(I thought this was interesting, so I posted it. I’ll let someone else decide to promote it)
To: Michigan Republicans
From: Chuck Yob
Date: June 3, 2008
RE: McCain Positioned to Win Michigan
CC: Jennifer Hallowell
McCain Positioned to Win Michigan
The Michigan Republican State Committee Meeting this weekend will give Michigan Republicans an excellent opportunity to evaluate the status of the General Election campaign and specifically our nominee for President.
Let’s face it. The national tide is against us and 2008 is shaping up to be a very challenging year for Republicans across the country. Bush-fatigue, a difficult economy, and other factors have combined to form a tough environment for our party.
But Michigan is shaping up to be a very bright spot for the McCain campaign and ultimately could be the state that holds the White House for Republicans and elects John McCain the next President of the United States. Michigan is one of the first states in the country where the McCain campaign invested advertising resources for the General Election and it is quickly turning into one of the top targeted states in the country.
Evans and Novak recently put together an Electoral College map that showed Senator McCain winning the presidency by a narrow margin and picked Michigan has the state most likely to swing from a blue state to a red state in 2008.
We have known since 2000 that Senator McCain has a unique appeal among some Democrats and most independent-minded swing voters who usually determine the outcome of competitive Michigan general elections.
Senator McCain’s natural strength in Michigan combined with Senator Obama’s likely victory over Senator Clinton for the Democrat nomination has moved Michigan toward the top of the campaign’s swing-state targeting. The three most recent publicly released polls for Michigan are:
Survey USA May 27 McCain 41% Obama 37%
Detroit News EPIC/MRA May 19-22 McCain 44% Obama 40%
Rasmussen May 11 McCain 45% Obama 44%
Every successful candidate must secure the base and Senator McCain has secured the support of former supporters of Mitt Romney, Governor Huckabee, and Rudy Giuliani in Michigan. The EPIC/MRA poll showed Senator McCain doing better among Republicans than Barack Obama does among Democrats:
Republicans McCain 79% Obama 11%
Democrats McCain 13% Obama 76%
This is the first time since 1988 that the likely Republican nominee for President has consecutively led the likely Democrat nominee for President at this stage of the campaign. The fact that Senator McCain performs so well in Michigan despite the difficulty in GOP branding this cycle is a testament to his unique appeal to Michigan voters.
Ronald Reagan appealed to Democrats in the 1980’s who were patriotic, pro-gun, often Catholic, and relatively conservative on most social issues. They were termed ‘Reagan Democrats’ and the home of the Reagan Democrats as studied by political scientists in the years since was Macomb County, Michigan. The blue-collar, working class voters in Macomb County have proven to be the swing-voter in Michigan General Elections for the last two decades. Senator McCain’s maverick image, post-partisanship, and war hero-status has an appeal to these voters that might be even stronger than they had for Reagan in the 1980’s. The Reagan Democrats became McCain Independents in 2000 and will once again be the dominant swing voting bloc in Michigan in 2008. This was clear in the EPIC/MRA crosstabs:
Statewide Independents McCain 42% Obama 28%
Statewide Ind Fav/Unfav McCain 53%/29% (+24) Obama 39%/44% (-5)
All Voters Macomb County McCain 51% Obama 35%
Statewide Catholics Voters McCain 54% Obama 30%
The Macomb County numbers compare to 53% for Granholm in 2006 and 49% for Kerry in 2004. Senator McCain will significantly outperform recent statewide Republican campaigns in Michigan with the help of tremendously popular Congresswoman Candice Miller. A recent poll by the same firm of her district in Macomb County showed McCain leading by an even larger 55-37 margin.
Although Senator McCain’s unique appeal to Michigan voters is the dominant variable in his current success in survey research, there are also several factors that are specific to the weakness of Barack Obama in Michigan. Obama faces significant problems related to the disenfranchisement of Michigan Democrats by Obama and the DNC, his weakness among working class voters, his opposition to the American auto industry, and disapproval of the incumbent Democrat Governor.
· Democrat Disenfranchisement – The DNC’s insistence on rejecting the votes of the Michigan Primary has dispirited the Democrat base in Michigan, and increased the problems they face among Democrat leaning swing voters who are already tentative about Barack Obama. Voters remember that he refused to campaign in Michigan, removed his name from the ballot, and fought to prevent the delegates from being seated at the national convention. This disenfranchisement has hurt the intensity of Democrats in Michigan.
· Weakness with Working Class Voters – Obama’s weakness with working class voters was shown in dramatic terms with his losses in West Virginia and Kentucky where he lost by over 30 points in each state. This followed contests in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana where he also struggled among similar voters. These voters are the traditional ‘Reagan Democrats’ who have a proven willingness to vote for a Republican candidate. Macomb County, Michigan is the original home of Reagan Democrats and has proven to be the swing county in recent Michigan statewide elections.
· Opposition to the American Auto Industry – Obama visited Michigan in May of 2007 to give a speech to the Detroit Economic Club to criticize the American auto industry. He then included his criticisms of Detroit automakers as part of his standard stump speech that he gave regularly across the country. Hundreds of thousands of Michigan workers receive their paycheck, or once received their paycheck, as a result of business generated by the American automotive industry. Although Senator McCain has been a long time leader on matters related to environmental protection and fuel standards, he has not condemned American automakers with the vitriol shown by Obama and has not offended the autoworkers who are the swing voters in Michigan.
· Governor’s Job Performance – Michigan has the worst economy in the country and Governor Jennifer Granholm is receiving a good portion of the blame for the economic challenges. A publicly released poll conducted earlier this year showed that 66% of Michigan voters disapprove of her job performance. The recent EPIC/MRA poll showed 65% gave her a Fair/Poor rating versus 31% who gave her Excellent/Good. Voters are taking notice that because of inadequate economic development efforts and bad tax policies Governor Granholm and many state Democrat legislators are largely responsible for the state’s economic struggles.
Senator McCain’s maverick image, post-partisanship, and patriotism give him strength among independent-minded voters historically referred to as Reagan Democrats. His strength combined with a number of problematic factors for Senator Obama give Senator McCain the best chance to win Michigan for the Republican Party since 1988. For these reasons, Michigan Republicans can be confident that voters will see Senator McCain often over the next several months and have an excellent opportunity to win Michigan’s 17 Electoral votes – making a dramatic impact on the national electoral map.
Other interesting results from Detroit News EPIC/MRA Survey from May 2008:
McCain leads 44-40
McCain leads 59-27 in Outer Wayne (Wayne County minus Detroit)
McCain leads 51-35 in Macomb County
McCain leads 53-34 in Grand Rapids media market
McCain leads 53-19 in Traverse City media market
McCain leads 59-26 in Southwest Michigan
McCain leads 42-28 among Independents’s
McCain leads 54-30 among Catholics