Romney ahead in Michigan poll
'Undecided' a close 2nd for GOP primary; Dems lead slightly in state House races
Paul Egan/ Detroit News Lansing Bureau
Lansing — Support in Michigan for native son Mitt Romney is far ahead of the backing for any other GOP presidential hopefuls, according to a new statewide poll.
The poll was taken after Romney's June 9 visit to Detroit and the June 13 GOP debate in which he made clear his opposition to the federal bailouts of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, which many credit with saving the automakers and their suppliers.
In the poll of 600 likely voters, 28.7 percent said they would vote for Romney in an open Michigan primary.
Of the five other names offered to voters, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was second with 5.8 percent support, Michele Bachmann was third at 4.5 percent, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was fourth at 2.8 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was fifth at 1.8 percent.
U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Livonia, whose name was offered in the poll after he said in May he is mulling a presidential bid, polled last at 1.7 percent.
Another 26 percent were undecided, 18 percent said they wouldn't vote in the primary, and 8 percent said they didn't like any names mentioned.
Attorney General Bill Schuette, Romney's statewide chairman in Michigan, said he's "very pleased" by the numbers, but it's early and "the most important poll is the one in 2012."
The poll was commissioned by the bipartisan Lansing public relations firm Lambert, Edwards & Associates and The Perricone Group and conducted June 16-17 by Denno Research. Chuck Perricone is a former GOP House Speaker. Dennis Denno is a former Democratic communications expert.
In other findings:
Gov. Rick Snyder got high approval from 28 percent; medium approval from 31 percent; and low approval from 30 percent.
President Barack Obama got high approval from 38 percent; medium approval from 27 percent; and low approval from 33 percent.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow got high approval from 34 percent; medium approval from 28 percent; and low approval from 22 percent.
For the state House elections in 2012, 32 percent said they would vote Democratic, 29 percent said they would vote Republican, and 37 percent were undecided.
Perricone said the only surprise in the numbers is Snyder polled as well as he did, considering all the negative publicity surrounding the recent budget and emergency manager law.
It's too early to read much into Romney's huge lead, Perricone said.
"Romney coming in first with 'don't know' coming in a close second is what you would expect at this early date," he said.
A call to McCotter's office was not returned.
Of those polled, 43 percent described themselves as Democrats, 36 percent as Republicans, and 18 percent as independents.
It's difficult to directly compare Snyder's approval ratings in the new poll because unlike earlier polls, it asked respondents to rate the governor on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest rating.
In Michigan State University's State of the State survey in April, 44.5 percent of respondents gave Snyder an excellent or good rating and 56 percent rated him fair or poor. In a March survey by Public Policy Polling, 33 percent said they approved of Snyder's job performance and 50 percent said they disapproved.
Though he has higher negatives, Obama enjoys stronger support among Democrats in Michigan than Stabenow, according to the poll.
Cullen Schwarz, a spokesman for Stabenow, said she is not focused on the next election but on creating jobs and better opportunities for Michigan families.
"It's tough to put much stock in a poll on an election still a year and a half away, especially when no one knows who the candidates will be," he said.