Mitt Romney's taken a small lead over Rick Santorum in PPP's newest Michigan poll. He's at 39% to 37% for Santorum, 13% for Ron Paul, and 9% for Newt Gingrich. Compared to a week ago Romney's gained 6 points, while Santorum's just stayed in place.
Romney will go into election day with a large lead in the bank. Only 16% of Michigan voters say they've already cast their ballots, but Romney has a whooping 62-29 advantage over Santorum with that group. Santorum actually leads Romney 39-34 with those who are planning to cast their votes on Tuesday, but he'd need to win election day voters by even more than that to neutralize the advantage Romney's built up.
The last week of the campaign in Michigan has seen significant damage to Santorum's image with GOP voters in the state. His net favorability has declined 29 points from +44 (67/23) to now only +15 (54/39). Negative attacks on Romney meanwhile have had no negative effect with his favorability steady at +20 (57/37). Two weeks ago Santorum's net favorability in Michigan was 34 points better than Romney's. Now Romney's is 5 points better than Santorum's. Those kinds of wild swings are the story of the GOP race.
Romney has made significant in roads with all of Santorum's key groups of support. 2 weeks ago Santorum had leads around 30 points with Evangelicals, Tea Party voters, and those describing themselves as 'very conservative.' Santorum's still winning all those groups, but by significantly diminished margins- it's only 7 points with Evangelicals and Tea Partiers and 10 with 'very conservative' Republicans.
Romney's key base of support in Michigan, as it has been many places, is seniors. He has a 50-34 advantage with them and since most of those who have already voted fall into the over 65 category, that's a big part of why he has such a large lead with that group.
Other notes from Michigan:
-Romney is winning union households 40-29 over Santorum, just another data point suggesting that his bailout stance isn't going to be a big problem for him at least in the primary.
-Only 5% of likely primary voters are Democrats and they're splitting their votes 28-28 between Romney and Santorum...it doesn't look like the 2012 version of 'Operation Chaos' is getting off the ground.
Full results here