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.

This forum has been closed.
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...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs