Trump near top of pack in Michigan, Clinton leads GOP field

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest Michigan poll finds a four way cluster at the top of the Republican field- Scott Walker’s at 15%, with Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, and Donald Trump all right behind at 14%. Marco Rubio at 9%, Mike Huckabee at 8%, Chris Christie and Ted Cruz at 5%, and Rand Paul at 4% also all make the top 9. Rounding out the field are Carly Fiorina and John Kasich at 3%, Rick Santorum at 2%, Lindsey Graham and Rick Perry at 1%, and Bobby Jindal and George Pataki with less than 1%.

It’s interesting to note that Trump is in the top tier despite having an underwater favorability rating at 41/44. What he has going for him is that much more so than for most of the rest of the field, the people who do like him also say he’s their first choice for the nomination. 

Bush leads the field with both moderates (getting 19% to 10% each for Christie, Huckabee, and Walker) and with those identifying themselves as ‘somewhat conservative’ (getting 21% to 15% for Walker, 13% for Carson, and 10% for Trump.) The reason Bush doesn’t lead overall though is that he continues to really struggle with voters on the right. Among ‘very conservative’ voters his favorability is 34/46, and he is in only 6th place with them at 6%. The candidates who are doing the best on the right are Walker at 23%, Trump at 18%, and Carson at 17%. Their strength with that segment of the electorate allows them to catch up to Bush overall.

Carson has the best favorability among Republicans in Michigan at 57/14, followed closely by Walker at 55/16. Rubio at 53/20 and Huckabee at 52/31 are the others with greater than 50% favorability ratings. As he enters the race today Christie continues to be by far and away the most unpopular of the Republican hopefuls. Only 25% see him favorably to 54% who have a negative opinion. The dislike of Christie is nothing ideological- moderates (26/49), ‘somewhat conservative’ voters (28/53), and ‘very conservative’ voters (17/66)- alike have very dim views of him.

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton leads with 57% to 25% for Bernie Sanders, 5% for Lincoln Chafee, 2% for Jim Webb, and 1% for Martin O’Malley. The numbers show that there are places beyond New Hampshire where Sanders is getting significant levels of support, but at the same time he’s still trailing by 32 points. Clinton is polling over 70% with African Americans, over 60% with women, and over 50% with liberals, moderates, whites and voters in every age group. The only group she doesn’t get a majority with is men at 48%.

Clinton also leads the entire Republican field for the general election by margins ranging anywhere from 3 to 10 points. Her average lead of 7 points is a little less than what Barack Obama won the state by in 2012 but a good deal more than the 3 point win John Kerry had in the state in 2004. The Republican who comes closest to Clinton is Rand Paul, who lags by 3 points at 45/42. Next best are Scott Walker who trails by 4 at 46/42 and Mike Huckabee who’s down by 5 at 47/42.

On the other side of the equation the Republicans who do the worst against Clinton, each trailing by 10 points at 49/39, are Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Also in that bottom range are Jeb Bush who’s down by 9 at 47/38, and Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina who are each down by 8 at 49/41 and 46/38 respectively. Chris Christie and Marco Rubio, each trailing by Clinton by 6 at 44/38 and 46/40 respectively come down in between.

While Clinton leads the entire Republican field in Michigan, none of the rest of her Democratic counterparts lead Scott Walker in hypothetical contests in the state. Walker leads Bernie Sanders by 4 at 39/35, Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee by 5 at 37/32 and 36/31 respectively, and Jim Webb by 7 at 38/31.

Full results here

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