DETROIT -

Michigan was supposed to be easy pickings for President Barack Obama.

However, according to recent poll numbers, the state is still in play and Obama will have to work harder and divert resources here. That gives Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reason to think he can win in Michigan.

"We had it with Obama by one point last time. This time we've got Romney leading by one point," said pollster Steve Mitchell. "All the polls by Michigan pollsters have shown it to be very close."

While the overall numbers show a statistical dead heat between the candidates, it's the breakdown which is really interesting to look at.

President Obama owns Detroit. He polls at 91 percent in the city. However, it's Romney who leads in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties with 48 percent of votes to Obama's 40 percent.

Then there is the number which may be the key to it all: Independent voters. The Mitchell Research poll shows Romney is gaining ground with independents as he leads by 10 percent -- 44 percent to Obama's 34 percent.

"You got to have the independents to win," said Mitchell. "You've got that narrow sliver now about 16 percent of the voters, and Romney has now doubled his lead among independents."

Michigan represents 16 electoral votes in the electoral college, making it a key state. The state has not voted for a republican presidential candidate since 1988 when George H.W. Bush was elected.

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