GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – While Donald Trump may get the most primary votes among Republican presidential candidates, he’s not winning the popularity contest, a new Michigan GOP 2016 Presidential Primary poll commissioned by WOOD TV8 finds.
Of the 400 voters surveyed, 29 percent said if the election were held today they would lean toward voting for Trump. Ted Cruz came in second place (19 percent), followed by Marco Rubio (18 percent), John Kasich (8 percent) and Ben Carson (8 percent). Of those surveyed, 63 percent said they were very certain about who they would vote for; 18 percent said they may be swayed to vote differently.
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Trump was also heavily favored by Michiganders who have already voted in the Republican presidential primary. Among absentee voters, the Republican presidential candidate took 45 percent of the vote. Rubio came in second among absentee voters at 14 percent, followed by Cruz (10 percent), Kasich (5 percent) and Carson (2 percent). However, 24 percent of absentee voters were either undecided on which Republican candidate to vote for, or refused to answer the question.
BREAKING DOWN THE VOTES
When broken down by age, Epic-MRA found the older the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Trump. Among those surveyed who were age 50 or older, 32 percent said they were voting for Trump, followed by Rubio and Cruz, at 17 percent each. In comparison, Cruz was the top pick for voters age 18-49 at 24 percent, followed by Trump (22 percent) and Rubio (19 percent).
The favored candidate also depends on where you live. In West Michigan, Cruz was the top contender at 33 percent; Trump led in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties (39 percent), as well as central Michigan (29 percent), northern Michigan (26 percent) and the outer metro-Detroit area (24 percent). Rubio led the Bay County area with 21 percent.
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While Trump may get the votes, Michigan GOP voters held the lowest opinion of him. Less than half of those surveyed (48 percent) held a favorable opinion of the billionaire businessman, while 43 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of him. One out of every three voters surveyed said they had an unfavorable opinion of Cruz, followed by Marco Rubio (26 percent) and John Kasich (24 percent).
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Among the Republican candidates, voters had the highest opinion of Ben Carson, with 72 percent of those surveyed saying they had a favorable opinion of the neurosurgeon, who announced Wednesday he did not see a political path forward in light of the Super Tuesday results. Only 19 percent held an unfavorable opinion of Carson. Rubio was also held in high regard by 65 percent of surveyed voters, followed by Cruz (57 percent) and Kasich (54 percent).
SHOULD MUSLIMS BE BANNED?
Of those surveyed, 61 percent said they agreed with Trump’s plan to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States until the country has a better handle on efforts by ISIS or Al-Qaeda to infiltrate our nation with trained terrorists. A total of 32 percent disagreed with the proposal to some degree.
FREE COLLEGE FOR ALL?
A total of 82 percent of surveyed voters said they disagreed with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ $75 billion plan to provide free college tuition to all by taxing stock market trades, bond transactions and other trading. On the flip side, 13 percent said they agreed with the proposal.
PEOPLE BEHIND THE SURVEY
Of those surveyed for the poll, 67 percent identified as conservative, while 24 percent claimed to be moderate. Two percent identified as liberal.
The majority, 81 percent, said they were Republican. More people claimed to be independent or did not identify with a party (16 percent) than Democrats (3 percent).
A majority of those surveyed (54 percent) said they supported the Tea Party, while 19 percent opposed the movement.
A total of 71 percent of surveyed voters said they were pro-life, while 23 percent said they were pro-choice.
The survey was conducted between Feb. 27 and Feb 29, 2016. The margin of error is 4.9 percent.