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November 25, 2015


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Turnout nationwide dropped dramatically in 2012, from 62.3 in the 2008 cycle to a much lower 57.5. So Michigan's turnout crash, while dramatic, was not so unusual. If you make the reasonable assumption that 2008 turnout in Michigan picked up a couple of percentage points due to the auto industry bailout, then the subsequent adjustment is pretty much exactly what you'd expect.

Michigan is one of those odd states -- Wisconsin is another -- where large numbers of white voters consistently ticket-split, voting for a Democrat for President while swinging pretty hard Republican at the state level.

But anyway. As you correctly note, to win Michigan, a GOP candidate needs to both dramatically increase white turnout *and* get those white voters to vote strongly GOP. That second part actually seems harder in Michigan than in most purple or blue states. It gets even worse when you consider that Romney probably picked up a point or two in '12 from being a native son.

Never say impossible -- a lot could happen between now and next November. But it seems very, very unlikely. And when you say Trump is unorthodox, okay, but is he unorthodox in ways that would particularly appeal to Michiganders? Brief googling suggests that top issues include infrastructure and education -- not surprising in a rust belt midwestern state, but neither particular strengths for Trump.

I note in passing that about 2% of Michigan's white electorate consists of Muslims; the state has the second largest community in the US.

Doug M.

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