There’s a new poll out of Michigan yesterday and it shows President Trump getting crushed by Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
This poll sponsored by The Detroit News and WDIV-TV is broadly similar to other national and state polls. Biden is strongest – or in this case shares the title – and Warren and Harris are the weakest, though they still both beat Trump. The different in this case is that Biden and Sanders both poll the same, beating Trump by a 53% to 41% margin. Buttigieg is 47%-41%, Warren 47%-43%, Harris 47%-44%.
Whether this shows Sanders getting stronger in general or whether it’s Michigan specific or just polling noise isn’t clear. We still have as an open question whether the non-Biden/Sanders candidates are a bit behind because of relative name recognition or other obstacles.
In general though these are very bad numbers for the President in what is supposed to be the heartland of his support, at least relative advantage as a Republican. Obviously his true heartland is in the Deep South.
But it also points to the geographical contours of the 2020 election. If Democrats win Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Trump’s presidency is over. There’s lots of evidence that Trump is at a severe disadvantage in Michigan and Pennsylvania. The question is Wisconsin.
I think Democrats have many reasons to feel optimistic about Wisconsin. But it’s clearly a very different state in 2020 terms. The most significant thing that stands out to me is that Scott Walker came really close to holding on in the 2018 wave. Wisconsin is the unknown on which Trump’s presidency could very well stand or fall.
On that front, Ben Wikler, an old friend of mine, was just elected Chair of the Wisconsin state Democratic Party.
Of course, there are other potential swing states. There are the old ones of Ohio, Florid and North Carolina, though it’s unclear to me whether we should really consider Ohio and Florida swing states anymore. At a minimum they’re no longer the tipping point states they once were. Then there are the possible emerging swing states of Arizona or Georgia. But these remain significantly aspirational I’d say, at least Georgia does.
If Trump loses the industrial Midwest he’s very likely done. Two of the three states already seem all but outside his grasp.