President Obama and Mitt Romney are in a virtual dead heat in Michigan, as self-identified independent voters have abandoned the incumbent, according to a new poll released on Thursday.
The poll, conducted by EPIC-MRA in Lansing, Mich., for the Detroit Free Press and four in-state television stations, shows Romney leading Obama 46 percent to 45 percent, well within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Nine percent of likely voters are undecided.
Each candidate wins more than 90 percent of his own partisans, but Romney has a solid lead among independent voters, 45 percent to 34 percent.
Michigan voters have mixed views of Romney, whose father served as the state's governor in the 1960s. Forty-one percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Romney, while 43 percent have an unfavorable opinion -- statistically unchanged from his rating in an April EPIC-MRA poll.
That compares with a 46 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable score for Obama. But, among independents, Obama's ratings are upside-down: Just 35 percent have a favorable opinion of him, and 53 percent view him unfavorably.
Asked about his job performance, 13 percent rate Obama "excellent," and 28 percent "pretty good." Nineteen percent say his performance is "just fair," while 39 percent say it is "poor." Obama's job ratings are statistically unchanged from the previous measure, in January.
Each candidate has some baggage that the poll shows could hurt his chances among Michigan voters. Pluralities say that Obama's announcement that he favors same-sex marriage and Romney's opposition to federal loans for the auto industry make them less likely to vote for those respective candidates.
The poll was conducted June 2-5 for the Free Press and WXYZ-TV (Detroit), WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids), WILX-TV (Lansing), and WJRT-TV (Flint). Six hundred active and likely voters were surveyed.