LANSING -- Millions of dollars spent on political TV ads in Michigan ahead of the Tuesday primary -- and Mitt Romney still can't quite catch rival Rick Santorum.
"The ads for Romney -- people are not reacting to those ads positively
at all," says EPIC-MRA pollster Bernie Porn.
A new WILX "Voice of the Voter" poll, conducted by EPIC-MRA, shows Romney's ad campaign isn't sitting well with voters.
Sixty-one percent of the 400 respondents say the ads won't influence them at all, while 30 percent say the commercials will actually make Republicans less likely to vote for the former Massachusetts governor.
"And among that group of voters, they are indeed voting for Santorum," Porn says.
Only 11 percent, in contrast, thought Santorum's ads would negatively
influence his campaign.
And one of Romney's latest ads -- depicting his Michigan roots -- doesn't appear to be having the desired effect, either.
Most respondents, by a 57 percent to 38 percent difference, said they
don't think of Romney as a "native Michigander."
"Among those who do not think he is a Michigander, Santorum wins solidly," Porn says. "Among those voters who say that he is a Michigander, he wins among them."
But Porn says some of those respondents could be fooling themselves.
"Polling has shown forever that people will deny that advertisements have an impact on them," Porn says. "And then you'll ask them, 'Well, why are you voting the way you are?' And they'll cite something that comes out of the negative ads."
In other words, Romney's commercials could be influencing voters more than they realize. Romney, who's outspending Santorum in the state by about 2-to-1, better hope so. With less than a week to go before the primary, the same WILX poll shows he's down to Santorum 37 percent to 34 percent.