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MICHIGAN HAS REMAINED IN THE SPOTLIGHT OF THE
PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN FROM BEFORE ITS REPUBLICAN
PRIMARY IN FEBRUARY THROUGH THE FINAL DAYS OF THE
CAMPAIGN. AND WHEN THE FINAL VOTES ARE TALLIED, IT'S LIKELY
THAT MICHIGAN WILL BE ONE STATE IN THE WINNER'S COLUMN.
Ah eighth lrgest sate in the union and one that, so
neir AL Gor nor George W Bush has been able to
Lkup. Igang i mund zero on Lilection Day.
in r f the las five presidential elections, Michigan
ha \oed vihin a prcentge point of the national aver-
' Insde MiBnigan Polities ditor Bil lBallenger said.
'W\'re like a microcosm oi what happened at the national
Last month, both presidential candidates visited the state
at least once a w eek to woo Michigan's large population of
undecided v oters who have the potential to swing the state
and possib l the nation in either candidate's favor.
Michigan, which in 1992 and 1996 supported Bill Clin-
ton, has been undecided from the start of the 2000 cam-
With three of the four largest states and several Mid-
western states already locked up by one candidate or the
other, Michigan is still up for grabs.
"The others have at some other time been thought to be
in one column to the other," Ballenger said.
Although California, New York, Texas and Florida have
the most electoral votes, the Midwestern states - especial-
ly Michigan -- are likely to be the deciding factor.
California and New York are considered to be in the
Gore camp, while Texas is expected to support its gover-
nor. Florida, the fourth-largest state, remains uncommitted
despite the fact that Bush's brother Jeb is governor.
But in this continuously wavering election, winning
Michigan may not be enough to determine who takes the
While some consider Michigan to be the state that will
"We've always had a closely divided state politically,"
Ballenger said. Michigan's demographics "tends to be
more equally balanced between the two parties," lie said.
E d Saripolus, a spokesman for the Lansing polling firm
lPIC/MRA, said lie expects about 1.6 million Republi-
cans, 1.7 million Democ-
rats and 730,000 M ichi
independent voters to cast
baIlots across tie state
Secretary orf state
records show 6.8 million
registered voters in Michi-
Party spokesman Dennis. ,
Denno said the state has a
larger percentage of unde-
cided vot ers than most
"We're not Republican
or we're not Democrat -
we are a swing state. And
in southeastern Michipan
Iparti ularly with Oakland ~
ounty Macomb County re
an d wetern Waynen
w here the heavy popula-
tion is,. th is is the swing"
Uiersity political sci-
ence Pro f. Chris Achen
said Michigan traditionally
has beeni demographically proportional to the rest of the
The state's black population is proportional to the nation's
and also ha diverse communities, including one big urban
area in Detroit ind nmany smaller rural areas. In terms of reli-
gious representtion, Michigan is also well-balanced -
especially amone ev angelical and mainline Protestants-
and has a sizeable Catholic and Jewish population.
But \cheii noted that the state is not proportionally
"perfect' and lacks a significant hispanic population.
The state is economically diverse and has organized
labor groups, big and small business, Achen said.
icihigan is not only demographically relevant to the
presidential campaigns but electorally the state holds 18
electoral w. otes --the eighth largest in the country.
"It is very dilicult, if not impossible, for a presidential
candidate to wimi nationally and lose Michigan," Denno
decide the election,
its importance cannot
be isolated from
results in other states.
If Gore wins Michi-
gan but loses Illinois,
the loss will balance
out the gain in terms
of electoral votes,
Ohio, Illinois and
Pennsylvania all carry
more electoral votes
than Michigan. But
Ohio is said to be pro-
Bush and Illinois
appears to favor Gore,
so Michigan's vote
will strengthen one
base in the Midwest.
The most recent
poll gives Gore a two-
to three-point lead
over Bush in Michi-
gan, Sarpolus said.
"We don't look at it
as our enemy," Miller
said, "and I think
speaking to that, its
going to resonate
with the voters of
But Gore campaign
Rubey said the Bush
campaign has used
"old quotes taken out
Gore, a longtime
supporter of the envi-
ronment, has been
under attack by the
Bush campaign about
statements made in
his book "Earth in the
Balance," in which he
with the auto industry
to develop new types
of engines and more
Nader also wants
to attract labor - a
group he said is com-
mitted to work hard
for, no matter who
gets their votes. NC
Nader emphasizes the George Bush speaks about his energy policy at a late
importance of repeal- September rally in Saginaw.
ing the 1947 Taft-
Hartley act that limits the collective bargaining ability of
Since neither campaign can be "sure as to what the
undecided voters are going to do," Ballenger said, both
campaigns should be focused on at least getting party
members out to vote.
