September 6, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has surged to become the clear GOP front-runner in Michigan, his native state, a new poll shows.
Romney's margin was so huge that some questioned the results.
Charlie Cook, who runs the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan, Washington, D.C.-based newsletter analyzing elections and campaigns, said it appears too high to be true. But, he added, the ARG result, along with other polls, give him little reason to doubt that Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, "is the front-runner at this point in Michigan."
"The trend is really clear," said Mark Blumenthal, editor of Pollster.com, a nonpartisan Web site that aggregates and charts polling data. He, too, questioned the strength of ARG's result, but said it's easy to see Romney's support is growing in the state. Other polls, including one conducted in January for the Free Press and WDIV-TV Local 4 television, had shown Giuliani with a clear lead in Michigan.
Though Romney has shown strength in Iowa and New Hampshire, home to the first GOP political contests, he has lagged in national numbers -- though his trend line on Pollster has clearly been up.
ARG also questioned voters likely to participate in Michigan's Democratic primary, but that poll showed little change from earlier surveys. New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had 43% (up from 38% in May), Illinois Sen. Barack Obama had 21% (down from 25%) and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards had 14% (unchanged since May).
Romney, whose father, George Romney, was Michigan's governor in the 1960s, grew up in Bloomfield Hills and has raised far more money in the state than other candidates. His wife, Ann, was expected in southeastern Michigan on Friday for two fund-raisers.
"It makes sense. You'd expect him to do well in Michigan based on residual name recognition for his father," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.
But, he added, Romney's move in the polls show a campaign that "has come the farthest in the shortest amount of time."
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