Poll: Stabenow's lead shrinks in Michigan

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) has a 48 percent to 42 percent edge over former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) in the latest survey of Michigan's Senate race, conducted by EPIC-MRA, a Michigan-based pollster.

This is a slighty narrower lead than the 47-38 percent advantage she held over Hoekstra in a poll one month ago. Stabenow's lead widens to a 51-31 percent advantage over the other main Republican in the race, former Detroit charter schools founder Clark Durant, who is not nearly as well-known in the state.

Hoekstra has the upper hand over Durant in the primary. But some hard-line conservatives are unhappy about his support of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which they see as a Wall Street bailout, as well as some other votes out of line with conservative orthodoxy. Last week, Tea Party groups in the state decided to have a convention to unify behind one candidate. If they pick Durant, that could help boost his candidacy.

Stabenow would benefit from a competitive primary. But one thing that could hurt her is if Mitt Romney, who has deep ties to Michigan since father George was governor of the state, is the Republican nominee. In a separate portion of the poll released over the weekend, Romney held a 46-41 percent advantage over President Obama in the Wolverine State.

The poll of 600 likely voters was conducted from Nov. 13-16, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

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