2/22: Romney and Santorum Neck and Neck in Michigan

February 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Election 2012, Featured, NBC News/Marist Poll

In the race for the Republican nomination in Michigan, Mitt Romney — 37% — and Rick Santorum — 35% — are in a tight battle among likely Republican primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted absentee in the state.

map of michigan

©istockphoto.com/Keith Binns

Click Here for Complete February 22, 2012 Michigan NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete February 22, 2012 Michigan NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

Here is how the contest stands among likely Republican primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted absentee in Michigan:

  • 37% for Mitt Romney
  • 35% for Rick Santorum
  • 13% for Ron Paul
  • 8% for Newt Gingrich
  • 2% uncommitted
  • 1% other
  • 4% are undecided

“Santorum’s appeal is on social issues, and he is seen as the true conservative,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Romney’s strong suit is electability, and most voters think he will be the nominee.”

Key points:

  • Among those who already voted absentee in Michigan, Romney leads Santorum, 49% to 26%.
  • Romney — 42% — is ahead of Santorum — 34% — among likely voters who are Republican, but the contest is competitive among those who are independents.  Among these voters, 34% support Romney while the same proportion — 34% — is for Santorum.  There are too few Democrats for analysis purposes.
  • Among those who are Tea Party supporters, Santorum leads 48% to 29% for Romney.  However, Romney — 45% — is ahead of Santorum — 24% — among those who are not Tea Party supporters.
  • Santorum – 59% — outpaces Romney — 20% — among likely Republican primary voters in Michigan who are very conservative.
  • Santorum receives nearly half — 48% — of Evangelical Christians.  Among this group, Romney has 27%.
  • Looking at income, both Santorum and Romney receive the support of 36% of likely Republican primary voters who earn less than $75,000 annually.  However, Romney has a slight edge among those who earn $75,000 or more.  He garners 41% to 36% for Santorum.

Table: 2012 Michigan Republican Presidential Primary (MI Likely Voters with Leaners and Absentees)

More Than Six in Ten Strongly Committed to Choice of Candidate in Michigan

61% of likely Republican primary voters in Michigan say they are firmly committed to their choice of candidate.  26% are somewhat behind their pick while 12% might vote differently.  One percent is unsure.

Key points:

  • 61% of Santorum’s backers are firmly committed to their candidate.  This compares with 59% of those who are for Romney.

Table: Intensity of Support (MI Likely Voters)

Second Best

25% of Michigan’s likely Republican primary voters report Santorum is their fallback candidate while 24% say the same about Gingrich.  Romney is the second choice of 22% while 17% say Paul is their reserve candidate.  12% are undecided.

If Gingrich were to drop his bid for the nomination, Romney — 41% — and Santorum — 39% — would still face a fierce competition in Michigan.  When asked who their second choice candidate is, 44% of Gingrich’s supporters select Santorum while 31% choose Romney.

Table: Second Choice for the Republican Presidential Primary (MI Likely Voters)

Table: 2012 Michigan Republican Presidential Primary without Gingrich (MI Likely Voters with Leaners and Absentees)

Nearly Six in Ten Expect Romney to Win Nomination

59% of likely Republican primary voters in Michigan believe Romney will secure the GOP nomination.  21% report Santorum will be victorious while 4% have this view of Gingrich.  Just 3% think Paul will win the Republican nomination while 1% says none of the candidates will be chosen.  12% are undecided.

Key points:

  • 87% of Romney’s supporters, 57% of Paul’s backers, and 45% of those who are behind Gingrich believe Romney will be the eventual Republican nominee.  However, a plurality of Santorum’s supporters — 44% — expect their candidate to clinch the nomination.

Table: Regardless of Support, Candidate Expected to Win Republican Nomination (MI Likely Voters)

Little Consensus About Key Candidate Quality

When it comes to what likely Republican primary voters are looking for in a candidate, 29% want someone who shares their values.  27% think it’s most important for a candidate to be close to them on the issues while 26% put electability at the top of their list.  The experience to govern is the key quality for 14% of likely Republican primary voters in Michigan, and 4% are unsure.

