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Big name politicians are campaigning in Michigan, but are they effective?

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

As Election Day draws near, big name national politicians are coming to Michigan to campaign for local candidates. 

Former President Barack Obama is scheduled to stump for votes for Michigan Democrats Friday evening. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to do the same for Republicans next week. Other big name Republicans and Democrats have visited Michigan in recent days. 

Arnold Weinfeld is the interim director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University. He says these events are all about pumping up each’s party’s political base.

“It’s not a method by which to change hearts and minds,” says Weinfeld.

There’s also another benefit for state and local politicians tired of the long campaign trail: basking in the generally positive light of a national figure.  

Matt Grossman is another MSU political scientist.  

He says bringing in a national figure helps elevate state candidates in the eyes of voters. 

“Voters are paying more attention to national media than local media,” says Grossman, “They are learning more about national issues and less about local issues.”

But analysts agree campaigning with a well-known national figure can be a double-edged sword, potentially rallying their opponent’s political base.

So far, there’s no word as to whether President Trump will make a campaign stop in Michigan before the November 6th election.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.