Losing Michigan was a big disappointment for the Bush campaign in 2000. Early on, it was believed then-Gov. John Engler (R.) could deliver the state’s 18 electoral votes, but Al Gore ended up winning easily, 51% to 46%.
Yet, John Kerry has been surprisingly weak in Michigan, which this time around has 17 electoral votes. A Detroit News poll of 413 likely voters (+/- 5%) conducted May 11-12 showed Bush leading in the state, 44% to 40%, even though Bush’s job approval rating there has dropped since January from 63% to 50%. “If I were John Kerry, I would be concerned,” pollster Steve Mitchell told the News. “The race is tough for Kerry. Voters may disagree with Bush on some of his tactics, but he is perceived as being strong.”