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.