Obama Leads Polls in
Romney’s Home State of Michigan
September 24, 2012
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney faces an uphill battle to
win his native state of Michigan in the November general election.
President Barack Obama currently enjoys a lead there in early opinion
polls, thanks to support from Michigan’s auto workers and Romney’s own
In November, Michigan college student Zachary Harner will cast his first
vote in a presidential election. He said that vote will go to fellow
Michigan native Romney.
“He was born in Detroit. His father was governor of Michigan,” said
Harner is from western Michigan, where growing up on a farm he learned
the values of hard work, something he thinks Romney appreciates.
“I wake up at 3 in the morning, I come home at 10 at night," said Harner.
"I know what hard work is, and I [that] resonate(s) with Romney.”
That kind of support is harder to find among workers in Detroit,
Michigan’s largest city and home to the “Big 3” U.S. automakers.
In 2008, when the auto industry sought government assistance to avoid
financial collapse, Romney wrote an editorial for the New York Times
headlined, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”
That did not sit well with longtime Detroit autoworker George McGregor,
who believes many automotive jobs in the place where Romney was born
were saved because of the government financial help.
“This is his home state, and he’s not going to win Michigan. No he’s
not,” said McGregor.
McGregor is now president of a local United Auto Workers union in
Detroit that serves almost 2,000 current workers and more than 5,000
retirees. He said statements secretly recorded at a May fundraiser where
Romney referred to 47 percent of Americans as “victims” dependent on
government assistance further upset many union members.
“They are part of the 47 percent, and it hurt them, because most of them
worked 30 plus years, paid taxes, paid into social security. For an
American to say that about another American is wrong,” he said.
says Romney’s criticism of President Obama’s health care legislation and
Romney’s lack of support for government bailouts to the U.S. auto
industry have all but assured President Obama a win here in November in
“Michigan is looking less and less like a swing state every day,” said
University of Michigan Political Science Professor Michael Heaney. He
said Obama’s lead in recent polls is much less than his winning margin
in the state in the 2008 election.
“The Michigan economy has been hit hard because of the Great Recession,
and even though the Great Recession began before Obama became president,
still because he is president, he bears some responsibility, and voters
do hold him responsible for that. So these economic factors have really
hurt Obama’s lead here,” said Heaney.
Harner hopes those economic factors will help Romney close the gap in
Michigan once the public sees him challenge the president in televised
debates in October.