Donald Trump is solidly the underdog in the general election in Michigan, according to a new poll released to Detroit news on Wednesday. The survey, conducted by the Glengariff Group, has likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton up by about 5 percent against Trump. Insurgent primary candidate and unlikely-but-possible general election opponent to Trump, Bernie Sanders, is up over the businessman by almost 20 percent according to the same poll.
The poll was conducted via telephone interview among 600 likely voters over the period of May 24 through May 26. The margin of error, that number by which the actual results may be off from those reported, is 4 percent. In the Trump versus Clinton match up, which had Clinton with 43 percent to Trump’s 38.5 percent, over 1 in 10 voters identified as undecided.
When recently chosen Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson was added to the polling, the numbers came out giving Clinton 36.8 percent, Trump 32.7 percent, and third party candidate Johnson a whopping 11.5 percent. Clinton’s lead under such a scenario is only at 4.1 percent, and the three-way race is the actual accurate general election scenario, since all 3 candidates will likely be on the ballot.
Such numbers, keeping in mind that the margin of error is just one tenth of one percent shy of Clinton’s supposed lead, shine a light into the volatility of the general election race. Certainly Clinton is the favored candidate to win, in both the Democratic primary and the general election, but the American political climate doesn’t actually show much concern for the favored candidate, on either side.
Trump was the farthest thing from ever being favored, but his “better for the party” opponents are long gone. Similarly, Clinton’s favorability with the establishment has only sparked further backlash against her candidacy, with a growing movement pledging to never vote for her. Just on Wednesday afternoon, the Twitter hashtag #NeverHillary was trending, and the Never Hillary/ Bernie or Bust movement shows little sign of stopping.
In addition, this year is gearing up to be a breakout year for the Libertarians, who seek to capitalize on both the obscene dissatisfaction with the two major parties and on the status of the two men topping their ticket, both former governors. Johnson pulls almost equally from Trump and Clinton in the Michigan poll, subtracting 6 percent from the former and 7 percent from the latter.
The Libertarians are perhaps the most potent force presenting themselves as an alternative to Trump and Clinton. Their candidate will likely be on the ballot in all 50 states, their ticket has already attracted the attention of a growing number of Political Action Committees, and the national party chair even said that the Libertarians were in talk with mega money men the Koch brothers.
Sure, the ascension of a third party to the national spotlight is basically unprecedented in American politics. But Clinton’s lead in supposedly solidly Democratic leaning Michigan being barely outside of the margin of error helps remind the viewers that this election cycle threw out precedent a long, long time ago.