Romney's Michigan struggles tied to auto industry resurgence

Mitt Romney was born and raised in Michigan but is scrambling ahead of the state's GOP presidential primary, getting hit hard about his stance on saving the auto companies.

Mitt Romney's Michigan roots are not helping him at the present time according to the latest poll results that center on how he would fare against President Obama in November's election.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) reported that Obama leads Mitt Romney in the state of Michigan by 16 points, a far cry from the GOP presidential hopeful's numbers against Obama in three previous PPP polls, which had the difference at no more than four percentage points.

Romney's favorability numbers in Michigan have cratered as well. In six months, Mitts negative vs positive response from voters has gone from 39-43 in August 2011 to 28-58 at the present time.

When asked about what is called the auto bailout, 52% of those polled favored it while 36% say they were against.it. It is the issue that Romney is facing on a day to day basis when he is interviewed on radio and television in the state.

NBC News' "Rock Center" will look at the auto industry turnaround on tonight's edition. A third shift was recently added at General Motors' Flint, Michigan plant, giving some workers an income they hadn't seen in more than two years in some cases. Video of the segment posted below.

"It is one of five places where General Motors has added a graveyard shift since it received a $50 billion bailout from the government in 2009," Rock Center reports.

Ford and Chrysler have either announced a third shift or added one recently, but there are some who can't overcome the way the result was produced and that includes Mitt Romney.

In 2008 he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times entitled, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" in which he opposed direct funding of the auto industry, even in exchange for shares in the companies and after union concessions, plant closings and lay offs.

While he maintains his position today, that workers benefited at the expense of those that held equity stakes or bond positions in the auto companies, it's hard to sell that in a state where men and women are returning to work after years without jobs.

He assures his audiences that he is cheered by the success the companies made of their bailout, while trying to sell his opposition to the federal government holding a stake in GM and Chrysler that came with the territory.

Mitt Romney's problem in Michigan is similar to what he faced in South Carolina when he tried to live down his "I like firing people" video clip along with the revelations of what the true business of Bain Capital was. Concern for equity and bond holders along with the government crossing the capitalism line was and is the position that he maintains.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

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