Political Update: Santorum Takes Michigan Lead
February 14, 2012
By Jim Ellis
Yet another surprise is occurring in the Republican presidential nomination battle, a campaign where astonishing results are basically becoming the norm. A new Public Policy Polling survey (2/10-12; 404 likely MI Republican primary voters) gives former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum a 39-24-12-11% lead over his chief rival Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX-14), and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, respectively. Michigan, the state in which Mr. Romney was reared and where his father served as Governor for two terms in the 1960's, has long been a stronghold for the Massachusetts former chief executive. Losing the Wolverine State would clearly deal the Romney campaign a major blow. In one way, the polling results are not all that surprising. Reviving the manufacturing industry in the Great Lakes states has been a focal point of Mr. Santorum's campaign. Michigan's economy has been among the worst in the nation. It is the only state to actually lose population in the last decade, mostly due to a lack of employment opportunities. His manufacturing/economic message largely accounts for Santorum's 67:23% favorability rating. This compares to 49:39% for Romney. Both Mr. Gingrich and Rep. Paul are upside down, with their negative ratings greatly surpassing their positive scores. Gingrich registers 38:47% favorable to unfavorable, and Paul is in even worse position at 32:51%.
Jim Ellis is a professional election analyst who has worked in national campaign politics and grassroots issue advocacy since 1978. He currently writes and speaks as a member of the PRIsm Information Network.