Key points:

  • Santorum — 48% — leads Romney — 25% — among those who want a candidate who shares their values.
  • Romney — 37% — is ahead of Santorum — 28% — among likely Republican primary voters who want a candidate who has the same positions on the issues.
  • Romney — 44% — also has the advantage among those who think electability is the most important quality.  Among these likely Republican primary voters, Santorum receives the support of 35%.
  • Among those who want a candidate with experience, Romney receives 54% to 24% for Santorum.

Table: Most Important Quality in a Republican Presidential Candidate (MI Likely Voters)

Electability Outweighs Conservatism

Do likely Republican primary voters in Michigan want a nominee who is a true conservative or one who has the best chance to defeat President Obama?  52% emphasize electability while 39% prefer a true conservative.  Nine percent are unsure.

Who is the true conservative in the race?  40% give Santorum that title compared with 16% for Paul, 16% for Romney, and 11% for Gingrich.  Five percent report none of the candidates are a true conservative, and 11% are undecided.

Santorum is also thought by 34% of likely Republican primary voters in Michigan as the candidate who best represents their views on social issues.  21% have this impression of Romney followed by Paul and Gingrich with 14% and 8%, respectively.  Seven percent think none of the candidates is an adequate reflection of their views, and 16% are undecided.

When it comes to electability, 51% perceive Romney to be the candidate who has the best electoral chances.  24% have this view of Santorum while 8% and 4%, respectively, say Gingrich and Paul are the most capable of defeating the president in the fall.  Four percent don’t think any of the candidates have this ability, and 9% are undecided.

Table: Which is More Important, a Candidate Who is a True Conservative or One Who Can Beat President Obama? (MI Likely Voters)

Table: Candidate Considered True Conservative (MI Likely Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Best Represents Views on Social Issues (MI Likely Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Can Beat President Barack Obama (MI Likely Voters)

Romney’s Roots Have Little Impact…Half Think Auto Bailout Bad Idea

Although Romney was born and raised in Michigan, just 10% of likely Republican primary voters in the state report Romney’s birthplace makes them more likely to vote for him while 2% say it makes them less likely to support him.  In fact, 88% say it makes no difference to their vote.

When it comes to the auto bailout, 50% of likely Republican primary voters in Michigan think it was a bad idea while 42% say it was a good one.  Eight percent are unsure.

Table: Impact of Romney’s Michigan Roots (MI Likely Voters)

Table: Views of the Auto Bailout (MI Likely Voters)

Debates Matter

Likely Republican primary voters in Michigan have been paying attention to the candidates’ debate performances.  57% say the debates have affected their vote to, at least, some extent while 43% report the debates have had little influence or no impact at all on their vote.

Table: To What Extent Have the Debates Helped in Deciding Your Vote? (MI Likely Voters)

Nearly Identical Acceptability for Santorum and Romney

54% of likely Republican primary voters in Michigan believe Santorum is an acceptable choice for the Republican nomination.  27% think he is acceptable but with reservations, and 14% report he is an unacceptable pick.  Four percent are unsure.

Looking at Romney’s acceptability, 53% say he is a good fit for the nomination while 30% agree but with hesitation.  15% think he is wrong for the role, and 2% are unsure.

Gingrich is viewed as less acceptable.  Just 29% believe Gingrich fits the bill while 30% think he is acceptable, but they have concerns.  38% think he is not an acceptable choice for the GOP nomination, and 3% are unsure.

Paul is the least acceptable candidate.  Only 28% say Paul is a satisfactory choice.  26% agree but are hesitant while 42% think Paul is not an acceptable selection.  Four percent are unsure.

