Michigan: Make or break for Mitt Romney

As Michigan votes in the Republican primary on Tuesday, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has accused his rival Rick Santorum of trying to “kidnap the primary process,” according to the Associated Press.

Predictive polls for the Michigan primary have shown Romney and Santorum within 1-4 points of each other, with the Public Policy Polling data putting Santorum one point ahead.

While polls opened in Michigan, Romney told reporters that his rivals were willing to say “outrageous things” to get ahead with the conservative base, said the AP.

On the day before the Tuesday primary, Santorum’s campaign was robocalling Democrats, urging them to vote against Romney for his opposition to the auto bailout. Appearing on Fox News, Romney called the robocalling campaign “outrageous and a terrible dirty trick at the last hour,” adding that it was a “new low” for Santorum’s campaign.

Santorum defended the robocalls on Monday night, while speaking on Fox News’ Hannity, saying they were no worse than anything the Romney campaign had done.

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Losing Michigan would be a symbolically embarrassing defeat for Romney as he was born in the state and his father served as an auto executive and a governor there. If Romney does lose the Michigan primary, it could cast serious doubt on his chances at the presidential nomination.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), told CNN, “From my perspective, if Romney does not win Michigan, it creates real problems for his candidacy.” He also predicted that a Romney loss would lead to the GOP actively recruiting other candidates for the nomination.

An extended campaign where Romney and Santorum are trying to appeal to a conservative base “whether it's the former talking about how he is ‘severely conservative,’ or the latter insisting contraception isn't okay, "even if it should remain legal” could also hurt them in the general election, said The Atlantic.

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll said only 38 percent of Americans who call themselves “very” conservative hold a favorable opinion of Romney, a drop of 14 points from last week. Santorum garnered 60 percent in the same poll.

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