Obama Leads Polls in Romney’s Home State of Michigan

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 public statements.

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.

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.

McGregor 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 his view.

“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.

Kane Farabaugh

Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

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Comment Sorting
by: happy from: michigan
October 07, 2012 12:41 AM
GO ROMNEY ! What can we do for our country, not what my country can do for me. American pride . Rock on MITT !

by: NVO from: USA
September 25, 2012 12:58 PM
People, (duped people that is) be it known that Obama has already won the fixed election. It has NOTHING to do with party vs party. It has to do with ONE thing only, and that is: Who is furthering the agenda of THE NEW WORLD ORDER!!! And that one is Obama, with the GLOBAL ELITES BEHIND him pushing for a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT, putting flouride into the tap water to cause cancer, and GMO into food to cause cancer. It is about global extermination, and to create an elite race. WAKE UP PEOPLE TO THE REAL AGENDA OF THESE SINISTER PEOPLE!

by: Dave Dilegge from: Largo, Florida
September 24, 2012 7:20 PM
Is VOA, a US tax payer funded entity, now hawking for the Obama campaign? Polls are imperfect at best. Moreover, VOA should stick to reporting on foreign affairs and the US involvement and positions in such. I find these type of articles offensive in that they convey a US political position / favoritism from a a source that by mandate (I would think) is politically neutral.
In Response

by: James from: Broadwater, NE
September 25, 2012 11:37 AM
For Dave D from Largo: Yes, VOA is a taxpayer funded organisation. It exists to provide news and official information primarily to those in other nations (that is, those who do not vote in US elections).

While organisations such as the BBC and other nations' services are covering our elections, they cannot begin to cover them in the depth that VOA can. (VOA is here, they are not.)

It is hardly a shill for President Obama. VOA reports what is news, and swing-state politics is news. There are plenty of articles on VOA which speak favourably of Mr. Romney's poll numbers as well.

VOA actually provides a fairly balanced view of the political spectrum, unlike most of our commercial networks.

And no, I am not a shill either for VOA or the President. I'm just a fellow out in a tiny village in Nebraska (originally from Michigan myself). For me politics consists of attending village board meetings and fighting to keep our Post Office.

by: Kevin from: Michigan
September 24, 2012 2:31 PM
This is an open comment to Zachary...Hi,you're about to waste your first vote.Romney doesn't give a sh!t about farmers,or college kids.None of his policies are viable,his entire campaign has been bought and paid for by elitist oligarchs...The entire repugnican party has been taken over by teahadist fascists...You need to reconsider not just your vote...but quite likely Everything in your life...I don't want to falsely impugn you here, but most guys your age are democrats...unless they just can't handle the whole 'black' president thing...Quick fact,that whole racial angle? That's stupid...So ,like I said...you probably wanna reconsider supporting a guy who would just as soon wipe his arse with your family farm,cause that's the only kind of shit he'll give about you.

by: Patrick Malama from: Mzuzu Malawi
September 24, 2012 1:20 PM
In Response

by: Bonecrusher
September 25, 2012 1:00 PM
Funny how blind these auto industry people are to see that clinton crushed them by signing nafta and moving all the jobs to mexico.

rah rah democrats u will save us all with more taxpayer money!

The guys who can't understand what true hard work and risk taking are in order to become wealthy because all they've ever done is collect a paycheck are a real trip too. Keep punching that clock and depending on someone to pay you. $20mil a year is right around the corner.
In Response

September 25, 2012 7:53 AM
You are very right
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 24, 2012 3:16 PM
Funny that kid thinks Romney works hard. No one works well enough to earn $20 million a year without working...

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