a fixed boxing match. He is taking the money and running to the caymans. Who really is his campaign manager, Don King?

    September 19, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
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