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Greatest upset ever? It's Just Politics team weighs in on historic Michigan Primary

Mar 9, 2016

Donald Trump in Warren, MI and Bernie Sanders in Traverse City, MI.
Credit Photos by Jake Neher from MPRN (left), Todd Church from Flickr / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The official vote totals are still not quite finalized, but it was a shocking – some are saying historic – night for the Democrats in the Michigan Primary. Donald Trump continued to hold serve on the Republican side, winning the Great Lakes State by a comfortable margin, but it was Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ win over Hillary Clinton that dominated the headlines on Wednesday morning.

With everything going on in the presidential campaign, who better to help us break down Tuesday’s primary than Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics duo of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta? They joined Stateside to talk about Tuesday night’s drama, starting with who were the biggest losers?

The answer? The pollsters.

After midnight, after Michigan had been called for Bernie Sanders, Harry Enten of the political blog FiveThirtyEight.com, called the victory “one of the greatest upsets in modern political history.” Secretary Clinton was winning in many of the polls by double digits, and never by less than five percentage points. The statistical website gave Clinton a 99% chance to win the state and looked back at past primary results and couldn't find any races that had a bigger discrepancy between the polls and the outcome.

How did this happen?

As she heads into the more industrial states ... she had better pay closer attention to matching Bernie Sanders' populist message when it comes to income inequality and free trade agreements.

“It just shows this momentum, that maybe we in the media have not been doing the best job of keeping an eye on and relying on this idea of the Clintons and their ability to get out urban votes,” said Clark.

Clark said the Clintons taking that for granted could have been their downfall as Sanders focused more on college campuses in places like East Lansing and Ann Arbor.

So what’s next for Clinton and what message does Michigan send to her?

“As she heads into the more industrial states … she had better pay closer attention to matching Bernie Sanders’ populist message when it comes to income inequality and free-trade agreements,” said Pluta.

Will Michigan’s results carry some momentum into the next round of primaries?

According to Clark, some polls have seen Clinton leading by as much as 30 points in Ohio. Michigan has at least created some doubt in the accuracy of the polls and with Sanders winning on Tuesday, it could motivate voters in other states to get out and vote now that it appears that he might have a chance to win.

On the Republican side, the Trump train is still rolling as next week’s Ohio primary could be do-or-die for the man who is the governor of that state. In fact, after Gov. John Kasich fell just short of second place in Michigan, especially after spending as much time campaigning in Michigan, this could be seen as a major disappointment.
 

What does it say that Kasich practically lived in Michigan in the week leading up to the primary. Ted Cruz made barely a stop in the state ... and yet they both had virtually the same result?

“It is interesting that John Kasich said that if he had spent any more time in Michigan he’d have to start paying taxes here,” said Pluta. “So what does it say that Kasich practically lived in Michigan in the week leading up to the primary. Ted Cruz made barely a stop in the state … and yet they both had virtually the same result. That’s got to be giving the Kasich campaign some pause.”

The pollsters didn’t have a completely awful night, as the Republicans fell in line with what the polls were saying, with Trump winning big followed by Ohio Sen. Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. As of today (March 9), FiveThirtyEight is giving Kasich a 56% chance to win over Trump at 43% and on the Democratic side, Clinton has a 98% chance of winning the Buckeye State.

Listen to the full interview below to hear all the analysis of what some are calling “Super Tuesday 2,” including who got more votes between the Democratic candidates and Donald Trump. Clark and Pluta also give their two cents on the likelihood of a Clinton/Sanders ticket in November.