Friday, January 11, 2008

McCain Leads Romney in Michigan Polling

New polling data is starting to trickle-out on next week's Michigan primary.

According to a survey from Strategic Vision, an Atlanta-based public relations agency, John McCain leads Mitt Romney by 9 percentage points in the Wolverine State.
Newsmax has the story:

McCain leads Romney 29% To 20% announces Strategic Vision, LLC, an Atlanta-headquartered public relations and public affairs agency - the key result of a three-day poll of 700 likely Michigan Republican primary voters. The poll has a margin of error of ±4 percentage points.

When Republicans were polled on whom they would support in 2008 for the Republican Presidential nomination, Arizona Senator John McCain led with 29%; former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney received 20%; former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee recieved18% former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani received 13%; former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson received 5%; Texas Congressman Ron Paul received 5%; California Congressman Duncan Hunter received 1%; and 9% were undecided.

“Senator McCain polls very well among male voters and also among voters who list the war in Iraq as their number one issue,” said David E. Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, LLC. “He fares poorly among social conservatives who at this point are mainly split between Huckabee and Romney. Among those who identify themselves as evangelicals, Huckabee has a clear lead. The race is still volatile with voters indicating that they may change their mind before the primary.

“Romney does best in the central area of the state and among female voters,” continued Johnson. “He needs to make stronger inroads among male voters and also among older voters to overtake McCain. Giuliani appears to be a non-factor although had he made a run for it, could have perhaps positioned himself to finish in the top three.”
Also, in a survey realeased this afternoon by Mitchell Interactive, a reseach and communications firm in Lansing, Michigan, finds McCain holding a 7 percent lead over Romney:

A poll released Friday afternoon by Mitchell Interactive, a research company out of Lansing, says Republican John McCain is ahead of Mitt Romney leading into next week's primary in Michigan.

The Poll gives McCain 23%, Romney 17%, and Mike Huckabee at 11%. The poll has Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul tied at 8%.

Mitchell interactive conducted the poll on January 9th and 10th. The margin of error is about 5%. McCain won the primary in 2000 beating President George W. Bush. Steve Mitchell explains, "8 years ago, John McCain won the Michigan Republican Primary because of strong support from Democrats and independents who voted in the Republican Primary," Mitchell goes on to say, "In 2000, he lost to George W. Bush by 2:1 among Republicans.

This time, McCain narrowly leads with Republicans, but is likely to win the primary because of his continued support from independents and Democrats," Mitchell concluded.
A couple of notes:

First, I'm not familiar with either of these survey research firms, and without access to the polling methodologies surveys, I'm not investing full confidence in the findings at this point. Both survey samples are small. I'd like to see some confirming results on the Michigan race from additional, more widely-established polling organizations.

Second, a McCain win in Michigan could spell the end for the Romney organization. George Romney, Mitt's father, was a popular three-term governor of the state, and Mitt was born there. Michigan is Romney's firewall against McCain's momentum. But the former Massachusetts governor has placed second in the year's first two crucial nominating contests, and this is after Romney staked millions of his own fortune building massive ground organizations and running political advertisements. Considering Romney's mediocre performance in last night's South Carolina debate, it's hard to see much life for the Romney campaign in a Southern primary boosting a huge evangelical vote more favorable to Mike Huckabee's Baptist heritage than Romney's Mormonism.

CNN has more background:

On the heels of two second-place finishes and one overshadowed win, an embattled yet confident Mitt Romney marches into Michigan looking to rebound.

The former Massachusetts governor is predicting a win in Tuesday's Michigan primary, but he said the same of New Hampshire, where he finished 6 points behind Sen. John McCain of Arizona....

Another loss - especially in Michigan - could be a big blow to Romney.

If he does lose, "he's going to have to do some serious reassessment of whether his campaign is viable," said CNN political analyst Bill Schneider.
Romney been greeted by sparse crowds in his campaign appearances today, so we'll see how things go for him over the weekend.

See also MSNBC for a late-breaking update on Romney's Michigan push.

UPDATE: From the New York Times' Caucus blog, Romney's calling the Michigan primary "ground zero" of his White House bid:

Mitt Romney, in what may prove an unfortunate choice of words, has taken to referring to Michigan as “ground zero” for his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

He is referring to the fact that he was born here, went to prep school here and is the son of a former top auto executive and Michigan governor. As he told an audience in Warren, Mich., Friday morning, “My mom and dad are buried here.”

But many – including not a few in the Romney campaign – also believe this state could be the ground zero where his 2008 presidential hopes are reduced to rubble.
This is not the kind of buzz Romney wants. Negative momentum's a killer.