All Tied Up In Michigan

With the final debate before the election just hours away, the latest NBC News/Marist poll shows that the race in the Wolverine State is essentially a statistical tie:

Less than a week before Tuesday’s crucial Republican presidential primary in Michigan, a new NBC News/Marist poll shows Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum locked in a statistical tie, while a separate NBC/Marist survey shows Romney comfortably leading in Arizona, which holds its primary the same day.

In Michigan – which has turned into a make-or-break contest for Romney – the former Massachusetts governor gets the support of 37 percent of likely GOP primary voters, including those who are leaning toward a particular candidate.

Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, gets 35 percent, and he’s followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 13 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 8 percent.

“Michigan is neck and neck,” says pollster Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted both surveys.


In Michigan, Santorum leads Romney among self-identified Tea Party supporters, 48 to 29 percent, and those who describe themselves as “very conservative,” 59 to 20 percent.

And among those who have already voted absentee in Michigan – 16 percent of likely GOP voters – Romney leads Santorum, 49 to 26 percent.

This is all consistent with several polls we’ve seen since late last week, all of which suggest that Sanoturm’s initial massive jump in the polls last week may have been an anomaly, and that the more voters learn about Rick Santorum, the less they like him:

Much will depend on tonight’s debate, of course, but at this point it’s looking like Michigan will end up being close regardless of who ends up winning, meaning that it’s not going to mean the end of anything, and we’ll be heading into Super Tuesday (which Santorum has an advantage in the Southern states) with this race still in chaos.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Rob in CT says:

    Perhaps we have reached peak Santorum.

    When does Paul get his boom? Does he get one? Why not? Everyone else has…

  2. Fiona says:

    The more Santorum hits on his radical conservative cultural talking points, the more it becomes clear just how far from the mainstream he is, even for Republicans.

    Not sure what put him over the edge–his 2008 claim that Satan has taken over our nation’s universities, his war on birth control, or his view that prenatal testing is a bad thing.

    Oh Rick–please go back to the Middle Ages where you belong.

  3. Gustopher says:

    @Rob in CT: Ron Paul had his moment in the sun, with his racist newsletters. Pay attention, if you blink, you miss a Republican front runner.

  4. Gustopher says:

    @Fiona: I really don’t think Santorum is outside the mainstream for Republicans, he just isn’t running a stealth campaign of feigned moderation.

  5. merl says:

    fiona’s right he’s the only one who comes right out and says all of the crazy things that rightwingers believe.