WISCONSIN (WFRV) – Mitt Romney edged out fellow GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum by just 3% of the vote in Tuesday’s Michigan primary.
Some political experts believe the race could be just as tight when Wisconsin voters head to the polls on April 3rd. Both are industrial states full of blue collar and union workers with the same ideals.
“One of the things that Santorum tends to do is suggest that he wants very limited government,” explained Charley Jacobs, Political Science Professor at St. Norbert College. “Romney recognizes that government has a beneficial role. I think individuals in both Wisconsin and Michigan are going to look for somebody who tries to promote the benefits that government has for the public.”
Early exit polls in Michigan show the only economic demographic group won by Romney was people who make more than $100,000 a year. Santorum swept the rest.
However, just like Wisconsin, Michigan has an open primary. That means democrats and independents also voted, and that could have skewed some of the data in these exit polls.
“Romney is considered the best chance the GOP has at beating Obama,” said Jacobs. “So if unions want to support their candidate, which appears to be Obama, they might run to the polls just to see if they can undermine Romney’s position as the frontrunner for the GOP.”
While Jacobs said Santorum’s social values might be more appealing to blue collar workers, Romney tends to be more popular with college graduates and moderate conservatives. That keeps the race competitive, and leaves voters still weighing their options.
“I’m still kind of making up my mind,” Andy Fuchs told Local 5. “I have to hear what each candidate has to say, especially when it comes closer and closer.”
Jacobs also believes any GOP candidates still vying for the nomination come April will make campaign stops in Wisconsin, potentially trying to align themselves with Governor Scott Walker’s policies.