Who Will the Michigan Democrats Vote for in the GOP Primary?

It seems odd that Democrats should have the opportunity to play a key role in who wins Michigan’s GOP primacy and potentially the GOP nomination. However, Democrats may never have a better chance. Because Democrats can vote in the Michigan GOP primary and there is no real Democrat race, there is high incentive for Democrats to cast their voice in the GOP contest. The question is which GOP candidate will the Democrats choose?

If they vote for McCain they will be voting for the candidate which polls show has the best chance of beating Hillary or Obama in November. Voting for McCain will also add momentum to his nomination which is at the verge of critical mass already. Both these options should deter Democrats from voting for McCain assuming they want the Democrats to have the best chance of winning in November and they want to prevent the GOP from identifying their candidate quickly. Nonetheless, McCain is leading the GOP for support from Independent and Democrats in opinion polls. Perhaps many Democrats in Michigan are trying to setup a win-win situation for November: If their candidate loses, at least McCain is more liberal (i.e., moderate) than most of the GOP candidates and will be more palatable as president for them.

If they vote for Romney they will vote for the main candidate that has one of the least chance of beating Hillary and Obama in November according to current opinion polls. Voting for Romney will also create a three man race which will draw-out the GOP contest, increase tension within GOP party lines and decrease the odds of a strong unified GOP to contest with in November. A few Democrat strategists have advocated this tactic; I would expect at least some Democrats to make this move and vote Romney.

The only reason that a Democrat in Michigan would vote for Huckabee is because Huckabee, like Democrats, is a populist and perhaps they think Huckabee would be a palatable consolation prize if their Democratic candidate loses in November. I find this unlikely as most realize that a populist GOP president is much less likely to have the ability (due to GOP opposition and greater difficulty working across the isles) to fulfill his populist promises as a Democratic president who has most populists on his/her side of the isle.

Will these guys ever quit? The writing is on the wall, but I guess they need to spend the money they raised. Regardless, there is no reason for Democrats to vote for them in Michigan there aren’t enough Democrats that will vote in the GOP race to raise them from single digits to compete with the front-runners.

Romney has never had a better chance to win a big contest. Michigan is his birth state, he leads McCain 2-1 among GOP voters there and the questionable politics of the Democrats should be on his side.

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