Even before the 2018 election, Michigan appeared to be trending to blue and ready to seek political change, Michigan State University’s State of the State podcasters said in their latest online broadcast edition.
Podcasters Arnold Weinfeld, interim director of MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, and MSU economist Charles Ballard reviewed the latest results from the State of the State Survey and the mood of Michigan adults just before the nation’s Nov. 6 mid-term elections.
In responding to land and cellphone calls from the State of the State Survey (SOSS), and through their votes, Michigan residents favored Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer and incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow. The SOSS results also showed strong support for ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana, draw new voting districts, and allow election-day voter registration. All three initiatives passed easily.
When asked about the race for Michigan Attorney General between Democrat Dana Nessel and Republican Tom Leonard, the responses to SOSS indicated that the contest was a statistical dead heat. Ultimately, Nessel won the office.
SOSS results indicated that Republicans favored Schuette by 85 percent to 13 percent, while Democrats favored Whitmer 97-2.
The overall preference for Whitmer reflects a women’s wave, said Ballard, who directs the State of the State Survey. Men narrowly favored Schuette, But he was “clobbered by almost 20 points among women,” Ballard said during the State of the State podcast.
SOSS is hosted by MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, a policy and research unit within the College of Social Science. Calls are made by IPPSR’s Office for Survey Research, which offers a broad array of survey and data collection services for MSU faculty, students, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations.
The analysis reflects the responses to interviews carried out between Oct. 15 and the November vote.
In Michigan’s U.S. Senate race, SOSS respondents who identified themselves as Republicans favored John James, a Republican, by 94-6; Democrats favored incumbent Stabenow 95-4.
Those who identified themselves as likely GOP voters, favored attorney general candidate Leonard by 97 percent to 2 percent. Democrats favored Nessel by 91 percent to 9 percent, while Independents favored Nessel 49-46.
In other SOSS questions, Michigan adults were asked if President Donald Trump’s endorsement of a candidate would make a difference. Among Republicans, 78 percent would favor Trump-endorsed candidates. Democrats rejected a Trump recommendation by 93 percent to 2 percent. Among all respondents, 32 percent said they’d follow the president’s endorsements.
Trump’s strategy is to appeal to the Republican base, Ballard noted. However, it appears that “he also rallies the opposition.”
The survey also asked if an endorsement by former President Barack Obama would make a difference. “Overwhelmingly Democrats favored Obama,” said Ballard. “Republicans… weren’t as strong. The strength of the views on the Democratic side was one of the big stories of this election, not just in Michigan but nationally.”
November’s Democratic advances came with a strong economy, Ballard observed. “You would think that would go to the advantage of the incumbent party. It didn’t work out that way.”
SOSS respondents were also asked if they favored a shutdown to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation and if they supported a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. SOSS respondents opposed both.
IPPSR 's State of the State Podcast is broadcast over MSU Today, airing Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on 105.1 FM and AM 870. It’s also featured on radio stations on the air and over the internet, on SoundCloud at http://soundcloud.com/stateofthestatepodcast, over ITunes, on Facebook, Twitter, and the IPPSR website at ippsr.msu.edu as part of the Michigan Policy Wonk blog.