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Santorum (MI Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Romney (MI Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Gingrich (MI Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Paul (MI Likely Voters)

Majority Satisfied with Field of Candidates

55% of likely Republican primary voters in Michigan are satisfied with the current field of candidates while 41% would like to see someone else run.  Four percent are unsure.

Table: Satisfaction with Field of GOP Candidates (MI Likely Voters)

56% Believe Mormons are Christians

Do likely Republican primary voters in Michigan believe a Mormon is a Christian?  56% do while 44% do not or are unsure.

Key points:

  • Among likely Republican primary voters who say a Mormon is a Christian, Romney leads Santorum, 45% to 28%.  Among those who report a Mormon is not a Christian or are unsure, Santorum — 44% — has the advantage over Romney — 26%.

Table: Are Mormons Christian? (MI Likely Voters)

Obama Outpaces Potential Challengers in General Election Matchups

Looking ahead to November’s general election, President Obama leads his closest competitor, Mitt Romney, by 18 percentage points among Michigan’s registered voters.

Here is how these hypothetical contests shape up among Michigan’s registered voters:

  • 51% of registered voters back Obama while 33% are for Romney.  15% are undecided.
  • President Obama — 53% — leads Paul — 31% — by 22 percentage points.  16% are undecided.
  • Against Santorum, Obama receives 55% to 29% for Santorum.  16% are undecided.
  • In a contest with Gingrich, the president has the support of 56% to 28% for Gingrich.  16% are undecided.

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Romney (MI Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Paul (MI Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Santorum (MI Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Gingrich (MI Registered Voters)

“Michigan voters think the auto industry bailout was a good idea, and many credit President Obama for its recovery,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Add to that their positive outlook on the economy, it’s not surprising that President Obama is doing so well in Michigan.”

Obama Given Credit for Auto Industry Recovery…Job Approval Rating at 51%

The U.S. auto industry is showing signs of improvement, but do registered voters in Michigan attribute that recovery to President Obama?  58% believe he deserves either a great deal or a good amount of credit for the turnaround.  Included here are 24% who report he should receive a great deal of the kudos and 34% who think he deserves a good amount of the credit.  However, 37% say the president should receive little or no credit for the recovery.  This includes 22% who believe the president deserves little recognition and 15% who report he should receive none at all.  Four percent are unsure.

Key points:

  • Among Democrats in Michigan, most — 87% — give Obama at least some of the credit for the auto industry’s recovery while just 23% of Republicans share this view.  Among independent voters, a majority — 53% — say the president deserves at least a good amount of recognition.

When it comes to the bailout of the industry, 63% of Michigan’s registered voters believe it was a good idea, including 61% of independents.  28% believe the bailout was a bad idea.  Nine percent are unsure.

Looking at President Obama’s job approval rating, 51% of registered voters in Michigan approve of the job he is doing in office while 38% do not, and 11% are unsure.

Table: Amount of Credit President Obama Should Receive for Auto Recovery (MI Registered Voters)

Table: Views of the Auto Bailout (MI Registered Voters)

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in Michigan (MI Registered Voters)

Majority Optimistic About Future of the U.S. Economy

55% of Michigan’s registered voters believe the worst of the nation’s economic conditions are over while 37% think there is more bad economic news ahead.  Eight percent are unsure.

Table: U.S. Economy — Will It Get Worse? (MI Registered Voters)

Stabenow Leads Hoekstra in Hypothetical Senate Race

If former U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra becomes the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, how would he fare against Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow?  In this hypothetical contest, 53% back Stabenow while 32% are for Hoekstra.  15% are undecided.

Table: 2012 Hypothetical U.S. Senate Tossup in Michigan: Hoekstra/Stabenow (MI Registered Voters)

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

Comments

One Response to “2/22: Romney and Santorum Neck and Neck in Michigan”

  1. Poll Watch: NBC/Marist Michigan Primary | Race 4 2012 on February 22nd, 2012 9:50 am

    [...] Poll Watch: NBC/Marist Michigan Primary NBC News/Marist Michigan Primary Survey [...]

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