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Trump win in MI tightest in state history

President Donald Trump.
user Gage Skidmore
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President-elect Donald Trump won Michigan Tuesday by the narrowest margin in the state’s history.

Pollsters say rural and blue collar voters put Trump over the top by the narrowest of majorities – just over a quarter of a percentage point -- .27 percent. You’d have to go back to the 1940 election – Wendell Wilkie versus President Franklin Roosevelt – to find a margin nearly as close.

“Narrow margins, when losses happen like that, there was something that was missing from the campaign standpoint,” said Republican political consultant Matt Marsden. He says that means any small shift could have changed the outcome, including votes for the Libertarian and Green party candidates.      

“That is such a small margin that, therein, the third party candidates do impact the race and maybe it would have been different otherwise,” he said.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won three-point-six percent of the Michigan vote. The Green Party’s Jill Stein got one percent. A pollster for Trump says he won by appealing to blue collar and rural voters.

“We knew this was going to be a photo finish coming into Michigan because we knew that he was over-performing in rural areas, and blue collar areas, such as northern Michigan, mid-Michigan and Macomb County,” said John Yob, who did work for the Trump campaign.

Yob said the lesson for future elections, especially for Republicans, is to appeal to voters facing economic insecurity.

Unofficial Michigan president vote totals

Donald Trump (Republican)            2,277,914    47.6 percent

Hillary Clinton (Democrat)               2,264,807    47.3 percent

Gary Johnson (Libertarian)               172,726     3.6 percent   

Jill Stein (Green)                                  51,420      1 percent

Darrell L. Castle (US Taxpayers)         16,125      .34 percent

Emidio Mimi Soltysik (Natural Law)        2,231      .05 percent  

Source: Michigan Secretary of State

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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