The race is either
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.