Michigan’s Republican Presidential Primary today could end up solidifying John McCain’s claim to be the Republican frontrunner or it could keep Mitt Romney’s campaign alive. Either way, it will help set the stage for Saturday when South Carolina hosts the first Election 2008 voting below the Mason-Dixon line.
Polling shows that the Michigan race will be determined primarily by turnout—a large share of Independent voters will mean good news for McCain while a smaller turnout from Independents might give Romney the victory he so desperately needs. Romney has tried to set expectations in an easier-to-achieve light by saying he will consider it a victory if he takes the most votes from among the Republicans who participate.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the race found Romney with 26% of the vote, McCain with 25%, and Mike Huckabee with 17%. The survey was conducted last Wednesday night, immediately following the New Hampshire Primary. Several polls conducted since then have shed no light on the outcome. A few show McCain ahead while others show Romney on top. All show Mike Huckabee in third place and all show McCain leading among Independents likely to participate.
The Rasmussen Reports poll also found Fred Thompson with 9% support, Ron Paul with 8%, and Rudy Giuliani with 6%. Thompson is focusing on South Carolina’s Primary where he has gained ground over the past week. That primary is scheduled for Saturday. Giuliani is counting on a strong showing in Florida to launch his campaign. Polling released yesterday showed a four-way tie for the lead in Florida.
Nationally, McCain and Huckabee are pulling away from the rest of the field in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.
Rasmussen Markets data also suggests that the Michigan race is too close to call but leans slightly in McCain’s direction. As of 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, the markets showed McCain with a 55% chance of winning and placed Romney’s prospects just under 45%. These figures are updated continuously throughout the day (current pricing: McCain 56.0% Romney 45.0%). Numbers in this paragraph are from a prediction market, not a poll. Using a trading format where players "buy and sell" candidates, issues, and news futures, RasmussenMarkets.com harnesses competitive passions to become a reliable leading indicator of upcoming events. Prospects for other candidates and other races are featured on the Rasmussen Markets Summary page. We invite you to participate in the Rasmussen Markets. It costs nothing to join and add your voice to the collective wisdom of the market.
The markets show that McCain was heavily favored a week ago but Romney’s prospects have improved somewhat in recent days.
In Michigan, Romney is viewed favorably by 71% of Likely Primary Voters. Sixty-nine percent (69%) have a favorable opinion of McCain. For Giuilani 64% offer a positive assessment, Huckabee gets good reviews from 59%, Thompson from 57%, and Paul from 33%.
McCain is seen as the most electable candidate. Seventy-two percent (72%) say he would be somewhat or very likely to win the White House if nominated. That figure includes 30% who consider McCain Very Likely to win if nominated.
Romney is close on the electability front—67% think he would be at least somewhat likely to win including 25% who rate his prospects as Very Likely.
Electability used to be the strongest suit for Giuliani among Republican Primary voters. However, in Michigan, just 49% think he would be even Somewhat Likely to win if nominated.
Forty-six percent (46%) say Huckabee would be at least somewhat likely to win in November, 33% say the same about Thompson, and 17% believe Paul would have a chance. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/michigan/election_2008_michigan_republican_primary