Independent voters are predominantly responsible for the Wolverine State’s swing toward Obama. Romney led by 10 among independents in July, but Obama has grabbed a 6-point lead with the group in the August survey.
Mitchell Research Chairman Steve Mitchell said Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hasn’t had any impact on the race in Michigan.
“Just two days after being named to the ticket as Romney’s vice presidential pick, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan doesn’t seem to have had any impact on the race,” he wrote. “When his name and Vice President Joe Biden’s name are added to the trial ballot question, it remains exactly the same, 49 to 44. Two days is too short of a time period to determine what the impact of Ryan’s candidacy will mean to the ticket.”
Obama once had a commanding lead over Romney in Michigan, up by double digits as recently as mid-May, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls. The race tightened after Romney became the presumptive Republican nominee, but Obama has since pulled away, leading by 7.7, according to the RCP average.
Romney’s father, George Romney, was once governor of Michigan, and Romney spent his childhood there. Still, many didn’t believe the former Massachusetts governor would devote significant resources to a state that until recently looked to be out of reach.
Michigan has swung reliably Democratic in recent years.
Obama won it by 16 points in 2008, and Romney barely won the state’s Republican primary earlier this year. Romney edged Rick Santorum by 3 percent in the primary, but effectively split the delegate count with him; at the time, many called it a blown opportunity for the former Pennsylvania senator, who got wrapped up in controversial social issues just prior to the primary.
Michigan is one of 12 swing states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the 2012 election.
The poll of 1,079 likely voters was conducted on Aug. 13 and has a 3 percent margin of error.