Bush Leads in Michigan

News poll: Bush leads in Michigan (Detroit News)

President Bush has moved ahead of Democratic challenger John Kerry in Michigan, according to a Detroit News poll, but hasn’t reached the critical 50 percent support plateau — suggesting the state remains in contention as the presidential race draws to a close. In the initial installment of a poll that regularly will track voter sentiment in the final two weeks of the campaign, Bush held a 47 percent to 43 percent lead over the Massachusetts senator. The incumbent president’s lead is well within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. The statewide poll of 400 likely voters was taken Monday and Tuesday.

Most recent polls have shown Kerry with a narrow lead in Michigan. A Detroit News poll in June had the candidates virtually tied, with Bush at 44 percent and Kerry at 43 percent. “This poll clearly demonstrates that Michigan will be very close,†said Steve Mitchell, an East Lansing-based pollster who conducted the survey. “I am surprised; a lot of other polling has shown Kerry in the lead.â€

Michigan went for Democrat Al Gore four years ago and hasn̢۪t favored a Republican presidential candidate since the elder George Bush beat Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in 1988. This state is widely seen as one of 10 battleground states across the country. The winner claims Michigan̢۪s 17 electoral votes. Political experts say Kerry must take Michigan to win the election. Should Bush win a majority here, he̢۪ll likely cruise to a comfortable victory.

The survey also shows state ballot Proposal 2 defining marriage as strictly between one man and one woman winning easily, with a 67 percent to 24 percent margin.

Very interesting. It’s just one poll and I’m not going to get too excited about it just yet. The blowout in Proposal 2 is a very positive sign that Bush can take the state, though.

Update (1246): For some perspective, here are the most recent polls in Michigan from RealClear Politics:

Obviously, the Mitchell poll is the outlier–but it’s also much more recent than the other polls.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. BigFire says:

    This makes no sense whatsoever. Are we seeing a power play of Upper Michigan vs. Detroit?

  2. Rodney Dill says:

    Heh, well there are an awful lot of Packer fan’s in the UP. They may not have liked the Lambert Field statemment any better than any Wisconsin native. If Bush takes Michigan it’ll help me feel like my vote counted for something this time ’round.

  3. LarryA says:

    I don’t think I believe that poll. I’m praying for bad weather on Nov. 2

  4. Todd says:


    Living in Michigan, I feel the need to point out that it doesn’t break out as nicely as Detroit vs. Upper Penninsula (UP). Although, traditionally it is Detroit vs the rest of the state (Detroit being defined as anything South of Flint and East of Ann Arbor).

    I sooo want to believe this poll, and part of me is trying to rationalize these results with the influx of new BC04 adverts in SE Michigan. A week or two ago, I thought I read that BC04 pulled out a large chunk of their ad buy here. But the recent history of presidential elections runs counter to what I want.

    Who knows, maybe there’s an x-factor here that no one’s stumbled on yet. Thereby making the Mitchell survey an indicator not an outlier

  5. Rodney Dill says:

    Todd, The boundaries you’ve defined for SE Michigan are a little off politically. Though I would largely agree. I live in Macomb County, which while is south of Flint and East of Ann Arbor, has historically voted more Republican. I actually don’t remember how Macomb voted last election.

  6. dickd says:

    Wow, and I had such a low opinion of my dad’s home state! C’mon Michigan; maintain your common sense. I agree with the post above…that Kerry’s big mistake was to rename our football shrine as ‘Lambert’ field…I quickly imagined 100,000 more votes to offset Detroit’s inner city immediately. If Michigan has an actual margin of 67-24 on the marriage issue, I think the President has more solid votes than any poll will pick up on. If Michigan goes Dem, then I think Northern Michigan will secede and we here in Wisconsin will gladly accept them! ha ha ha