MICHIGAN 17 Electoral Votes
Obama/Allies  |  McCain/Allies  |  Nader  
Long before the financial crisis broke in September 2008, Michigan was enduring what some analysts termed a "one-state recession" triggered by the decline in the auto industry.  Michigan's unemployment rate reached 6.0 percent in Nov. 2001 and has not fallen below that level since then.  The state's annual average unemployment rate for 2008 was 8.4 percent compared to 5.8 percent nationally.  A report by Michigan Future Inc. noted that, "From 2001 to 2007, Michigan ranked last in both overall employment growth and job growth in high-education attainment industries."  And, according to Census Bureau estimates, the state's population declined each year since 2005. 

In the summer and fall it looked as if there would be a competitive race in Michigan. 
The candidates were making regular visits and investing significant amounts in advertising (examples of Michigan-specific ads: 1(o), 2(m), 3(m), 4(o)).  For the period from Sept. 28-Oct. 4, according to data from TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG with analysis by the Wisconsin Advertising Project, the McCain campaign spent $1.25 million on TV advertising (third most of any state) and the Obama campaign spent $1.59 million (fifth most of any state).  In terms of total airings of candidate, party, group, and coordinated ads during this one week period, the Grand Rapids market ranked eighth and the Detroit market ninth. 

Then, on
October  2 the McCain camp confirmed it was cutting its campaign in Michigan and shifting most of its resources from the state.  In a conference call, political director Mike DuHaime stated, "The operations will be scaled back, but we'll still be in place in Michigan.  Resources in terms of some staff and other resources will move to Maine, where we will be opening up an aggressive front in Maine...also specifically to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania..."  Senior advisor Greg Strimple added, in response to a question on advertising, "We will obviously monitor the state and if we see a swing back in our favor, we'll go re-engage.  It has honestly been the state that since I've been involved in the campaign, which is the end of July of this year, it's been the worst state of all the states that are in play.  It's an obvious one from our perspective for it to come off the list."  After October 2 there were no more visits by the principals.

The campaign did go on however.  Michigan Republican Party (MRP) Chairman Saulius “Saul” Anuzis said the party would continue its work electing GOP candidates.  "The infrastructure we built isn’t really affected by decisions like this that come so late in the game," Anuzis stated.  Despite the McCain pull-out, the Obama campaign maintained a strong organization.  Interest groups continued their activity.  Throughout the summer and fall, the Michigan State AFL-CIO implemented a successful Labor 2008 program.  On the conservative side the Our Country Deserves Better "Stop Obama Tour" spent three days in Michigan from October 23-25.

Travel  compare...
Five Months (June 1-Nov. 4, 2008) 
Barack Obama - 8 visits (9 days)
Joe Biden - 3 visits (3 days)
Michelle Obama (solo) - 2 visits (2 days)
Jill Biden (solo) - no visits
John McCain - 7 visits (9 days)
Sarah Palin - 2 visits (2 days)
Cindy McCain (solo) - 1 visit (1 day)
Todd Palin (solo) - no visits
Note: The last Obama visit was Oct. 2 and the last McCain visit was Sept. 23.  The major third party candidates all made stops in Michigan.

Newspaper Endorsements
Battle Creek Enquirer  (Oct. 26)
Bay City Times  (Oct. 26)
Detroit Free Press  (Oct. 18)   308,944 (22)
Lansing State Journal  (Oct. 26)
Livingston Daily  (Oct. 26)
Muskegon Chronicle  (Oct. 12)
Saginaw News  (Oct. 26)

Detroit News  (Oct. 23)   188,171 (49)
The Daily Mining Gazette [Houghton]  (Oct. 20) Ogden 2
Escanaba Daily Press
Grand Rapids Press (Oct. 26)  128,930 (80)
Jackson Citizen Patriot
Macomb Daily
The Mining Journal [Marquette]
The Oakland Press [Pontiac]
Ann Arbor News  (Oct. 26)
Kalamazoo Gazette  (Nov. 2)
Port Huron Times Herald  (Nov. 2)

Copyright © 2008  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action