The Campaign Spot

Checking in With Team Romney on Michigan Eve

I spoke to my Romney guy. They’re not making any predictions, but they feel pretty good about tomorrow.

Perhaps the most interesting nugget was the revelation that Team Romney has the potential for a significant margin among those who vote by absentee ballot.

“We were up on TV by ourselves when we worked absentee voters — and those are usually older voters who already have fond memories of Governor [George] Romney. We may have gotten the perfect mix there.” He thinks they may have “banked a lot of votes” by absentee.

He paints the polls as putting his man up among Republicans, running about even among independents, but ”getting creamed” among Democrats who may cross over and vote in the GOP primary. I offered my argument that Democrats have enough to vote for, and/or may not have a Republican who they unify around, but this Romney guy expects that up to half the crossover Democrats will vote for McCain. He doesn’t expect the crossover vote to come from Detroit-area folks wanting to vote for Obama, and being disappointed to find he’s not on the ballot; he expects it to come from a more sophisticated, mischief-minded Democrats in places like Ann Arbor.
He also notes the Steve Mitchell tracking poll, which has gone from McCain up 6 to Romney up 2.
He expects that under most scenarios, all of the Michigan delegates will be seated at the convention. “Putting aside the scenario of a brokered convention, everybody gets seated… The nominee will say, ‘make this go away, we’ll find another way to punish these guys.’ He thinks if the Democratic National Committee refused to seat the state’s delegates, it could affect the November general election at the margins – maybe one percent’s worth of angry Democrats staying home.

However, he’s convinced that the early primary has paid off for the Wolverine State — “it’s undisputably true it worked, and it does matter how early in the process you are. How many articles have been written about the Michigan economy in the past month in the national press? Probably more than in the past five years. Having an early primary shines a bright spotlight on your state, the issues you face, and your problems. I mean, we have ethanol subsidies for a reason – it’s Iowa. Michigan barging to the front of the line [of primaries] may pay off for the manufacturing industry. Now, of course, you’re going to see Silicon Valley saying, ‘hey, wait, what about us? The tech sector deserves attention!’”

He notes that local coverage has been almost horse-race free, and thus stories begin, “Mitt Romney said at the Detroit Economic Club,” instead of “Mitt Romney, facing a do-or-die fight for his political future, said at the Detroit Economic Club…”

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