According to a memo obtained by MIRS, written by Republican micro-targeting firm Deep Root Analytics, MI-1, MI-7 and MI-11 are among the Top 10 House seats with a high proportion of “reluctant Republican” voters.
The research firm — whose expertise is using data to determine more efficient ad buys — defines “reluctant Republican” as “down-ballot Republicans who have concerns about the top of their party’s ticket in 2016,” resulting in a “likely ticket-splitter.”
When it comes to traditional Democratic voters in 56 select congressional districts, MI-1 and MI-7 came in at No. 1 and No. 2 as far as the highest percentage of “disaffected” Democrats — meaning 23 percent of Dem voters in MI-1 and 20 percent of Dem voters in MI-7 have enough concerns about Clinton that they’ve been flagged as “likely ticket splitters.”
MI-11 in Oakland and Wayne counties ranked No. 4 in the country with 19 percent of Republican disaffected voters. MI-7 in southern Michigan ranked 7th with 16 percent of disaffected Republican voters. MI-1 ranked 10th with 14 percent.
The number of voters splitting their tickets has waned nationwide in recent presidential elections, indicating the weight the top of the ticket carries among voters. In Michigan, with straight ticket voting likely remaining in place this year, the top of the ticket has become a concern for Republicans running in certain districts where Trump has not played well.
The data shows Clinton is more unpopular with Democrats in the Upper Peninsula/Northern Michigan-based MI-1 than Trump is unpopular among Republicans by 9 percentage points.
In MI-7, the percentages of disaffected Democrats and Republicans is close, separated by 4 percentage points.
But in the 11th, a district that has not been on the radar of many political observers because Republicans enjoyed a 57 percent base number in 2014, the gap between Republicans disaffected by Trump and Democrats disaffected by Clinton is 12 percentage points.
Michigan’s other 11 congressional districts were included in this report.
“My take is this, Trump is the culmination of a process that has been going on for 100 years . . . Trump is kind of making it into a crisis for the Republican Party,” said political consultant Mark GREBNER of Practical Political Consultants. “The people that are intelligent and read and write . . . to the extent that people are governed by knowledge and truth, the Republican Party is becoming less and less attractive to them. It’s a very fuzzy probabilistic thing, but more and more of those people are becoming Democrats. There was a time not long ago you could say almost every doctor was a Republican.”
Grebner said in his view, it’s not terribly surprising in the 11th and 7th districts, where the voter demographic is more affluent and educated that Republican voters would shy away from Trump, putting the seats in play for Democrats.
In the 11th district, a seat currently held by U.S. Rep. David TROTT (R-Birmingham), 19 percent of the district is indexed as reluctant Republican.
Interestingly the Trott campaign sent out a release hitting Democratic challenger Anil KUMAR for his ties to former Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM‘s administration earlier this week.
“Jennifer Granholm ruined this state as Governor with the highest unemployment and worst job creation record of any modern Governor,” wrote Trott campaign spokesperson Stu SANDLER in a release sent out earlier this week. “Granholm also gave Anil Kumar $6 million worth of Medicaid funding as a special interest handout, but even that didn’t prevent Kumar from laying off hundreds of employees and bankrupting the hospital. (At the same time) Kumar was pumping millions of his own dollars into his failed 2014 congressional race.”
Earlier this week, Kumar announced Granholm’s endorsement. It provided the Trott camp with the opportunity to tie Kumar and a governor unpopular with Republicans with the 2008 closure of the North Oakland Medical Center in which Kumar’s physicians group Oakland Physicians Medical Center LLC had a 60 percent interest.
Sandler told MIRS the release was unrelated to any recent polling or concerns about the top of the ticket. “The bottom line is if Dr. Kumar is going to bring up Jennifer Granholm, he’s going to have to recognize her terrible record in state,” Sandler said. Sandler also said that Trott has “very strong numbers in the district.”
The Trott campaign out-raised Kumar last quarter by a factor of 1.3. Trott reported $950,957 with $676,066 cash on hand. Kumar raised $693,511 and closed books with $487,066 cash on hand.