2017-09-14 / Columns

President Trump Polls Well Up North

Michigan Politics
By George Weeks

Donald Trump, who in 2016 was the first GOP presidential contender to carry Michigan since George Bush in 1988, now has problems in the state that ripple nationwide. However, he does well in polling Up North.

As Time Magazine wrote on September 4: “An NBC News/Marist poll found Trump with less than 40% in the three states on which his election hinged: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.”

On September 6, the Detroit Free Press reported that 62% of the 600 likely and active voters surveyed by EPIC-MRA of Lansing across the state have a negative view of Trump’s job performance. That was pretty much the firm’s same results in May when EPIC-MRA last asked the question.

The Detroit Free Press said that 56% of Michigan respondents believe that former Democratic President Barack Obama was a more effective leader, compared to 32% favoring Trump.

The Detroit Free Press said Trump had a negative rating in practically every region of the state (58% to 32% in metro Detroit) – except Up North, where he was 56% favorable and 37% unfavorable.

It said: “Even in typically Republican-friendly country in west Michigan, Trump’s unfavorable number (56%) was 20 percentage points higher than his favorable one.”

While Trump scored well among self-described Republicans (76%) and a mere 4% among Democrats, especially significant rating was the grim rating among all-important independents - 56% viewed him unfavorably; 27% favorably; 17% undecided.

I emphasize that polls, especially early ones, are not predictive. But I found this Detroit Free Press comment on latest polling by EPIC-MRI, a firm I have long quoted and viewed credible, worthy of note about the latest poll:

“Antipathy to Trump appeared to cross lines of age, race, education, and religion in Michigan, according to the poll, with majorities of each giving him unfavorable marks.

“The only demographic in which it was closer was among men, 48% of whom gave Trump unfavorable remarks compared to 43% who viewed his job performance favorably. Sixty-two percent of women gave him negative marks so far.”

In a subsequent poll, EPIC-MRI tested two potential 2018 contests for governor and found that former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer “would be in a virtual deadlock” with Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette if the election were held today.

But it won’t be held for more than a year, and there’s no guarantee that this will be the matchup.

George Weeks, a member of the Michigan Journal Hall of Fame, for 22 years was political columnist for The Detroit News and previously with UPI as Lansing bureau chief and foreign editor in Washington. His weekly Michigan Politics column is syndicated by Superior Features.

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