ByÂ Andrea Billups-The Washington Times
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. â€” Michigan native sonMitt RomneyÂ is mounting a giant effort here to win back some love in the state of his birth, amid fresh signs he will have trouble winning the Feb. 28 primary or a general election matchup for the stateâ€™s 16 electoral votes this fall against PresidentÂ Obama.
The Detroit-bornÂ Mr. Romney, facing a strong challenge from rivalÂ Rick SantorumÂ in what some call a must-win state, is the son of a former governor and attended high school here, but soon left his blue-collar home turf for an elite career path and undeniable corporate success elsewhere.
Although his name recognition remains high among those who remember when his father,Â George Romney, was Michiganâ€™s governor, few voters younger than 50 in a state that has suffered massive economic dislocation over the past decades now connect with theÂ Harvard-educated son who made a fortune in corporate finance and served a term as governor of Massachusetts.
Losing his home state would only reinforceÂ GOPÂ doubts about his candidacy and haunt him through November, political observers warn.
â€œObviously, it would be a huge symbolic loss if he canâ€™t win his home state,â€ said University of Michigan political scientistÂ Michael Heaney. â€œIfRomneyÂ loses in Michigan, the media will say his campaign is down, heâ€™s lost momentum and heâ€™s washed up now.â€
Four polls taken of likely Michigan voters in the past week â€” including two released Wednesday â€” showÂ Mr. Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania who touts his appeal to blue-collar voters, leadingÂ Mr. RomneyÂ in Michigan by a margin ranging from 3 to 14 percentage points, erasingÂ Mr. Romneyâ€™s lead.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/15/romney-finds-tough-times-in-michigan/
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