While the political world fixates on Ohio, could the Buckeye State's northern rival exert its own influence over the presidential election's outcome? Fox 2 News Detroit publishes the results of a new statewide survey of likely voters that suggests the contest is deadlocked in Michigan:
The 2012 United States Presidential election will be held on November 6, 2012. Who are you most likely to vote for in the election?
President Barack Obama 46.92%
Republican Nominee Mitt Romney 46.56%
Another candidate 2.30%
Get a load of this methodological detail: "Thirty five thousand (35,000) calls were placed, and 1,122 respondents fully participated in the survey. The margin of error for this total polling sample is 2.93% with a confidence level of 95%." It took thirty-five thousand calls to reap 1,200 respondents. We saw Pew's data earlier in the cycle that the response rate they were banging their heads against was around nine percent. Are Americans less likely than ever to answer polls? And if so, how might that trajectory impact the results of those polls? That's one for the statisticians and historians to work through. In the meantime, one of the state's major newspapers has bestowed its editorial blessing upon Mitt Romney. From the conservative-leaning Detroit News:
Obama has proved himself a disciple of the doctrine that for every problem there's a government solution. Romney, by contrast, embraces individual initiative and entrepreneurship. He would turn back the encroachment of the bureaucracy into the private sector. Romney would replace the heavy hand of government with the invisible hand of a rational marketplace working to produce broad prosperity. While both poverty and dependency have increased on Obama's watch, Romney promises to replace government checks with private sector jobs and reverse the decline in middle class incomes.
It is heavy lifting, but we favor the candidate who is committed to it. Romney's goal is to help all Americans live independent and productive lives, free to rise to the extent of their personal capabilities. He would not shield them from risk or the consequences of their decisions, but neither would he deny them their earned rewards. Our hope is that Mitt Romney would restore faith in the core principles of free men and women, free minds and free markets that made America great, and will keep it so.
Michigan won't hog the spotlight for this entire post, however. Ohio remains extremely close -- three polls out yesterday showed a tight race: Rasmussen had an exact tie, a small Democratic firm showed a virtual tie (with the incumbent at just 46 percent), and CNN/Time gave Obama a five-point lead (with a nutty D+9 sample, and a totally unrealistic percentage of early voters; even Chuck Todd says no way). The sprint to the finish line is on.