Republican nominee Donald Trump is polling within the margin of error in the state of Michigan, according to a newly released poll from the Detroit Free Press and WXYZ-TV.
Clinton led the same poll by 11 points at the end of July, and the new numbers revealed a steep dive in her popularity in the mitten state. The poll, conducted by Lansing-based EPIC-MRA for the Detroit newspaper and television station, still showed a slight Clinton lead, but one that was within the margin of error. Clinton leads Trump 38 percent to 35 percent according to the new poll, but that’s within the poll’s 4 point margin of error.
Clinton and Trump have both made fairly regular stops to the mitten state, with Trump having just visited Flint two days ago. The polling was conducted before Trump’s latest visit, but he clearly plans to make a strong play in Michigan, which has taken a thrashing in its manufacturing sector.
Just Thursday night, Trump excoriated Ford Motor Company for its plan to outsource its small car production from Wayne, Michigan (about 25 miles west of Detroit) to Mexico. Trumps message of anti-NAFTA and proposed tariffs on foreign products resonates with Michigan residents who have watched the decline of manufacturing up close in cities like Saginaw, Flint, Pontiac and Warren.
“The race is tightening a lot in Michigan,” Michigan pollster Bernie Porn told the Detroit Free Press. “It may be a function of the timing of the survey and her health questions, but there has been a shift toward Trump,” the pollster added.
Trump’s appeal to working class whites and blue collar workers should concern the Clinton campaign, as Michigan was a state they lost to Sanders in the primaries over issues such as trade and working class incomes. The GOP control nine of the 14 congressional seats, and a number of those seats will receive national attention and outside donors as competitive races, which should help Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. Republicans in Michigan also control the state legislature (both house and senate) and control the Governors mansion.
There have been reports that Trump has galvanized support among rank and file union members, despite top union bosses coming out in support for Clinton. The sporadic reports indicate that while Trump doesn’t have a majority support among union membership, he has significantly more than previous Republican candidates.
The most concerning report for Democratic party officials came from the AFL-CIO’s political organizing arm, Working America, which found that Trump trounced Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders among voting members who had firmly chosen a candidate.
In what may be the most contentious issue for Michigan voters is the Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade proposal that is considered the center piece of President Barack Obama’s pivot to Southeast Asia. Clinton previously supported the TPP, and once called it, “the gold standard in trade agreements.”
Clinton reversed her support for the deal during the Democratic primary against the socialist candidate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The insurgent candidate constantly accosted Clinton for her support from Wall Street and for supporting previous trade agreements such as NAFTA and CAFTA, which ultimately cost Clinton the Michigan primary to Sanders. Clinton asserts that she is now opposed to the TPP.
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