Michigan 'Power Outsiders' Would Choose Mitt Romney for Nomination

Local influential Republicans say they like Romney's business background, confidence and principles.

A survey of influential southeast Michigan Republicans shows a clear preference for Mitt Romney over Rick Santorum for the Republican presidential nomination.

According to the latest Power Outsiders survey conducted by The Huffington Post and Patch, eight of 12 Michiganders surveyed said they would choose Romney if the race for the Republican nomination came down to a choice between Romney and Santorum.

The HuffPost-Patch GOP Power Outsiders poll reaches out to political activists, party officials and officeholders to observe the critical "invisible primary" that is usually a strong leading indicator of the preferences of voters in a presidential nomination. While our Republican respondents are outsiders from the perspective of Washington, DC, they are insiders within their local communities. This week, we interviewed 166 Power Outsiders, including 12 in Michigan, 28 in South Carolina, 27 in Iowa and 23 in New Hampshire.

Of the 166 people surveyed nationally this week, 52 percent said they prefer Romney, while 22 percent said they support Santorum, up from 11 percent in mid-January. Romney's support has remained stable.

Two Michigan respondents stated they believe Romney has what it takes to beat President Barack Obama in the November presidential election, while another praised Romney's business background.

"As a business owner Romney has the knowledge and intellect to get spending under control. Similar to Governor Snyder," the respondent wrote.

A Santorum supporter said they like that he is a "fiscal and social conservative," but a Romney supporter said, "Santorum failed now that the light is shining on him. He is status quo big spending Washington insider."

Romney impresses in Wednesday's debate

This week's survey was designed to get reaction from Outsiders after Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate.

Six of the 12 respondents in Michigan said they thought Romney won the debate. Four said they thought Newt Gingrich won the debate. One gave it to Santorum and another was undecided.

"Mitt distanced himself with a great debate," said one respondent. "Rick had good spots, but got exposed on earmarks, and looked awkward at times. ... I believe that Mitt gives the Republicans the best chance to win back the White House.  There will be no brokered convention and Super Tuesday will bear that out."

Michigan's HuffPost-Patch Power Outsiders

  • Bryan Bently (Active Republican, Plymouth Township)
  • Jim Carson (Dexter Village Trustee)
  • Kathy Crawford (Oakland County Commissioner, District 9)
  • Dan Devine (Bloomfield Township Treasurer)
  • Anthony Forlini (State Rep., 24th District)
  • Andrea LaFontaine (State Rep., 32nd District)
  • Rob Montilla (Chair, Republican Committee of Northern Macomb County)
  • Alicia Ping (Washtenaw County Commissioner)
  • Dave Potts (Oakland County Commissioner)
  • Mike Reno (Active Republican, Rochester Hills)
  • Steven Stoll (Vice Chair of the Macomb Township Republican Caucus)
  • Joseph Xuereb (Republican Party Chair, Wayne County 11th District)

Power Outsiders is a Patch-Huffington Post project that surveys influential Republicans around the country.

Jerry Grady February 25, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Herb. Just pointing out to the poster they went bankrupt. I have no opinion or political statement on my post, just pointing out it did happen. I would just like all of us to focus on moving forward with positive actions, not all this negative and beat down political agenda. (my candidate is better than yours stuff) but tis the season.
Dale Behler February 25, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Herb....Pardon me for disagreeing with you somewhat, but Obama started campaigning for re-election the day he took office and has not stopped since that time. I really am not impressed with any of the the Republican candidates but scared to death of another four youes of Obama failures. This country is in grave shape as far as competent leadership is concerned in both parties. The vote in November will be for whomever one considers to be the lesser of two evils. Maybe a third party is the only answer to salvage the nation. Judging from what I hear from people I talk to, I have a feeling I'm not alone with those feelings. When we have been in deep trouble in the past, there has always been a stron leader come forward to guide us through difficult times. Let's hope we are blessed with such a strong and honorable leader very soon.
Dale Behler February 25, 2012 at 02:51 AM
When government gets involved in picking winners and losers such as corporate GM and Chrysler over stockholders, bondholders and suppliers or UAW retirees over non-union retirees at Delphi, it changes the whole dynamics of risk and reward decisions of our free market system. Normal prudent business decisions become confused and muddled resulting in an unpredictable economy as we have now. Investors do not want to get burned again because of the uncertainties brought on by government interference in the free market and concern that even the enforcement of legal and investment documents is questionable. So they do not invest. When the government is playing favorites with classes of workers such as preferring union workers over non-union employees in bankruptcy courts, it encourages a class warfare environment. It also means the government actively encouranges more employees to unionize to protect themselves from its own inequality and helps unions reverse their shrinking membership trend. I don't think that is the intended mission of government which is supposed to represent and protect all the people.
D P of Michigan February 25, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Of all the Republican candidates, Mitt Romney will likely have the stamina and ability to beat Obama. Santorum is not a leader, instead he does a lot of whining. We already have a whiner in the White House. Ron Paul is not electable. Newt has already shot himself in the foot and taken himself out of contention. Romney has the where with all to get the economic job done. He doesn't have the Washington experience, but that is probably a plus for the country. Santorum loves earmarks. Enough said there.
Jo Nielson February 25, 2012 at 09:35 PM
From what I understand, Mitt is going to allow the free-market to work. Novel idea...


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