Campaigns spend in Michigan as poll shows Romney within striking distance
Both campaigns and their super PAC allies have announced big ad buys in Michigan as a new poll shows Republican nominee Mitt Romney closing in on President Barack Obama.
A new poll conducted for the Detroit News and WDIV-TV, by Glengariff Group Inc., shows Romney down by less than three percentage points to Obama in Michigan, 47.7 percent to 45 percent. Earlier this month, the same polling firm found Obama up by nearly 7 percent.
The poll found Romney leading Obama on who would do a better job with the economy, 47.3 percent to 43.8 percent. Obama polled better on foreign policy and on who can relate to voters' values better.
Released Tuesday, the poll sampled 600 likely voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points.
The Obama campaign announced that day that it will be buying its first network TV ads in major markets across the state after the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future announced a $2 million Michigan ad buy. A conservative advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, announced a $1.5 million ad buy for the state Wednesday. AFP began running the ads Thursday and will continue through Tuesday.
Senior Obama strategist David Axelrod said the campaign's ad buy was made because the campaign has the money to do so, not because it is concerned the Romney campaign might flip the state to his side.
"We had a contingency fund set aside just for this purpose," Axelrod told the Detroit Free Press. "We're doing it because it's the prudent thing to do."
Axelrod questioned the validity Detroit News poll and told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough he's so confident Obama will win Michigan that he will shave his signature mustache if they lose it, Minnesota or Pennsylvania.
He pointed to a new EPIC/MRA poll also released Tuesday conducted for the Detroit Free Press and WXYZ-TV showing Obama up by 6 points in Michigan, with about half of the respondents saying the auto bailouts of 2009 were a "deciding factor."
The Obama campaign's new Michigan ad blasts Romney for his opposition to the bailouts.
"When the auto industry faced collapse, Mitt Romney turned his back," the announcer says in the ad, titled "What He Said." "President Obama took a stand for American jobs, and now Michigan's auto industry is back."
AFP's ads will mainly focus on broken promises from Obama's 2008 campaign and health care reform.
"President Obama's big government economic policies are driving up prices for food and fuel, increasing the national debt and killing jobs with a regulatory assault on small businesses," Scott Hagerstrom, state director for Americans for Prosperity-Michigan, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Romney campaign announced it has bought ad space on "Gas Pump TV," the closed circuit station that airs at some gas stations. The ads blame Obama for high gas prices.