Michigan was once a state that look like a possible McCain win, but the bad economy along with not selecting Mitt Romney as his running has forced the McCain campaign to shut down their advertising and ground operations there, and pin their hopes on states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, or Minnesota.
As a McCain aide told Politico’s Jonathan Martin, “Our ability to pick off one of those three states is where our fortunes are largely held. These are states where Barack Obama is on the defense.” The problem with this logic is that Obama currently leads in all of these states. In fact, Obama has seen his lead grow in each of these three states over the past couple of weeks.
I have deep doubts that McCain has serious chance of winning Pennsylvania, which is a state that is similar to Michigan in that the economy reigns supreme, and the selection of Sarah Palin has not played well in this state. According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Obama leads in Pennsylvania by 15 points, and Sarah Palin has a negative favorability rating in the Keystone State. Unless McCain’s comes up with an economic message that appeals to these voters, he won’t win the state.
McCain chances are better in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but here too, the trend is towards Obama. When it comes to Michigan what no one is talking about is the McCain campaign’s enormous miscalculation of how Sarah Palin would play in the state. The McCain campaign hoped that Palin would lure women, and Independents to their camp, but she has had the opposite effect of pushing these voters towards Obama.
If the McCain campaign really wanted to win Michigan, they should have chosen Mitt Romney as his running mate. Romney’s father was governor of the state, and the Romney name remains popular there. Mitt Romney would have put Michigan into play. Plus, the campaign would have been better equipped to talk about the financial crisis, if McCain had a running mate who understood financial markets and the economy like Romney does.
The McCain campaign is going to keep insisting that they can still win, but winning campaigns don’t have to pull out of states that they were originally trying to swing. This is an ominous sign for the McCain camp that they are running out of resources, and this election is slipping away from them. The fact that McCain has had to spend time in Florida and Missouri says a great deal about the state of this race, and the momentum that is moving towards Obama.