Michigan may be the most difficult of the three for Romney because of his opposition to Obama’s bailout of the automobile industry. The bailout has proven to be an obstacle to Romney in Ohio and could be an even bigger factor in Michigan.
Mark Brewer, the Democratic Party chairman in Michigan, said that while Democrats have prepared for a potentially close election, “Michigan’s not in play . . . We didn’t expect the president to win by 17 points like he did in 2008. That was a once-in-a-lifetime election.”
Matt Frendewey, communications director for the Michigan Republican Party, said Democratic support is “very underwhelming” and that Republicans have the infrastructure in place to turn out their voters. He added, however, that local Republicans “would love a visit” by Romney.
Until four years ago, Michigan and Pennsylvania were considered true battlegrounds, even though Democrats had won them consistently. Obama changed that with big victories in both, which may be one reason Republicans have been reluctant to make a more serious play for them.
In the past three elections, Democratic nominees have gotten a higher percentage of the vote in those states than nationally. But if the national polls are showing a dead heat, as most of them do right now, it’s expected that such states as Pennsylvania, Michigan and even Minnesota will show relatively closer contests than four years ago.
That doesn’t mean the balance has shifted to Romney in those states, which is why Romney advisers stopped short of predicting victory. It only means that if the national numbers show the race essentially tied or with one candidate ahead by a point, these states aren’t going to show the president ahead by seven or eight or nine points. If Romney were to win a big victory in the popular vote, he could carry one or more of these states.