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March 7, 2016

Trump leads GOP field in Michigan; Democratic race close

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are basically neck and neck and Donald Trump leads among likely Republican voters in Michigan's March 8 presidential primary, according to a new Michigan State University survey.

Results from the winter State of the State Survey released by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research show competitive races. With 147 Democratic delegates and 59 Republican delegates, Michigan is the second-biggest prize to date, after Texas.

In the Democratic race, Clinton leads Sanders 51.9 percent to 46.9 percent, which is well within the margin of error. On the GOP side, Trump leads with 36.1 percent, followed by Ted Cruz at 19.5 percent, Marco Rubio at 18.1 percent and John Kasich at 8.9 percent.

"Well-known candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump developed early leads in their primary races. Bernie Sanders has gained ground on Clinton, but the Republican opposition to Trump has yet to consolidate behind a clear alternative," said Matt Grossmann, IPPSR director and political scientist.

The survey, in the field from Jan. 25 to March 3, changed substantially as voters recognized candidates other than Clinton and Trump after early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. Knowledge of the Sanders and Rubio candidacies grew, but Kasich gained the most in recognition and support.

In the Democratic race, Clinton did best with conservative voters and Sanders resonated with very liberal voters. Clinton also did better among racial minorities, women and older voters. Sanders had strong support among young people.

In the Republican race, Trump did best among talk radio listeners and those without college degrees. Very conservative voters supported Cruz. And Rubio did best among those with positive views of racial and religious minorities.

“Both parties have ideological and social group divisions, but the Democratic candidates’ different demographic coalitions are quite stark,” said Grossmann.

The cell phone and landline telephone survey interviewed 838 Michigan adults. The margin of error is 3.4 percent for the full survey, 5.8 percent among 290 likely Republican voters and 6.1 percent among 262 likely Democratic voters.

The State of the State Survey is a quarterly measure of the attitudes and opinions of Michiganders. It asks questions about consumer confidence, gubernatorial and presidential performance.

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