Aaah, Michigan. The Great Lakes State, home of Republican nominee Mitt Romney and where his father was the governor for three consecutive terms. Romney has close ties to Michigan and one would expect that he would have the state in the bag.
That’s not the case.
According to a poll conducted by the EPIC-MRA of Lansing for the Free Press, Obama now shows a 10 point lead over Mitt Romney, 47% to 37%. EPIC-MRA polled 600 potential November votes with a margin of error plus or minus four percentage points. In a state that was considered a swing state only a few weeks ago, it seems as if Michigan has decided to lead with Obama.
Hardest hit by the restructuring and bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler, Michigan lost 800,000 jobs from of 2008-2010. An economy that thrives on the automobile industry, Obama put himself in favorable light with the $80 billion bailout to GM and Chrysler. Chrysler has record profits since their bankruptcy back in 2009 and is slated to add 200,000 jobs in the next few years. While that won’t make a huge difference in the overall amount of jobs lost, it still is a positive addition.
Under Obama, Michigan’s economy was hardest hit in general, with unemployment rates soaring in 2009 to 14.4%. Over the past year, it has declined to 8.3% in par with the national average. That decline is a result 59,300 new jobs created, around 50% being in the manufacturing sector. The successful addition of manufacturing jobs demonstrates the benefits of the bailout for the automobile industry. Michiganders see that the bailout has finally proved to produce positive results, they may be more likely to vote for Obama. It shows because, “Obama led in all three metro Detroit counties including Macomb (52%-43%), Oakland (53%-33%) and Wayne (56%-30%),” according to Detroit Free Press.
It seems that more people are interested in the upcoming elections, especially at the university level. Michigan State University is providing watch parties for the upcoming debates and University of Michigan has had positive turnouts for student involvement in partisan organized groups. Both of these college towns tend to lead towards the Democratic candidate, which also may represent some of the positive pull towards Obama. More of the students are becoming politically aware and active on campus now that school is in session.
Romney may not be completely up a creek without a paddle. According to Romney’s aide Katie Packer Gage, Romney’s campaign will not pull out of Michigan unlike John McCain in 2008. Obama leads in Michigan, but it still could prove to be a close race with the upcoming debates in a couple of weeks.
Michigan may still be considered a swing state.