Wow: Romney edging Obama 46/45 ... in Michigan

Old and busted: Questions about whether Barack Obama can salvage Wisconsin.  New hotness: Questions about whether the man who keeps claiming to have saved the American automaking industry can hold Michigan.  According to a new poll commissioned by the Detroit Free Press and four television stations from EPIC-MRA, Mitt Romney now edges Obama 46/45 in this Democratic and union bastion (via Jim Geraghty):

President Barack Obama’s popularity in Michigan has slipped in recent months, leaving him in a dead heat with Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to a new poll of state voters by EPIC-MRA of Lansing.

The poll, released this morning to the Free Press and four TV stations, shows Romney leading Obama 46%-45%, a reversal from the last EPIC poll in April which showed Obama ahead 47%-43%.

Obama’s personal and job approval numbers also have slipped, with 46% of Michiganders saying they have a favorable opinion of the president, and 41% approving of the job he’s doing.

EPIC co-founder John Cavanagh said the softening in support for Obama is likely related to a robust TV advertising campaign by pro-Romney PACs which have been critical of his handling of the economy. Perhaps most troubling for the Democratic president is a decline in support from independent voters, Cavanagh said.

Democratic pollster PPP had Obama up 14 in May.  PPP’s Tom Jensen put the state in the solid category for Democrats.  This looks … less than solid.  The Free Press didn’t provide a link to the poll data, so all of the usual caveats on samples apply, but the FP did note that the pollster surveyed 600 likely voters between June 2nd-5th.  That comes entirely after the latest jobs report, which may very well have done a significant amount of damage to Obama in a state already hammered by unemployment.  And just for a little independent confirmation, National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar tweeted that these numbers match what he’s heard about GOP internals.  Looks like it might just be a trend.

Speaking of Wisconsin, We Ask America has a new poll out there as well.  They got the eventual margin of victory correct in the recall election in their penultimate survey, but their last survey missed the mark, showing a 12-point Walker lead the day previous to the election.  Today they show Obama out in front of Romney in a sample of 1270 likely voters in a survey taken entirely yesterday, but only by five points, and with Obama under 50% at 48/43.  Romney leads among independents by two:

As we’ve seen elsewhere, President Obama is twice as likely to receive  support from Republicans (11%) than Romney is from Democrats (4%), and Independent voters are evenly split. Note that when we asked political party affiliation, this sample had 37% Democrats, 33% Republicans and 30% Independents. We also note with interest the gender gap between the two candidates…a result that is echoed throughout our recent privately conducted polls elsewhere in the nation.

Clearly, Walker’s success will keep Wisconsin on the list of possible bellwether states–something that many considered unlikely a few months ago. And if these numbers hold up, there will undoubtedly be a trove of Obama voters who also supported Gov. Walker in his recall election.

It looks like those states previously considered as solid Democratic holds might be … evolving on the issue.  The big question for Team O: What’s your path to 270 without Michigan?  What’s the path to 270 if Obama even has to contest Michigan?