New poll shows how embracing Trump could backfire in Michigan

click to enlarge President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Battle Creek in 2019. - MAX ELRAM, SHUTTERSTOCK
Max Elram, Shutterstock
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Battle Creek in 2019.

Less than a third of likely Michigan voters view former President Donald Trump favorably, a decline that could spell trouble for his zealous supporters running for office, according to a new Detroit News/WDIV poll.

At 31%, Trump’s diminishing favorability rating comes at a time when Republican candidates are embracing the former president and his baseless conspiracy theories. The state GOP has also hitched its wagon to the Trump train.

At the state level, Republicans are trying to win back the positions of governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the November general election. Republicans are also hoping to maintain control of the state House and Senate, but that won’t be easy after a bipartisan commission in December redrew districts that were previously gerrymandered to favor the GOP.

After Trump narrowly won Michigan in 2016, he lost the state to Joe Biden 51% to 48%.

If Republicans continue to fully embrace Trump, they could alienate a lot of voters, David Dulio, a political science professor at Oakland University, tells Metro Times.

"They are going to lose and be in the minority for years if they try to shut out moderate Republicans," Dulio tells Metro Times. "In a (swing) district, they are going to lose if they run a hardcore Trump supporter against an establishment Democrat. If that happens, Democrats will be in the majority in the state House and Senate."

So far, the strategy by the Michigan GOP has been to back Trump loyalists and spread lies about the election.

During a convention later this year, Republican delegates will select the candidates for secretary of state and attorney general. Trump has already endorsed candidates for both positions.

For attorney general, Trump is backing Matthew DePerno, who has pushed baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud and called Republican lawmakers "cowards" for not demanding a statewide audit.

For secretary of state, Trump has endorsed Kristina Karamo, an Oak Park educator with no political experience and who has falsely claimed the former president won Michigan in 2020, incorrectly insisting there was "overwhelming evidence" of election fraud in Michigan. She even traveled to Arizona in June to examine that state Republican Party's election audit, which in September reaffirmed Biden's victory and contradicted claims about fraud.

A lot has changed since the presidential election. Courts, local and state election officials, and even members of Trump’s administration have said there was no widespread fraud.

Then came Jan. 6, when rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Fourteen Michigan residents were among those arrested for participating in the siege.

A similar poll in October 2020 found that 40% of likely Michigan voters had a favorable view of Trump.

In the new poll, 56% of likely Michigan voters said they viewed Trump unfavorably, and 12% said they had no opinion. Among independent voters, 56% had unfavorable views of Trump, while 20% viewed him favorably.

If Trump decides to run for president in 2024, he’ll face a lot of opposition, and Michigan is an important swing state.

For now, it's not looking good for Trump and his loyalists.

Stay connected with Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Google News, Apple News, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Reddit.

About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles
Join the Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.