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MICHIGAN: BUSHIES BULLISH [Henry Payne 10/31 10:47 AM]
The Bush team’s optimism in the face of long Michigan odds seems to be bearing fruit.
A poll released Sunday morning by the Detroit News has Bush drawing to within two points of John Kerry with just two days to go. Perhaps more significantly, the Zogby poll which has never had Bush closer than seven points all year – put Bush ahead in the state by two, 47-45.
(For a detailed look at how the News poll breaks down by age, race, etc. go here.)
The stunning closeness of a race that experts had all but written off for Kerry last week confirms the Bush camp’s strategy to throw everything at the state in the race’s closing stages. In the last week, Bush has played before crowds of 30,000 in Auburn Hills, 8,0000 in Pontiac, and 17,000 in Grand Rapids yesterday.
The presidential visits are “clearly having an impact,” says Detroit News pollster Steve Mitchell. “What we have is a very volatile electorate. One day they are for Bush, and the next day they wake up being for Kerry.” Indeed, 12 percent of News poll respondents are still undecided, up from 10 percent in the Friday tracking poll.
While the Kerry campaign remains confident of a Kerry win here, Bush’s surge has forced them to put valuable resources back into a battleground state they once took for granted.
Bush senior strategist Matthew Dowd, a native Michigander who grew up in Southfield north of Detroit, reflects the bullish attitude of Republicans here: “I think Michigan will be very close, which is very good news for us. If we win Michigan, Sen. Kerry cannot win the White House.”