Will Michigan Be Competitive?

Mitt Romney certainly doesn’t need Michigan to win in November, but it is doubtful that Barack Obama can get to 270 without Michigan’s 16 electoral votes. So this poll by Foster McCollum White Baydoun represents another leak in the dyke that Obama will have to try to plug. Before getting to the results, note that FMWB is a Michigan consulting, lobbying and polling firm that appears to have a mostly-Democratic clientele. The poll sampled 1,733 respondents and did assess likely vs. registered voters, although it is not clear how that differentiation is reflected in the results.

The key finding:

The poll found that Paul Ryan’s selection is a plus for the Republicans:

The pollsters tried to sway respondents away from Ryan’s budget proposals with this one-sided description:

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan has been selected as the Republican vice presidential nominee. Congressman Ryan has proposed federal budgets that drastically cut the federal deficit, cuts taxes on job creators and proposes the reform of Medicare and Social Security benefits. The Tea Party and business groups support Ryan’s budget as fiscally responsible, reducing the size and cost of unsustainable programs. Democrats, senior citizens groups and a number of economists oppose Ryan’s budget proposal citing it gives the richest Americans a tax cut, privatizes Social Security and Medicare and will have a negative effect on the economy. Do you support Congressman Ryan’s budget plan for the federal government?

But a plurality of respondents didn’t take the bait:

BS detectors must have been going off all across the State of Michigan.

The pollsters sum up their results:

In spite of national criticism of the Ryan selection and budget plan, our findings suggest that Michigan voters are viewing both as positives for Romney. 36.11% of Michigan voters are more likely to vote for Romney because of the Paul Ryan selection while only 27.90% are less likely to vote for Romney. …

“The data prompts further study by the Obama team, Democratic Party and related supporters into the declining support for the President in what was a safe state for him,” stated Attorney Tarek Baydoun, statistical analyst for Foster McCollum White Baydoun. “In a state with a significant senior citizen voting population, the overall support for Congressman Ryan’s budget plan must be very troubling for the President and his team.”

Additionally, the polling data suggests a dip in interest among voters in Democratic leaning regions (Southeastern Michigan, the Thumb Region and Major 17 County Cluster) Congressional Districts (5th, 13th and 14th) and Minority voters. This dip in interest would not only hurt President Obama, but also Democratic down ballot candidates and ballot initiatives.

Ouch. All of this is as it should be, given Obama’s terrible record. I suspect that Michigan will not be the last state that unexpectedly proves competitive.

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