The race is either close or not so close, depending on which poll you believe, if any. The trick may be figuring out those Independents. UPDATE: I think "haven't a clue" would be the best way to describe the latest batch. One problem may be figuring out who is voting. It matters a whole lot. In 2000 over a million voters cast ballots in the Michigan GOP primary. 48% were Republicans, 35% Independents and 17% Democrats. Bush got a remarkable 66% of GOP primary voters but lost by 8% overall because McCain captured 83% of Democrats who crossed over and 67% of Independents.
UPDATE 2: With polls all over the map now, we're headed for another round of poll recriminations I suspect because the models for who will turn out vary widely. In 2000, the exit polls showed 52% of the voters were non-Republicans. However, a respected Michigan pollster Ed Sarpolus (who conducted yesterday's Detroit Times poll) said at the time that the non-GOP vote was really only 40%. If, for example, the number this time is 25% -- on the theory that Independents and Democrats are less interested in what the GOP is up to -- McCain will have a harder time. However, if Independents have no where else to go and are intrigued by McCain then the non-GOP vote this time may be even greater than 2000( whatever figure that was). Throw into the mix that Huckabee seems to be siphoning off core evangelical votes (which Romney can't collect among GOP voters) plus a lot of Independents (that won't go to McCain) and you have one heck of a race. What's the right prediction on the breakdown of the electorate? Who knows but I think the pollsters would do well to explain how widely the results can vary depending upon which voters turn out.
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