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Campaign Trail

Post-primary, what Michigan voters are concerned about

Jeremy Hobson Feb 29, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: Mitt Romney is heading to Ohio today after wrapping up two primary victories in Arizona and Michigan last night. Rick Santorum heads to Tennessee.

But we’re going to focus on Michigan for a moment, which after weeks in the spotlight, is getting back to business as usual this morning. Zoe Clark is a reporter with Michigan Radio, and she’s with us now from Ann Arbor. Good morning.

Zoe Clark: Good morning, Jeremy.

Hobson: There was a lot of talk about the auto bailout in the campaign. How big of an issue was that for voters yesterday in Michigan?

Clark: Jeremy, I think it was an issue, but what we have to remember here in this state is that 62 percent of Republicans — Michigan Republicans — actually opposed the bailout. So of course it’s going to be on people’s minds, but this was pretty much a majority of Republicans voting yesterday. I think it’s going to be a much bigger deal come November.

Hobson: And now, last night, I was watching your governor Rick Snyder, and he was saying that he’s been saying over and over again the last couple of weeks, which is that Michigan is the great comeback state right now. How do you think the nation’s perceptions of Michigan have changed over the last couple of weeks?

Clark: Well, I think that’s the narrative that’s coming out of the state. And truthfully, we are starting to see an economic turnaround in the state. We went from the nation’s highest unemployment rate — we are no longer the nation’s top — still up there, though. So it is true that things tend to be getting better.

Hobson: What do you think was missed in the national coverage of Michigan about its economy?

Clark: Foreclosures and home prices. You know, we heard so much about the bailout, a lot about Detroit. What we didn’t hear about was the fact that there are still a ton of people in Michigan who owe more on their homes than they’re worth. And what we didn’t hear a lot from the national campaigns, from Romney and from Santorum, was how they’re going to fix that. And I think that’s going to be a really, really important issue among Michigan voters come November.

Hobson: Zoe Clark of Michigan Radio, thanks so much.

Clark: Thank you, Jeremy.

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