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GOP Debate Preview: What Do Voters in Detroit Want? JOBS

Daily Ticker

With less than a year until the next presidential election, without question the top issue for voters remains how to jumpstart the stalled economy.

Tonight, the eight Republican candidates for president are set to focus on just that issue at the latest GOP debate to be held in the swing state of Michigan -- ground zero for the Great Recession.

Michigan maintains the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation at 11.1%, or roughly two percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate. The Midwestern state also continues to face a housing crisis. Michigan ranks in the top 10 for the highest number of foreclosures in the country, with 1 in every 322 homes in bank repossession, according to RealtyTrac.

But even before the 2008 financial crisis, Michigan, and specifically Detroit, had fallen on hard times.

In the last decade, the Motor City's population declined 25% due to a shift in the auto industry's manufacturing base. Today tens of thousands of residential properties lay vacant in Detroit, and the poverty rate is nearly double the national average. (See: The Incredible Shrinking City: Detroit Is Becoming a Ghost Town).

Ahead of tonight's debate, Yahoo! caught up with a few average American families who live in Detroit to find out what issues matter most to them and what they hope to hear this evening. The top issue for everyone we spoke with was clear -- jobs, jobs, jobs.

Danielle Carter: "I definitely hope they'll address the unemployment rate right now."

Marita Jarrett: "I hope that they address that there is a lack of jobs in Michigan."

Tim Pies: "I hope they address the job situation and how they are going to bring new jobs in here and what they are going to do to make sure these jobs stay here and that they are not just here for a year or so."

But to date, none of the eight GOP candidate have laid out a comprehensive job creation plan, says Holly Bailey, senior political reporter at The Ticket on Yahoo! News.

"They talk about jobs very generically, but nobody has released a specific proposal thus far," says Bailey. "Rick Perry basically points to his record in Texas and says, 'I created jobs there.' Mitt Romney points to the fact that he was a former CEO, as does Herman Cain ... . They have experience creating jobs in the private sector, but again [there's] not a lot of specifics."

Tell us what you think. Which GOP candidate is best suited to put America back to work again? Also be sure to visit Destination 2012, now and in the months ahead, for even more on next year's election.