President Obama, fresh off a Democratic National Convention in which the turnaround of Michigan's signature auto industry played a central role, heads into the final 2 months of the campaign with the state's voters solidly behind him.
A poll done by EPIC-MRA of Lansing for the Free Press, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) and other media partners showed Obama with a commanding 10-point lead over Michigan-born-and-raised Mitt Romney, whose chances in the state may have been seriously hurt by last week's Democratic convention in Charlotte.
Democrats made the 2009 rescue of General Motors and Chrysler -- and the jobs it saved nationwide -- a central theme of the convention, with autoworkers, UAW President Bob King and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm among the speakers.
"When the whole theme for the Democrats is Osama bin Laden is dead and GM is alive ... that's got to help in Michigan and Ohio and a couple other states as well," said EPIC-MRA pollster Bernie Porn.
In EPIC-MRA's last statewide poll, an automated survey taken Aug. 28 before Ann Romney spoke at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, laying out a case for her husband Mitt to be elected, Obama held a slim 49%-46% lead over Romney. In the new poll, conducted from Saturday through Tuesday, Obama led Romney 47% -37%.
EPIC-MRA surveyed 600 likely November voters for the poll which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Obama leads among the key bloc of independent voters 36% to 27%, with 37% undecided -- perhaps giving Romney room to improve. But in past EPIC-MRA polls, Romney led among independents, suggesting they may be having second thoughts.
Obama also led among both men (42%-40%) and women (52%-36%) and there was also sharp break in voter motivation: While 76% of the president's supporters said they were voting for him as opposed to 21% who said they were voting against Romney, only 54% of Romney's supporters were voting specifically for him, while 43% who were voting against Obama.
Obama led in all three metro Detroit counties including Macomb (52%-43%), Oakland (53%-33%) and Wayne (56%-30%). Romney would almost certainly need a stronger showing in both Oakland and Macomb to win Michigan.
While 29% of Obama's supporters credited him for the job he's done on the economy as a major reason for their support, 51% of Romney's supporters said his plan for the economy was driving their support for him.
It wasn't enough for Lauri Schippert, 52, of Roseville, who lost her job as an administrative assistant last December when her employer closed the business. She still believes Obama provides a better plan for the future.
"Obama is the far better choice," she said "He's moving the country in the right direction and the economy has improved. My job search has gotten better in the last couple of months. I've had some interviews and I'm getting some good bites."
The poll results may help explain why conservative groups supporting Romney -- including Americans for Prosperity and American Crossroads -- moved to other swing states with a TV advertising campaign while Michigan was conspicuously absent from the list.
"The dynamics of the race are constantly changing in all of the battleground states," American Crossroads spokesman Nate Hodson said earlier this week. "Right now, that led us to dedicate resources elsewhere, but that doesn't eliminate Michigan."
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