Most disregard polls and say Romney will win in a 'landslide'
Three years ago, Jim Chiodo stood in front of a couple thousand people at a tea party rally in Battle Creek, grabbed a pamphlet and used it as an impromptu bullhorn as he led the crowd in patriot songs until the tardy Tea Party Express arrived.
Today, Chiodo says with confidence that he thinks Mitt Romney will defeat President Barack Obama in a landslide.
Chiodo, a member of the Ottawa County Patriots, acknowledges the polls say it’s a toss-up.
"I'm not looking at polls," Chiodo said. "I'm just sensing it. There is a line in the Declaration of Independence that says, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident.' Nobody has to tell me these rights. You just know it. That same 'self-evident' is telling me that we are going to see a landslide (for Romney)."
Chiodo sites several of the same things that many tea party activists say when asked why they think Romney will win: They haven't seen the same type of support that Obama got in 2008, and there are far fewer Obama signs in the neighborhoods.
Tea party members from around Michigan said a Romney victory will be bigger than even any of the polls were projecting. The enthusiasm isn't muted by a number of polls that through Monday had the candidates in a neck-and-neck race.
For the most part, they don't believe the polls, which often don't take account of tea party voters.
"Come Wednesday morning, all the newspapers, all the pollsters are going to say, 'Oh my gosh. We were wrong,' " Chiodo said.
Ed Tomaszewski, of the Romeo Tea Party, predicted a Romney victory thanks to a groundswell of support from independent voters. He said he thinks Romney will win by 10 percentage points.
"Other people are feeling it is greater than that, but I'm kind of conservative," Tomaszewski said.
Matt Kleifgen, of the Allegan County Tea Party, also said he senses a change from 2008.
"I believe Romney is going to win this election," he said. "I believe the support that Obama had in 2008 is just not there. I do think the enthusiasm is gone."
Dennis Moore of the Willow Run Tea Party Caucus said Willow Run is strongly Democrat historically, but he said many Democrats have told him they are voting for Romney.
"There are a lot of Democrats who won't vote for Obama again," Moore said. "That is going to be a huge surprise."
Joan Fabiano, founder of Grassroots in Michigan, said the election is about the economy.
"It's buyers regret with a lot of independents," Fabiano said. "I think Romney will probably win but I think it's important to note that it is more of a referendum against Obama than a huge victory for Romney."
Tina Dupont, of the Tea Party of West Michigan, said she thinks Romney will win by a large margin. Four years ago, she saw many neighborhoods filled with Obama signs.
"You just don't see that now," Dupont said.
Marcus Pederson, of the Coldwater Area Tea Party, said he thought Obama would win.
"I think I live in a country with just enough stupid people for him to win," Pederson said. "We are fighting against a Democratic Party that has a secret motto: Vote early and vote often. They can't win without cheating but they are willing to cheat."