Of all the battleground states that flipped from blue to red four years ago, Michigan still appears most likely to swing back to supporting the Democratic nominee.
Recent polls have brought Biden’s average lead down to about 6.5-percentage points, but that’s still larger than the apparent edge Hillary Clinton had headed into the election four years ago. The latest Detroit Free Press poll had Biden ahead of Trump 48%-41% going into the final weekend. Four years ago, Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes — or about two-tenths of 1% of the vote.
Still, Trump is campaigning like someone who believes he can win in Michigan, holding rallies over the last couple of weeks in Muskegon, Lansing, and on Friday, in Oakland County outside Detroit. If he can cut into Biden’s apparent edge in the suburbs, it could make a difference. Trump also planned three more trips in the final days of the campaign, including a Monday night rally in Grand Rapids, where he finished his successful 2016 campaign.
Biden, meanwhile, hasn’t been taking the state for granted either, with stops in Grand Rapids, Southfield (in Oakland County) and Detroit. On Saturday, he went to Flint and returned to Detroit with his old boss, former President Barack Obama, to campaign. They urged voters who hadn’t yet cast their absentee ballots to do so in person at drop off locations or at the polls.
Democrats also have been blitzing the state with TV ads, with some 18,100 spots running in Michigan’s media markets between Oct. 12-25, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, an effort at Wesleyan University in Connecticut to track campaign spending. That compares to about 5,700 pro-Trump/anti-Biden spots during the same period. Together, the campaigns and their allies have spent nearly $18.6 million on ads during the period, with more being spent only in Florida and Pennsylvania.
No one is certain how election night will go, with more than 2.6 million absentee ballots having been returned, an unprecedented number. The Michigan Secretary of State’s Office has been working with local clerks to try to help them get ready to process such a huge number but has warned it could be days before a final tally is known.
Unless another court intervenes, clerks need to receive absentee ballots by 8 p.m. on Election Day. However, a court overturned an earlier ruling giving clerks up to two weeks to count ballots as long as they were postmarked the day before the election.
— Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press
Real Clear Politics polling average