Pay no attention to the polls, a group of Mitt Romney surrogates in Michigan told reporters Wednesday — Romney’s got his home state well in hand.
Though poll after poll shows Rick Santorum surging in the state where Romney was raised, the trio of Romney advisers assembled for a conference call said the next two weeks — which, not coincidentally, will be noteworthy for a massive Romney spending advantage on the airwaves — will turn the tide back to Romney.
Besides, one said, who needs polls when you’ve got internet gamblers?
“If you get on Intrade, Romney has a 73.8% chance of winning the Republican nomination,” Hillsdale College Professor Gary Wolfram said, referring to the popular gambling site which lets users bet on the nomination. “If you really start looking rather than at polls put out by newspapers, if you look at people that are actually looking at this with their own money, he’s in very good shape.”
InTrade’s value as a prediction engine vs. scientific polling is debatable, but Wolfram’s point (along with the others on the call) isn’t that the polls are wrong necessarily, just that Romney’s about to change them.
And he’s probably going to do it with a massive advertising budget. The Washington Post currently projects a 29-1 advertising advantage in Romney’s favor. Based on past experience, much of the ad spending will be negative. Romney’s super PAC is already up with a negative spot aimed at Santorum in Michigan, though the surrogates on the Romney call were not buying into the proposition that Romney’s going to win by trashing his opponents once again.
“What makes you assume that the ads are going to be trashing and negative? I heard Romney this morning on Fox News make the point….I have no reason to doubt him, nor should you. He said, ‘I have not yet run a negative ad against Santorum, but there is an ad against me shooting mud balls at Santorum,’” said Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive. “In this campaign, certainly in Michigan, I have not seen the negative ads. I’m not so sure that I’m buying into the major premise here of your question that this is going to be 29-to-1 all negative.”
The surrogates did say the race is going to be defined in the next to weeks which is when all the ads are running.
For their part, Team Santorum hasn’t given up Michigan yet (though Santorum himself said he hopes for a “good strong second”.) His super PAC, the Red, White and Blue Fund, hasn’t made its ad purchasing plans yet but plans to this week. Fund spokesperson Stuart Roy said to expect Santorum to play.
“We certainly aren’t going to let attacks go unanswered,” he said.
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