Exit polling: Economy, candidate flaws concern Michigan voters

Posted at 6:45 PM, Nov 09, 2016

Donald Trump outperformed expectations in a tight race with Hillary Clinton in Michigan, where deep concerns about the economy and the character of both candidates prevented either from producing a clear victory.

Here's a look at results from exit polling conducted in Michigan by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks:


Only 47 percent of Michigan voters said they voted for someone they strongly supported, while 28 percent said they liked their candidate with reservations and 23 percent said they were motivated primarily by dislike for the opposition.

Voters had reservations about both candidates, with 59 percent rating Trump as unfavorable and 56 percent saying likewise about Clinton. Clinton was labeled dishonest by 64 percent and Trump by 63 percent.

While voters were about evenly divided over whether Clinton was qualified to serve as president, 59 percent said Trump was not — a position held by even 21 percent of his own supporters.


The economy weighed heavily on the minds of Michigan voters, with 52 percent describing it as the most important issue. Terrorism placed second at 19 percent, followed by foreign policy and immigration.

Voters were evenly divided over whether Clinton or Trump would better handle the economy. But 59 percent said the economy was "not so good" or poor, and two-thirds of those voters supported Trump.


Trump and Clinton benefited from gender gaps that largely offset each other. Clinton won a majority among women and Trump carried men.

But whites made up 75 percent of the electorate and 57 percent of those voters supported Trump, including 64 percent of white men and 51 percent of white women. Eighty percent of nonwhite voters backed Clinton.


Fifty-eight percent of Michigan voters were age 45 or older. That benefited Trump, who won that group, 52 percent to 45 percent. Voters under 45 favored Clinton, 51 percent to 41 percent.

Especially crucial was the 45-to-64 age group, which was nearly twice as large as any other and backed Trump, 52 percent to 44 percent.


Thirty-nine percent of voters said the most important quality for the next president was the ability to bring needed change, and 83 percent of them supported Trump. Clinton was favored by smaller groups favoring someone with the right experience, good judgment or who "cares about people like me."


Half of college graduates backed Clinton, compared to 44 percent for Trump. But among voters without a degree, who made up 58 percent of the electorate, Trump prevailed, 49 percent to 45 percent.

Clinton drew 53 percent support from voters with annual incomes below $50,000, while 51 percent of those earning more money — a bigger group — went with Trump.


Despite all the debates, advertising and other twists and turns in recent months, 61 percent of Michigan voters said they decided whom to vote for before September. Of those, 52 percent favored Clinton and 46 percent Trump. Of the 13 percent who decided in the last week, 50 percent backed Trump and 39 percent Clinton.


Barack Obama was popular in Michigan, with 54 percent approving of his performance and 45 percent disapproving. But 41 percent said the next president should be more conservative, while only 32 percent advocated continuing Obama's policies.

Seventy-one percent had a negative view of the federal government, and 58 percent of those voters supported Trump.


A majority of voters who attend religious services at least a few times a month supported Trump — particularly white evangelicals, who backed him 81 percent to 14 percent.

Trump drew the backing of 56 percent of married voters, who made up 59 percent of the electorate. Unmarried voters gave Clinton 58 percent support.


Forty-four percent said the 2010 health care law known as Obamacare went too far. Of those Michigan voters, 79 percent went with Trump. Large majorities of voters who said the law didn't go far enough or was about right favored Clinton.

Half the voters said trade with other countries takes away U.S. jobs, and 58 percent of them backed Trump. Thirty-one percent said trade creates jobs, with 65 percent of those voters supporting Clinton.


Asked whether immigrants help the nation, 54 percent agreed while 34 percent said they hurt. Sixty-seven percent said immigrants working illegally in the U.S. should be offered a chance to apply for legal status, while 27 percent favored deporting them.

The survey of 2,812 Michigan voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research. Voters were interviewed as they left a random sample of 45 precincts statewide Tuesday. Telephone interviews were conducted with 480 who voted early or absentee. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.