John McCain and Barack Obama each make a compelling case for rallying support in Michigan. Obama talks about his sensitivity to the state's economic downturn and promises to end unpopular Republican policies that he says have thrown the economy into the ditch. McCain emphasizes what he calls his middle-class values and his maverick past, pledges to shake up Washington, and says he won't raise taxes.
So far, it seems that Obama's message has been more effective. The latest Detroit Free Press/Local 4 Michigan poll shows Obama with a 51 to 38 percent majority over McCain in Michigan, doubling his lead from a month ago. McCain is responding by scaling back his campaign in the state. Michigan has one of the nation's highest unemployment rates, at 8.9 percent, and more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs have disappeared since 1999. And Obama regularly ties McCain to the problem.
We meet here at a time of great uncertainty in Detroit and all across America," Obama said during a recent rally in Detroit. "The era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and in Washington has led us to a financial crisis as serious as any we have faced since the Great Depression." He promised to cut taxes for the middle class and end the capital gains tax on small businesses and start-up companies. He blasted McCain for supporting the economic policies of the Bush administration.
McCain recognizes what Michigan is going through, but he says things would be worse under a President Obama. "If you like what tax increases have done to the economy here in Michigan, you're going to love Senator Obama's tax increases," McCain said recently. "And we won't do it. Governor Palin and I will not raise anyone's taxes. The worst thing you can do is raise taxes in difficult times."
This, however, is not what anxious, angry Michigan voters want to hear, according to the polls.