There may be no better symbol for the demise of American manufacturing than Michigan, home of Detroit and the once powerful American auto industry, now depleted and a shadow of its former self. This should place Michigan squarely in Trump’s crosshairs. However, instead, Clinton has been reliably ahead of Trump in Michigan going into election day.
One has to look pretty far back into Michigan’s polling history to see any sign that the state was competitive. In the 21 general election polls in the state collected by RealClearPolitics, Clinton leads in all of them, with her narrowest margin being three points, and her widest being 13. Still, in the last few weeks polls have tightened in Michigan somewhat. Moreover, though Clinton still enjoys a healthy margin, it is difficult to predict how much the FBI's investigation of additional emails related to the Clinton private server probe will influence future polls — and, more importantly, how voters will ultimately be swayed on Election Day.
Michigan has been a reliably blue state for the last quarter-century; the last time it went for a Republican was when George H.W. Bush ran against Michael Dukakis in 1988. Obama won the state by 9.5 points in 2012, and by over 16 points in 2008. Despite the demographics that would seem to favor Trump’s populist message targeted at a struggling white working class, Trump is poised to lose the state on Tuesday.
Still, the Trump campaign had been optimistic about Michigan, given the fact that Trump won the state in the GOP primary in March. Still, thus far, Trump has remained fairly consistently behind Clinton.
There are any number of reasons for this lag. For one, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder refused to endorse Trump for the primary or for the general election, saying “I’ve got important things I want to work on in Michigan.”
Other support from the state’s GOP apparatus has been tepid as well. In an article in Politico, former Michigan Republican Party chairman Saul Anuzis hypothesized about Trump’s deficits, especially in Republican strongholds like Western Michigan. “It does not surprise me that there's some apprehension about Trump [in Western Michigan],” Anuzis said, “because it's not their kind of style.”
“The Dutch Reform kind of West Michigan style is much more like Mike Pence,” Anuzis added. “It's more reserved, it's more quiet. If you look at the west side politicians, they're more deliberate, they're more quiet, they're more reserved, they're more Dutch.”
Trump’s continued comments about inner cities also may have turned off Michigan voters, especially those living in embattled Detroit.
On Tuesday, pending some kind of dramatic upset in the race, you can likely expect to see Michigan go for Clinton, continuing it’s legacy of Democratic support.