February 28, 2012—SnyderTalk Editorial: The Michigan Primary is Shaping up to be a Two-Horse Race

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The Michigan Primary is Shaping up to be a Two-Horse Race

The Michigan primary is shaping up to be a two-horse race between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.  Michigan is an important state for Romney, in particular, because he was born and raised there, and he grew up as the son of George Romney, a prominent Michigan automaker and former three-term Michigan governor.  A Detroit Free Press/WXYZ-TV poll that was taken before the debate on Wednesday night showed that Santorum had a 3-point advantage over Romney — 37% to 34%.  Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich came in at 10% and 7%, respectively, both of them behind “Undecided/refused.”

Among the poll’s more noteworthy findings,

  • Romney led Santorum among women 37% to 33%;
  • Santorum led Romney among men 41% to 29%;
  • Romney led Santorum among pro-choice voters 43% to 18%;
  • Santorum led Romney among pro-life voters 48% to 29%;
  • Romney led Santorum among moderate voters by 51% to 17%; and
  • Santorum led Romney among conservative voters and voters who profess no political leaning by 46% to 27% and 54% to 27%, respectively.

Judging by the poll’s results, Romney’s Mormon faith could play an important part in the Michigan primary and possibly in the rest of the nation as well.  Santorum had a 48% to 19% advantage over Romney among religious voters who are other than Catholic or Protestant, and those who are “Evangelical/Born-again Christians” leaned toward Santorum by 51% to 24%.  Even so, according to the Detroit Free Press/WXYZ-TV poll, Michigan was still in play.  Romney was closing the gap, and 45% of poll participants said that they were willing to change their minds.

The latest Gallup Tracking Poll among registered Republican voters nationally that was taken between February 18-22 mirrored the Detroit Free Press/WXYZ-TV poll.  Santorum came from nowhere, and with his three-state sweep in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, he surged to a lead, but he has plateaued and is now dropping.  Conversely, Romney showed a dramatic drop in support following Santorum’s hat trick, but he has leveled off and is starting to rise again.

By Friday, a new Rasmussen poll showed that Romney had eliminated the gap completely and captured a 6-point lead in Michigan:

“True to a primary season already marked by sudden and surprising ups and downs, Mitt Romney has jumped back into the lead in Michigan’s Republican Primary race. The vote’s on Tuesday.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters in Michigan shows Romney with 40% of the vote and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum with 34%. The poll was conducted on Thursday night, following the last scheduled debate among the GOP candidates.”

Likewise, a Mitchell/Rosetta Stone poll released on Friday showed that Romney has a 3-point leader over Santorum in Michigan:

“Fueled by a strong debate performance Wednesday night, Mitt Romney continues to lead Rick Santorum in the latest Mitchell/Rosetta Stone Poll of Michigan conducted for MIRS (Michigan Information & Research Service) the night after the CNN Debate.  The two front runners are still in a statistical dead heat, although Romney (36%) has increased his lead by 1% over Rick Santorum (33%) while Ron Paul (12%) replaced Newt Gingrich (9%) in third place.  Undecided voters dropped in half to 11%.”

Whether Santorum will eventually go the way of Newt Gingrich remains to be seen.  Gingrich came on like gangbusters, too, and then he experienced a precipitous decline.  The South Carolina primary breathed new life into Gingrich’s campaign, but he plummeted again after a dismal showing in Florida.  That said, if we haven’t learned anything else during the GOP primary season, we should have learned this: You should take polling data with a grain of salt.  Polls tell us how voters feel about potential candidates at any given moment, but as my colleague at the University of Virginia, Larry Sabato, said,

“Real votes make clear what polls cannot fully pick up. The Republican election season has been shaped by two forces, other than the obvious one to oust President Obama. First, the strongest potential candidates did not enter the fray, and the remaining contenders do not satisfy most GOP voters. At every polling opportunity, Republicans have expressed their desire for a wider choice. Put another way, Republicans would love to combine the economic acumen of Mitt Romney, the social conservatism of Rick Santorum, the debating skills of Newt Gingrich and the enthusiasm of young voters for Ron Paul into one candidate. That feat must await several generations of advances in genetic engineering.”

A few days ago, PJ Media conducted a presidential poll, but instead of including only the announced candidates, they added Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Sarah Palin, and Condoleezza Rice to the mix.  Their results showed that only Santorum and Rice would narrowly defeat Obama as of February 21-22, but Rice is an unproven political commodity.  Although she has served as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, she has never run for public office and she has not been vetted the way that the announced candidates have.  Thus, it doesn’t make sense to place too much weight on her showing in the PJ Media poll.  To read the entire editorial, click here.

This SnyderTalk editorial first appeared in PJ Media on February 27, 2012.

To see other SnyderTalk editorials, click here.

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Hosea 4: 6

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

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Yahweh to Jeremiah—Jeremiah 16: 21

“Therefore behold, I am going to make them know—this time I will make them know My power and My might; and they shall know that My name is Yahweh.”

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His Name is Yahweh explains why the Name of God, Yahweh, is so important.  It’s available in eBook format and in paperback.

God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This [Yahweh] is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.”

Exodus 3: 15

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