Romney supporters in Michigan R 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)
The Michigan, US primary on Tuesday could be a game-changer in the Republican presidential race. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is pitted against former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Here are a few facts about the Michigan primary.
- The Republican Party has a majority in both the state House and Senate. The western, northern and rural parts of the state are more conservative and will likely trend toward Rick Santorum. Mitt Romney could have appeal in the more urban, southern areas of the state near Detroit.
- Because Michigan is an open primary where any registered voter can vote, Democrats could shake up the results by casting ballots for one of Romney's rivals. Campaign consultant Joe DiSano and the liberal blog Daily Kos have called on Democrats to cast ballots for Santorum. DiSano said 12,000 Michigan Democrats have already said they would vote in the primary.
- Romney's public opposition to the auto bailout could hurt him in Michigan, home to the country's car industry. In a 2008 New York Times editorial titled Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," Romney called for "managed bankruptcy" and pushing companies to shed excess costs and fundamentally restructure.
- Although Santorum lacks Romney's organizational structure in Michigan, he has the support of the state's dozens of Tea Party groups. Forty-eight percent of Tea Partiers preferred Santorum over Romney at 29 percent, according to an NBC-Marist poll from February 19-20. Among very conservative respondents, Santorum had 59 percent support against Romney's 20 percent.
- Michigan's unemployment rate was above the national average at 9.3 percent in December, but Obama has maintained support in the state. Michigan has chosen a Democrat in every presidential election since 1992.
- The majority of Michigan residents are white. Caucasians made up 79 percent, while African-Americans made up 14.2 percent, 2 percentage points higher than the national average, and Latinos just 4.4 percent, according the most recent US Census.