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Michigan now in play


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Dec 29, 2008
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A new statewide poll shows a tight race between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, as well as growing enthusiasm among Republicans for their nominee.

Released Wednesday, the poll of 600 likely voters showed Obama leading Romney in Michigan, 44.2 percent to 40.5 percent, but Romney also within the sampling error of 4 percentage points — meaning it’s a tight race.

The poll was conducted by the Michigan polling firm Denno Research and commissioned by Grand Rapids-based Lambert, Edwards & Associates, which also has offices in Lansing. Dennis Denno, president of Denno Research, also is chief of staff to state Sen. Virgil Smith Jr., D-Detroit.

The poll shows Obama had gained a lead over Romney since Denno’s last state poll in June, when both candidates were tied at 40 percent. However, the most recent poll was conducted before last week’s vice presidential debate and Tuesday’s presidential debate. About 13.5 percent of voters were undecided.

The research also revealed a significant swelling of support among Republicans for Romney. In the latest survey, 44 percent of Republicans said they were very excited to vote for the Michigan native, compared to 16 percent in the June survey, before Romney was formally nominated by his party.

By contrast, 48 percent of Democrats reported being very excited to vote for Obama, up from 39 percent in June.

“What’s most important for Mitt Romney is that he’s strengthening his position within his own base,” Denno said in a news release. “With the race this close, turnout is crucial. If the election had been held four months ago, some of Romney’s supporters might have stayed home. That’s less likely now.”

In addition, the poll found that Romney had a 6 percent lead over Obama with independent voters — 36 percent to 30 percent — strengthening Romney’s chances of closing the gap.


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