Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican presidential field in Michigan, despite a tight race among Democratic contenders, according to the latest Monmouth University poll released Tuesday.
Trump leads the Republican pack with 49% of the vote, followed at a distant second place by Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 10%. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz comes in third with 8%, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson finished in fourth and fifth place with 7% and 6%, respectively.
The poll painted a different picture for the Democratic contests, with Hilary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders by just 5 points (48%-43%). Among Democratic-leaning voters, however, Sanders held a 10-point lead (50%-40%).
The Michigan primary, scheduled for March 8, is particularly important for Trump, who has been struggling in recent weeks to prove that he can win Midwestern states and also fend off both Cruz and even Kasich, who won the Ohio presidential primary.
Trump’s overwhelming popularity in Michigan marks a stark contrast to the majority of states that have gone to the polls so far, where the billionaire has won decisively but with a much narrower margin. The outcome of the primary should be telling about the level of support Trump has in Appalachia – an area where most Americans don’t live but is key to winning the White House.
Critics have said Trump’s candidacy has been characterized by vulgarity, bluster, and questionable policy proposals. Yet despite this, Trump appears to be icing out the establishment candidates in the Midwest – an intriguing twist for the presumptive Republican nominee.
The Monmouth poll surveyed 447 Michigan voters, and was conducted from March 8-11. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6%. The bottom line: the key Michigan primary will provide voters with a good understanding of the national trends in the Republican and Democratic elections – and whether they speak in favor of Trump or his opponents.