Second Michigan Poll Shows Trump Even Farther Behind, Biden Lead at 16 Points

June 17, 2020by Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press (TNS)
Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about the unrest across the country from Philadelphia City Hall on June 2, 2020, in Philadelphia, Pa. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

DETROIT — The damage done to President Donald Trump’s standing in Michigan following recent protests outside the White House and in cities across the U.S. may have been even greater than originally believed, a new poll released to the Free Press said Tuesday.

Two weeks ago, EPIC-MRA of Lansing, a polling firm that does work for the Free Press, released a survey showing former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, leading Trump 53%-41% in Michigan, a 12-point edge.

But a second poll, started on May 31, a day after the first poll began, and concluded a day later than the first poll, on June 4, showed Biden leading Trump 55%-39% in Michigan, a 16-point margin. As it did for the first poll, EPIC-MRA surveyed 600 randomly selected likely voters for the second one, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The second poll also showed:

The percentage of Michiganders surveyed who believe the country is headed in the wrong direction increased from 63% in the first survey to 70% in the second.

The percentage who believe the U.S. is headed in the right direction fell from 30% to 22%.

The percentage of those with a negative view of Trump as president rose from 56% to 61%, as the percentage of those with a positive view fell from 42% to 38%.

While the same number, 51%, said they would vote to replace Trump in November, the percentage saying they would vote to reelect him fell, from 38% to 33%.

The percentage of those saying they would consider voting for someone other than the president rose from 8% to 13%.

While it’s not known for certain what caused the change, the second survey added a day of polling in the immediate aftermath of law enforcement and military personnel on June 1 forcefully clearing peaceful protesters from a public square outside the White House. They used pepper spray and smoke canisters to move the crowd so Trump could have his photo takenholding a Bible outside St. John’s Church, which had been damaged in another protest.

“Things that happen in the news are what typically cause changes like this and the only thing you can point to that happened in the news was what happened on June 1,” said Bernie Porn, pollster for EPIC-MRA. “I attribute the dramatic slide to more saturation of that news coverage.”

Trump took widespread criticism for the photo op, as he did for other comments he made about using military forces in American cities to put down protests held in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man who died after a police officer in Minneapolis held him to the ground with his knee on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. A recent USA Today poll showed the clearing of the square to be a defining moment for many Americans and a large majority putting more trust in the Black Lives Matter movement to promote justice and racial equality than Trump.

The new poll comes as questions are already beginning to be asked as to whether Trump, who won Michigan by a scant two-tenths of 1 percentage point over Hillary Clinton four years ago, can do so again and whether its status as a battleground state is up in the air.

The new poll was not commissioned by the Free Press.

EPIC-MRA conducted the second poll because several of its other clients, which include but are not limited to the news media, had commissioned too many questions for it to put in one survey. As part of the second survey, however, the polling firm still asked questions about the upcoming election and the mood of those surveyed regarding the president as it had in the first survey.

The second poll had the same breakdown of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (43%), Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (38%) and independents who say they don’t typically lean toward either party (11%) as the first poll.

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©2020 Detroit Free Press

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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