This is the first poll of the primary season to show a Republican candidate leading in Michigan, which will be a hotly contested state in 2012. The last poll by Survey USA in October showed Obama beating Romney by 11 points. Yesterday’s EPIC-MRA survey has Romney up by 5:
The poll released Sunday shows the Michigan-born ex-Massachusetts governor getting 46 percent compared to 41 percent for Obama. The difference is just beyond the poll’s 4 percent sampling error. Thirteen percent are undecided.
The poll showed Obama with an apparent lead over Newt Gingrich 45 percent to 40 percent, with 15 percent undecided. And it showed Obama leading Herman Cain 50 percent to 36 percent, with 14 percent undecided.
The president’s heavy campaigning in the state, which has been hit hard by the economic crisis, apparently hasn’t been helping his numbers. Obama won Michigan by 16 points against John McCain in 2008. It doesn’t hurt that Romney is from Michigan and his father served as governor there, but the unemployment rate under Obama has likely had the most impact on the polling numbers. Independent Michigan voters who helped usher Obama into office are frustrated that their situation hasn’t improved since 2008, and voters in key suburban districts of Detroit are open to alternatives.