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Release: Winning Where it Matters: New Survey Probes Opinion in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania

Washington, D.C. – Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania put Donald Trump over the top in the Electoral College in 2016. Turning those states blue again should be a top strategic priority for those working to unseat Trump in 2020.

In recognition of their pivotal status, the Progressive Policy Institute commissioned Democratic pollster and strategist Pete Brodnitz to take a deep dive into voter attitudes in these three battleground states. His Expedition Strategies poll also focuses on swing voters, including those who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016.

The report sheds light on key issues likely to be on the minds of Michigan voters in next Tuesday’s presidential primaries. It finds that progressives have some arguments that resonate in Michigan and the other two states — particularly their critique of how wealth is accumulating at the top and the need for wealthy individuals and companies to pay more in taxes. 

On the other hand, battleground voters approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, with swing voters being especially positive. And the progressive push for Medicare for All is generally unpopular in these states, and has the potential to turn what should be the single best Democratic strength into a liability. To illustrate the danger here – one in four Democrats (24%) “fear” a Democratic push for a government-run health care system more than they fear Republican efforts to “kill Obamacare.”

“It’s health care, stupid,” said PPI President Will Marshall of the issue voters in these states identify as their top concern. “The key for Democrats is to shift voter attention from the Medicare for All sideshow to the Trump Republicans’ continuing assault on Obamacare and Medicaid,” he added. 

By better than 2-1 (69-31%), battleground voters favor changes that build on the current, public-private health insurance  system to a single, government-run health plan. That’s true of Democrats too, who favor the former by a solid, 18-point margin. 

Among voters generally, Democrats have an eight-point advantage on handling health care. Among swing voters, however, they have an eight-point deficit. And by 52-48, all voters say they are more worried about Democratic calls for a government-run health care system than Republican efforts to kill Obamacare.

Here are other relevant findings as the presidential contest moves to Michigan and then Wisconsin and Pennsylvania:  

  • By a whopping 72 points, (86-14%), all battleground voters say the U.S. is better off when we encourage trade, and by more than 2-1, they say the same about trade agreements. 
  • In Michigan, voters by a 24-point margin agree that trade agreements make the United States better off. 
  • Only eight percent of voters in the three battleground states consider climate change the most important issue.
  • Only 30 percent of voters favor an immediate ban on fracking for natural gas, while 70 percent do not favor such a ban.
  • Asked to name the biggest economic risk if Trump wins re-election, most voters choose “the wealthy will get richer and the rest left out.”
  • Battleground state Voters here strongly favor a national industrial strategy to create more manufacturing jobs in the United States
  • By a huge margin, (70-30%), voters see tech companies “as examples of America’s great strengths in innovation and entrepreneurship” rather than as companies that have “grown too big and powerful and need to be broken up.”
  • Voters strongly prefer tougher regulation to dismantling big tech companies.
  • By a wide margin (69-31%), battleground voters would prefer to spend more to help Americans without college degrees get higher skills and better jobs rather than making all colleges tuition-free
  • Voters favor an innovative PPI idea — a change in Social Security that would award benefits based on how many years a person worked rather than how much they earned throughout their career (69-31%)

This poll surveyed 1,500 registered voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and was conducted February 6-18, 2020.

Read the full analysis from PPI President Will Marshall here


Full polling results can be found here


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