Fox News Projects: President Obama Wins Michigan
UPDATE, 9:00p ET: Fox News projects President Barack Obama will win the battleground state of Michigan. Check out the numbers:
Get the latest polls, political facts, figures, stories and commentary on the political contest in Michigan.
Current Standing Among Likely Voters:
Barack Obama: 47.7%
Mitt Romney: 44.7%
First Polls Open: 7:00a ET
Last Polls Close: 9:00p ET
2008 Election Results:
Obama - 2,872,579 votes - 57.43%
McCain - 2,048,639 votes - 40.96%
Other - 80,548 votes - 1.61%
Republicans haven't collected Michigan's electoral votes since George H.W. Bush won the state in 1988. Michigan has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992 – the last five elections.
More on Election 2012:
Democrats have held on to the state even when
Republicans won the White House in 2000 and 2004.
GOP groups tried to lay the groundwork for Romney to compete in Michigan, running ads earlier this year. But Romney aides decided against trying to put it in play, acknowledging that it would be difficult for him to win given his initial opposition to the automotive industry bailout.
Michigan, which took a severe hit during the economic crisis and the near-collapse of the U.S. auto industry, is leaning Democratic.
The Obama campaign feels confident it can keep Michigan in its corner, buoyed by public approval for the administration's $85 billion auto bailout of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC. Romney opposed the bailout, a fact the Obama campaign has pointed out as often as possible.
The government’s rescue of the auto industry, which Romney opposed, has been a central line of argument by the Obama campaign.
Romney’s has been haunted by the headline over his 2008 op-ed in the New York Times, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
Economically, after a dreadful decade, the state is tottering toward a better place. For four years, Michigan had the nation's highest unemployment rate, but early this year it dipped to just above the 8% national rate. Though the rate has since ticked up to 9.3%, polls show Michiganders expressing some optimism. In 2011, two years after two of three major automakers declared bankruptcy, all three were profitable for the first time since 2004.
Romney was born and raised in Michigan, where his father was a popular three-term governor.
Romney’s father, George Romney, was once the chief executive of American Motors and a three-term Michigan governor. He last won in 1966. Republicans say the Romney name still packs emotional resonance, but Democrats disagree, countering that no Romney has won a meaningful election in this state in nearly 50 years.
(This is not for lack of trying: Failed bids include Romney's mother Lenore's quest for the U.S. Senate in 1970, his former sister-in-law Ronna Romney's U.S. Senate races in 1994 and 1996, and his older brother Scott's run for the GOP nomination for attorney general in 1998. Even Mitt, they recall, barely defeated Rick Santorum in the February GOP primary.)
In years in which Michigan votes for governor, the voting is less predictable.
Michigan hasn't sided with a Republican nominee since 1988, but the state has swerved to the right in recent years.
The governor's mansion, state legislature, Supreme Court and all statewide offices except for the two Senate seats are now in Republican hands.
In 2010, Michigan voters elected a Republican governor, attorney general, secretary of state and GOP majorities in the state House and Senate.
Michigan Republicans and the Romney team have focused much of their efforts on Oakland, Macomb and western Wayne counties, which stretch from Detroit and its populous suburbs to rural farm country. Obama in 2008 got 61% of the three counties' votes.
Oakland County, where Romney grew up, contains some of the most affluent communities in the country. Macomb is home of the "Reagan Democrats," blue-collar voters who traditionally had voted for Democratic candidates before tilting to Ronald Reagan in 1980. Wayne contains Detroit, but the county becomes more conservative to the west.
The administration's contraception mandate hurts the president with the socially conservative Reagan Democrats in such places as Macomb County. There are 2.4 million Catholic voters in Michigan, and Obama's assault on religious liberty has alienated many of them. In May, the Michigan Catholic Conference filed suit against the Obama administration over the Health and Human Services mandate.
Michiganders have a strong work ethic and remain justly proud of their state's role as a pioneer of welfare reform in the 1990s. The charge that Obama is gutting welfare reform hits a nerve here.