Clinton won the debate, leads Trump by 7% in Michigan, WDIV/Detroit News poll finds

Trump grows support in Macomb County

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the first presidential debate and leads Donald  Trump by 7 percent in the latest WDIV/Detroit News poll.

The survey polled 600 likely voters across Michigan on Sept. 27-28 following Monday night's presidential debate. (See poll details below.)

Respondents by a margin of 51.9% to 20% declared Clinton the win over Trump, who actually came in third in the poll. "Neither" received 22.7% of the responses. 

Success in the debate appears to have pushed Clinton to a significant lead over Trump. The poll gave Clinton a 7-point lead over Trump among Michigan voters with or without third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.


Roughly 73.5% of Michigan voters watched the Monday night Presidential debate.

By a margin of 51.9%-20.0%, voters say Clinton won the debate over Trump. 22.7% of voters say neither candidate won. 

Not surprisingly, 88% of Clinton supporters say Clinton won, while only 45.9% of Trump supporters said Trump won.  35.1% of Trump supporters said neither candidate won. 

By a margin of 48.6%-29.7%, undecided voters gave the win to Hillary Clinton.

Both candidates are 'unfavorable'

By a margin of 30.8%-61.0%, Michigan voters have an unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump.  These numbers are consistent with his favorable/unfavorable numbers from August 2016 when voters had an unfavorable opinion by a margin of 27.8%-59.0%.

By a margin of 41.3%-51.7%, Michigan voters have an unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton.  But these numbers represent an increase in her favorables from August 2016 when voters viewed her unfavorably by a margin of 36.7%-53.2%. Clinton’s improvement comes from Strong Democrats who went from 72.4% favorable to 85.0% favorable, and Leaning Democrats who went from 48.4% favorable to 66.0% favorable.

Clinton's support is firmer than Trump's

In a two-way race, Hillary Clinton holds a lead of 46.0%-39.1% on Donald Trump – a lead of seven points.  3.5% of respondents would vote for someone else and 9.3% of respondents remain undecided.  (2.0% of respondents refused an answer.)

When you break down the strength of that vote, Clinton’s support is firmer than Trump’s support.  Clinton holds an 11-point lead among those who are definitely voting for their candidate.

In a four-way race, with Johnson and Stein, Clinton holds a 7-point lead over Trump.

Clinton has increased her vote among Strong Democrats by six points to 85.5%.  But she has increased her percentage among Leaning Democrats by 13.0% to 76.0%.  The Clinton increase among Leaning Democrats is a statistically significant improvement from August.

Trump has increased his vote among Strong Republicans by nine points to 78.6%.  But he has lost four points among Leaning Republicans falling from 70.0% to 66.0%.  So while Trump has strengthened his support among Strong Republicans, a third of Leaning Republicans continue to go elsewhere.

Among Independent voters, Trump leads Clinton 34.0%-27.5% -- a lead of 6.5%. But 15.7% of Independent voters and 16.0% of Leaning Republican voters remain undecided.

Clinton’s greatest strength is voters over the age of 50 years old.

Support across Michigan

Editor's Note: Regional numbers have a significantly higher margin of error when looked at individually

Most regions across Michigan have remained consistent from August 2016 with several items notable.    Trump has increased his Macomb County lead and Clinton has increased her Oakland County lead. The two counties are a tale of two very different counties. 

Johnson is winning 20.6% of West Michigan voters, and 12% of Mid-Michigan, Macomb County, and the counties surrounding the Metro Detroit area voters.

Gender and race continue to be largest factors

Trump leads among male voters by a margin of 44.1%-35.1% -- a 9.0% lead among men. Johnson takes 11.5% of male voters.  In August 2016, Trump held a 1.5% lead among men.  That lead has increased to 9.0%.

Clinton leads among female voters by a margin of 48.1%-26.9% -- a 21.2% lead among women. This lead is identical to her lead in early August 2016.

Trump holds a lead of 42.4%-34.3% among white voters – a lead of 8.1%.  But Clinton holds a lead of 80.2%-3.5% among African American voters.

Clinton leads among white women by a margin of 40.7%-33.5%, with Johnson taking 8.0% of white women.  11.4% of white women remain undecided.  Clinton holds a 5.2% lead among white women. Among married white women, Clinton holds a lead of 39.9%-37.4% -- a 2.5% lead.

Religion playing a role

Among voters who attend church weekly, Donald Trump holds a lead of 44.8%-34.3% -- a 10.5% lead over Clinton.

Among all other voters, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by a margin of 45.9%-30.0% -- at 15.9% lead. 

Clinton leads among Baptist voters by a margin of 63.4%-22.0%.

Trump leads among Catholic voters by a margin of 42.0%-36.2% -- a 5.8% margin.

Trump leads among Non-Denominational voters by a margin of 43.1%-27.8% -- a 15.3% margin. 

Union voters

Clinton leads Trump among union households by a margin of 49.2%-30.8% -- a lead of 18.4%, statistically unchanged from August.


Clinton supporters appear more motivated than Trump supporters, according to the poll.

In August 2012 and September 2014, Strong Republican voters and Strong Democratic voters were virtually identical in motivation.  This election, there is a full one-point different in motivation between Strong Democratic and Strong Republican voters – with Republicans the least motivated in the past three elections.

Strong Democratic voters are the most motivated in the state led by voters over 65, Detroit voters and African-American voters.


Trump continues to struggle to convince Michigan voters he's qualified to be president. A total of 62.5% of Michigan voters say he's not qualified to be president.  This represents a slight statistically insignificant increase from 61.2% in August. By comparison, 56.8% of voters say Clinton is qualified to be President of the United States. This is identical to her standing on this question in August 2016.

Trump taxes

A strong majority of Michiganders -- 71.7% to 15.3% -- feel Trump should release his income tax returns. Even Republicans (48-31%) and Trump supporters (47.6-30.4%) believe their candidate should release the documents. Undecided voters by a margin of 70-19% believe undecided voters should release his taxes.

About the poll

The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted a 600-sample, live operator telephone survey of likely November 2016 Michigan general election voters. The survey was conducted from September 27-28, 2016 and has margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence. 65% of respondents were interviewed by landline telephone. 35% of respondents were interviewed by cell phone telephone. This survey was commissioned by the Detroit News and WDIV Local 4.