Thursday, October 02, 2008

McCain campaign pulling out of Michigan

I found this story through Americablog, with the original source story from The

John McCain is pulling out of Michigan, according to two Republicans, a stunning move a month away from Election Day that indicates the difficulty Republicans are having in finding blue states to put in play.

McCain will go off TV in Michigan, stop dropping mail there and send most of his staff to more competitive states, including Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. Wisconsin went for Kerry in 2004, Ohio and Florida for Bush.

McCain's campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Republicans had been bullish on Michigan, hopeful that McCain's past success in the state in the 2000 primary combined with voter dissatisfaction with Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and skepticism among blue-collar voters about Barack Obama could make it competitive.

McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin spent the night after the GOP convention at a large rally in Macomb County, just outside Detroit. The two returned later last month for another sizable event in Grand Rapids.

But recent polls there have shown Obama extending what had been a small lead, with the economic crisis damaging an already sagging GOP brand in a state whose economy is in tatters.

A McCain event planned for next week in Plymouth, Michiigan, has been canceled.

Michigan is a toss-up state, with 17 electoral votes. However, is reporting that Barack Obama is leading John McCain by 10 points, 51 percent to 41 percent. Public Policy Polling is reporting the same 10-point lead by Obama over McCain. Real Clear Politics is reporting that Obama is up between 7-13 points in Michigan, depending upon several different poll results.

I haven't really wanted to comment on polling results because I wasn't sure about the accuracy of this polling data. I'm not saying that the polling firms are adjusting their data to fit their own pre-conceived notions (perhaps some firms are), but rather that the American public may be saying one thing to the pollsters, while deciding to vote the opposite way on Election Day. So I'm not sure I can trust the polls' 5-10 point Obama lead over McCain, especially with the 3-4 point margin of error. So I'm watching the poll numbers with a quiet interest.

But this is a big story here. Michigan was one of the battleground states which both Obama and McCain have been fighting over. In order to win, McCain needed the Midwestern states of Michigan, Ohio, and perhaps even Wisconsin. McCain also needs Pennsylvania and Florida. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are leaning towards Obama, and the polls are showing Michigan turning completely to Obama. According to MSNBC News, the McCain campaign was spending $1 million a week in advertising in Michigan, even as McCain was sliding down in the Michigan polls. The McCain campaign also did not purchase commercial airtime in Michigan for next week, although the campaign did purchase airtime for every other state. Also according to the MSNBC story, resources will be sent "to Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and other competitive states." The McCain campaign has spent millions of dollars in advertising--especially the negative TV advertising attacking Barack Obama--in Michigan, only to see Obama's lead increase over McCain. John McCain has been sinking precious campaign resources down a Michigan black hole. No wonder he is shifting those resources into Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida.

But John McCain still has a huge problem. If Michigan voters are trending over to Barack Obama, with only five weeks left before the election, could they also be trending over to Obama in the other toss-up states? For the past three weeks, we have seen a lot of economic turmoil and jitters, with the stock market gravitating wildly--the Dow has dropped 348 points today. There is still a lot of worry over Congress' $700-plus billion bailout package for Wall Street, which has passed the Senate yesterday, and is now going back to the House with an added $150 billion bribe. Couple this with the Republican control of the White House, and with only a quarter of the country supporting President Bush, John McCain is in an almost impossible position to win the White House. And finally, let us not forget that Democrat Barack Obama has run a nearly flawless campaign, even as the McCain campaign has been throwing every negative, kitchen-sink, attack advertising against Obama. This is just a huge example of how badly the McCain campaign is imploding.

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