Romney, Santorum in dead heat heading into Michigan primary



The latest poll shows Rick Santorum's lead over Mitt Romney has vanished as the Michigan Republican primary slated for this Tuesday gets closer.

On Tuesday, the Michigan Information and Research Service released a poll showing Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, leading former Pennsylvania Senator Santorum 32 percent to 30 percent among likely primary voters, a statistical tie. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 points. A week ago, a poll done for MIRS by Mitchell/Rosetta Stone showed Santorum with a nine-point lead.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich comes in third at 9 percent in the most recent poll, and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas finished fourth with 7 percent. Twenty-two percent of voters say they are undecided.

The poll underscores just how volatile and unpredictable the race for the Republican presidential nomination has been. Clinton Township senior Stephanie Jaczkowski, a member of College Republicans, said the messy process will help the GOP come general election time.

"I think the ups and downs of the primary season will be beneficial to the eventual nominee," Jaczkowski said.

She said the controversies that surround all the candidates will be "old news" come November.

Jaczkowski said the volatility may be because of Republican voters' high standards.

"(Republicans) are looking for someone who is well-versed enough to debate President Obama, and somebody who is willing to make tough decisions to balance the budget and shrink the debt," Jaczkowski said.

Romney has struggled to connect in his home state, once considered a lock for his campaign. His 2009 New York Times column against the bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler, titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," may be part of the reason for his struggles. Meanwhile, Santorum has won over Republican voters recently with his conservative social stances.

Trying to win back support, Romney made trips to Grand Rapids and Bloomfield Hills last week. In addition, the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future has spent more than $1.5 million on commercials in Michigan.

The Romney campaign, to combat sluggish poll numbers nationwide, has spent enough money over the past two months that the campaign would be out of money within 20 days, according to Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog for the New York Times.

 


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