In Michigan, Romney Catching Up To Santorum

by Katrina Trinko

From Democratic firm Public Policy Polling:

The Republican race for President in Michigan has tightened considerably over the last week, with what was a 15 point lead for Rick Santorum down to 4. He leads with 37% to 33% for Mitt Romney, 15% for Ron Paul, and 10% for Newt Gingrich.

The tightening over the last week is much more a function of Romney gaining than Santorum falling. Santorum’s favorability spread of 67/23 has seen no change since our last poll, and his share of the vote has dropped only 2 points from 39% to 37%. Romney meanwhile has seen his net favorability improve 10 points from +10 (49/39) to +20 (55/35) and his vote share go from 24% to 33%.

The Romney campaign, however, is working to tamp down expectations. Senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said in a MSNBC interview that the campaign did not view Michigan as a “must-win” state, per The Hill.

But Donald Trump is being deployed to give a series of radio interviews touting Romney in the Great Lakes State, reports ABC, while the campaign is sending out e-mails criticizing Santorum for being a Washington insider and his voting record on earmarks and debt ceiling hikes, among other issues. No matter what expectations the campaign is trying to set, the fact remains that top Republicans are discussing how to get a new candidate to enter the race if Romney loses Michigan — something that puts intense pressure on him to pull off a win in the state he grew up in.