- Biden leads Trump and DeSantis in swing state Michigan by 3 and 6 points respectively.
- Trump won the state in 2016 and Biden flipped it back in 2020.
- The UAW strike could throw a major wrench into Biden’s efforts to boost the economy.
President Joe Biden currently leads former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Michigan, the Midwest battleground state key to his reelection chances next year.
In a poll conducted by Susquehanna Polling & Research that was first disclosed with The Hill, Biden led Trump by 3 points (46%-43%) and held a 6-point advantage (48%-42%) over DeSantis in the Wolverine State.
Biden also has some room to grow among Democrats, as he earned the support of 87% of Democrats in the poll, compared to the 90% of Republicans who said that they’d back Trump. (In the 2020 presidential race, 97% of Michigan Democrats backed Biden and 94% of Republicans supported Trump, according to CNN exit polling.)
The president also leads Trump 44%-37% among independent and unaffiliated voters, a critical bloc that in 2020 gave him strong margins in suburban Detroit and helped him win Kent County, home to Grand Rapids.
The survey offers some bright news for Biden, who has sought to appeal to the blue-collar, working-class votes who often play the decisive role in determining the outcome of statewide elections.
In 2016, Trump narrowly won Michigan over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a huge blow to Democrats as the party’s presidential nominees had carried the state in every election from 1992 to 2012. Biden flipped the state back into the Democratic column in 2020, winning by roughly 3% over Trump.
The state has largely been a bright spot for the party since the 2020 election.
Last year, Democrats swept the state up and down the ballot, with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, state Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson all winning reelection, while the party also captured full control of the state legislature. With the current Democratic stranglehold over state politics in Lansing, they’re looking to 2024, when Biden will be on the ballot and the party is looking to defend the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
But Democrats are experiencing some turbulence.
The United Auto Workers union is on strike against the “Big Three” automakers — Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis — after worker contracts expired late Thursday. At the moment, only three plants (a Ford factory in Wayne, Michigan; a GM assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri; and a Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio) have workers who have gone on strike as the union continues to push company leaders for higher wages and stronger benefits.
Biden, who calls himself “the most pro-union president in American history,” on Friday expressed sympathy for union workers and called on the companies to share their profits with workers.
“No one wants to strike,” Biden said during his remarks at the White House. “But I respect workers’ right to use their options under the collective bargaining system, and I understand the workers’ frustration.”
The strike has the potential to hurt the economy in a region where Biden has sought to highlight his work on the issue. The president has struggled in polling when it comes to voter sentiments on his handling of the economy, and he has aggressively pitched his economic message in recent months.
Biden on Friday dispatched acting Labor secretary Julie Su and White House economic advisor Gene Sperling “to offer their full support for the parties” in the contract talks.
Susquehanna Polling & Research polled 700 registered Michigan voters from September 7 through September 12; the survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.