The Michigan Voter Data That Will Put a Smile on Trump's Face

AP Photo/John Bazemore


Last week over at VIP, I wrote on Michigan and how The Data in Michigan Should Have Democrats in a Panic. The information over there is super in-depth and dives into decades of information about how votes have shifted, and how voters have become increasingly conservative over the last, several years.

Among one of the issues that make Michigan a harder state to analyze is that Michigan, like several other states, does not register voters by party.  As a result, it is harder to determine which voters, for which reasons, will come out and vote in the election. The voting propensity is still identifiable from state voter data, but the voting ideology from the voter is almost indistinguishable.

This means you have to get creative in determining the likelihood of voters turning out for one candidate versus another candidate. My method for determining this was by comparing registration activities in counties won by Republicans to registration activities in counties won by a Democrat. For instance, if there were 10,000 voters in Republican-won R Counties and 9500 voters in Democrat-won D Counties in 2016, and R County added 500 voters since 2016 and D County added 2,000 voters, it could be reasonably assumed that Democrats conducted more voter registration activities in their counties and therefore, have a better chance in the coming election.

This is where the data gets interesting.

In 2012, in victory counties for Obama, voter registration fell by 0.03% compared to Romney victory counties that increased by 2.39%.  That means that Obama-won counties LOST voters, while Romney-won counties GAINED voters. While a combined 2.42% shift doesn’t meet the entirety of Trump’s 2016 come-from-behind victory, it shows that there’s a significant shift in voter registrations in those counties. If you just factor for the counties that Clinton won in 2016, that drop is 0.48%, or a loss of 16,568 voters. Trump only won Michigan by just over 11,000 voters. In the counties that Trump won in 2016, voter registration increased 5.92%, factoring for a combined 6.4% shift in Trump’s favor. The state only had an average swing of 9.44% in favor of Trump in voting. The data shows that the two things (voter registration data and Trump’s victory) are definitely correlated.

Which leaves us to our 2020 predictions. What is good, though, is that in determining the trend from 2004/2008 until now, we can see that as more voters register in the counties that Romney and Trump won, the larger their share of voters they received in their respective election years. During the last 4 years, 81,809 voters have registered in counties won by Clinton in 2016. In Trump 2016 victory counties, voters have added 152,677 voters, or almost 2 to 1. Clinton counties have added 2.34% to their voter rolls, while Trump counties have added 3.96% to theirs.  If compared to 2012 and Obama and Romney’s victory counties, the data remains almost the same: 2.56% for Obama counties compared to 4.18% in Romney counties. This means that, unless Dems somehow stopped the tidal shift in Michigan, Romney/Trump counties are getting redder, while Obama/Clinton counties are shifting more Republican.

Two to 1 registration in favor of Trump counties?  That should put a smile on Trump’s face.

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