A newly released poll finds Gov. Mitt Romney may have significantly closed the gap with President Obama in Michigan, trailing the president by only three points in a state Democrats have figured to be a virtual lock for the president.
It is critically important for Obama to hold Michigan, because losing it could diminish the significance of possibly taking Ohio, where Obama has practically been living for the past six months. Michigan has 16 electoral votes, just two fewer than Ohio. Obama advisers believe Obama cannot lose the election if he wins Ohio – but that’s no longer true if he loses Michigan.
According to the Epic-MRA poll of 600 likely voters, which was conducted for the Detroit Free Press in the three days following the Oct. 3 debate, Obama leads Romney by 48-45 percent, within poll’s four-point margin of error. Seven percent say they are undecided. Undecided voters often break for the challenger.
The poll is a striking reversal from last month, when Obama’s lead was 10 points, 47-37 percent.
Only 40 percent in the current poll said the nation is headed in the right direction, compared to 53 percent who say it’s on the wrong track.
What’s more, 56 percent of those polled give Obama a negative grade, rating his performance in office as either “just fair” or “poor.” Only 43 percent said Obama had done a “pretty good” or “excellent” job,” with just eleven percent offering the “excellent” assessment.
Fifty one percent of Michigan voters give Obama a favorable rating compared to 46 percent who rate him unfavorably. Romney has a 45 percent favorable rating, with 49 percent viewing him unfavorably.