But the candidates have spent the last couple of months
pursuing undecided voters.
And although Bush
is expected to win only no more than two of the four
biggest states, he has strong support in the South, Cen-
tral and Rocky Mountain states.
"If we can win it here, we can win it anywhere" Democ-
ratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman said at a
fundraiser in Southfield last month.
THE MOTOR STATE
Candidates campaigning in Michigan have specifically
aimed their messages at organized labor in an attempt to
sway the support of industry workers.
Gore's endorsement from unions like the United
Auto Workers hasn't stopped Bush or Green Party
candidate Ralph Nader from trying to court industry
Michigan GOP spokesman Sage Eastman said the Bush
campaign is working to attract voters who have traditional-
ly not voted for the Republican Party.
Bush made a campaign stop at the Pontiac General
Motors plant last month to assert his support for new
petroleum policies as well as the internal
combustion engine, which Bush has used
to promote a pro-labor stance.
During Bush's General Motors visit,
Michigan Secretary of State Candice Miller
said the Texas governor "spoke to Michigan
about the internal combustion engine that
Al Gore thinks is our enemy. But we kind of
like cars in Michigan, we don't think cars
are the enemy. That's how we feed our fam-
THE HEAT IS ON
Michigan Gov. John Engler has served as Bush's state
campaign chair from the start and has mobilized top state
officials like Miller to campaign for Bush. Even so, Bush
wasn't able to garner enough support during the state's
Republican primary in February to defeat then-rival John
Now that Republicans have united behind the Texas gov-
ernor, he has spent most of his time campaigning in the
southeastern part of the state.
"Half the vote is in Southeast Michigan - in the south-
east sector - and the line runs from Port Huron to Ann
Arbor. That's the primary area," Engler said.
Gore is competing with Bush for metropolitan Detroit
voters. In the last month, the vice president has cam-
paigned heavily in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties
as well as Flint and Saginaw.
"We're focusing on the Detroit area, particularly the
Detroit suburbs," Rubey said.
Ballenger said there are advantages to have the state's
governor heading up the campaign of a presidential candi-
date. "I think it is beneficial, as long as he isn't arrogant
and obnoxious as he was at the beginning of the year."
Despite the historically conservative leanings of the
western side of the state, Gore managed to draw large
crowds to rallies in Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
"We've also been surprised as to how well we're doing
in western Michigan," Rubey said of an area that is tradi-
tionally considered to be Republican.
Although Gore does not have the Michigan governor on
his side to help gather support, the vice president has cam-
paigned with prominent state Democrats including Detroit
Mayor Dennis Archer, Attorney General Jennifer Granholm,
Sen. Carl Levin and Senate hopeful Debbie Stabenow.
'U' prof.'s Website trades Nader votes
Al Gore's going to win New York.
Ralph Nader can't win -period.
Enter nadergore.org, a Website
designed to match Gore supporters in
New York with Nader fans in Michigan
without either having to "throw their vote
Run by University history and Ameri-
can culture Prof. Matthew Countryman
and Ann Arbor attorney Nimish Ganatra,
nadergore.org creates a system in which
a New Yorker would cast a ballot for
Nader while someone in Michigan would
in turn vote for Gore.
Countryman said that because the vice
president has such a strong lead in New
York, he can afford to lose votes there
that he cannot afford to lose in Michigan.
"In New York their votes won't make
much of a difference," Countryman said.
This system has two goals, Country-
man said - to prevent Bush from win-
ning the presidency and ensure that
Nader gets the 5 percent of the vote nec-
essary to receive federal election funds
Two other sites, www voteswap2000.com
and wwwnadertrader:org, allow voters in
Michigan Secretary of State spokes-
woman Julie Pierce said. "Michigan
election law does prohibit buying or sell-
U.S. Justice Department officials said
this particular provision of Michigan
election law is in accordance with federal
election law as well.
Jake Lewis, a spokesman for the
Nader campaign, said the Green Party
does not endorse the use of voter trading
"Ralph considers this just a frivolous
activity," Lewis said. "He's opposed to
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