Michigan primary may draw few voters, state government says

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The GOP knife fight underway in Michigan today has had all hands on deck at the Romney and Santorum campaigns — but have voters shown a corresponding level of interest?

The Secretary of State’s office in Michigan today estimated that turnout in the Republican primary (which is open to all of the state’s registered voters) would only attract between 20 and 15 percent of those eligible to participate, according to CNN.

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CNN said such a result would mean fewer voters turned out in this year’s primary than did in 2008, when 21 percent voted.

A close-fought race in a low-turnout environment could mean the decision comes down to marginal factors; nearly a quarter million people have requested advanced ballots ahead of the primary, according to CNN. Rick Santorum, along with some activists and political personalities, have encouraged Democrats to vote for Santorum in the hopes of prolonging the primary race at the expense of Romney, the presumptive front-runner.

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-aligned polling agency, said that much, “has been made of Democratic efforts to turn out the vote for Santorum and we see evidence that's actually happening.”

Among Michigan Democrats, who make up an anticipated 8 percent of today’s voters, Santorum leads Romney 47 to 10 percent, according to PPP. The agency said that for Santorum, this was “enough to put him over the top.”

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As the voting began today, Romney admitted that his personal gaffes — discussing his own wealth and appearing out of touch with ordinary people — had hurt him in his efforts to win his home state, according to The New York Times.

A last-minute polling average from RealClearPolitics gives Romney a razor-thin advantage of just 1.5 percent.
 

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