GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new poll taken after the first presidential debate restores former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comfortable lead among voters in Michigan.
The EPIC-MRA poll released Thursday morning shows 46 percent of voters would choose the Democratic candidate if the election was held immediately. In a two-way race, her Republican opponent, billionaire businessman Donald Trump, got only 36 percent of the vote. That put Clinton’s lead well outside the plus or minus 4 percent margin of error.
In the four-way race, Clinton and Trump both took a slight hit, with 43 and 32 percent respectively. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson garnered 10 percent of the vote and Green Party candidate Jill Stein came away with 3 percent. Twelve percent remained undecided.
THE EFFECT OF THE DEBATE
Six hundred people across Michigan were surveyed in the poll between Oct. 1 and Oct. 3, several days after Clinton and Trump met for their first debate.
Of the 75 percent of respondents who said they watched that debate, 61 percent said Clinton won. Twelve percent gave Trump the win, a combined 21 percent said it was either a tie or no one won, and 4 percent were undecided. However, 71 percent said the debate did not make them more or less likely to vote for either candidate. Twenty-two percent said it made them more likely to vote for Clinton, while 6 percent said they were more likely to vote for Trump.
WHY VOTERS ARE CHOOSING A CANDIDATE
Among the reasons voters provided for why they were voting for Clinton were her experience (15 percent) and agreeing with her stance on the issues (9 percent), as well as her temperament (6 percent) and her qualifications (5 percent), among other things. Nine percent simply said they were voting against Trump, others volunteering that they think he is dishonest or unqualified (both 5 percent), or insane, unintelligent or scary (all 4 percent), as well as other reasons.
But overall, 53 percent of people said they were voting for Clinton rather than just against Trump. Thirty-six percent said they were voting against Trump. 10 percent said they were both voting for Clinton and against Trump. Similarly, about 50 percent of people said they were voting for Trump rather than against Clinton. Thirty-nine percent said they were voting against Clinton and 9 percent said they were doing both.
When asked why they were choosing Trump over Clinton, voters cited his non-political or business background (12 percent), said they wanted a change (10 percent), agreed with him on issues (8 percent) or because of Supreme Court nominations (4 percent), among other responses. Reasons given that were specifically negative about Clinton were much less varied than the negative responses about Trump: 38 percent said it’s because they think she is a liar, crook or criminal.
>>PDF: EPIC-MRA poll
THE NATION AND MICHIGAN
A majority 60 percent of people polled said the country was headed in the wrong direction, while only 30 percent said it was headed in the right direction. There was a statistical split, however, in how people thought President Barack Obama was performing in his job — 50 percent negative and 49 percent positive.
It was a statistical split on whether poll respondents thought Michigan was on the right track, with 45 percent saying it is and 44 saying it isn’t — well within the poll’s margin of error. Eleven percent were undecided or refused to answer. But respondents were much more clear in what they thought of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. He got a 66 percent negative response and only a 32 percent positive response.
Respondents said the issue that concerned Michigan voters the most was improving the economy (with 23 percent ranking that as their top concern), followed by improving education (14 percent), national security and terrorism (10 percent) and stagnant wages and the rising cost of living (10 percent), with several other responses coming in at 5 percent or less.
BEHIND THE SURVEY
The majority of those surveyed, 80 percent, identified as white. 11 percent identified as black and 2 percent as Latino.
A total of 42 percent identified as Democrats and 35 percent Republicans. 21 percent said they were independent. However, 35 percent described themselves as conservative, 36 percent moderate and 20 percent liberal.