Two days before the most anticipated presidential election in recent history, President Donald Trump appears to need another last-minute come-from-behind surge to win Michigan with a new Free Press poll showing him 7 percentage points behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
The poll of 600 likely voters in Tuesday’s election, done by EPIC-MRA of Lansing for the Free Press and its outstate media partners, shows Biden, the former vice president, with the support of 48% of those surveyed. That’s the same as in the firm’s previous three statewide polls going back through September.
Trump, meanwhile, has seen his level of support inch up from the last poll by 2 percentage points to 41%, suggesting there may be a narrowing of the race as both candidates blitz the state with campaign events and ads in an all-out effort to win. Biden and former President Barack Obama were in Flint and Detroit on Saturday; Trump, after visiting Waterford on Friday, was headed to Washington Township in Macomb County on Sunday, and to Traverse City and Grand Rapids on Monday as part of an aggressive last day of campaigning.
Michigan, along with Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, helped propel Trump to an Electoral College victory and the White House in 2016 as he became the first Republican to win all of those states together since Ronald Reagan in 1984. It is no less of a battleground this year. Trump’s victories in 2016 entitled him to 306 Electoral College votes, compared with 232 for Hillary Clinton. But without wins of less than 1% of the vote in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that gave him 46 Electoral College votes, he wouldn’t have had the 270 needed to win the presidency.
“People are starting to finally wake up,” said Dave Demopoulos, a 42-year-old truck driver and Trump supporter in Mount Clemens, who said he is confident Trump will win again. “We can’t just trust what the media is telling us.”
Four years ago, Trump — who had trailed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by as many as 10 points in early October in polls done for the Free Press — closed that gap to 4 points the weekend before the election. That was equal to that survey’s margin of error, which is the same as this one’s.
Trump ended up defeating Clinton by 10,704 votes, or about two-tenths of 1%, in what was the closest win he had that year.
Given the larger lead for Biden in this poll and others, as well as the consistent lead Biden has held over Trump in the state all year, a win by Trump in the state would validate his and his supporters’ insistence that the polls have been wrong all along. It would also prove the resilience of an unorthodox president whose favorability ratings have lagged throughout his first term in office and who has served during a pandemic that has left the economy shaken and more than 228,000 Americans dead.
Biden remains 7 points up on Trump
The final Free Press poll of the presidential campaign showed Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s level of support in Michigan unchanged, though President Donald Trump saw his backing increase by 2 percentage points days ahead of the Nov. 3 election.