Joe Biden appears to have built up a large lead over Bernie Sanders in Michigan, with the state’s 125-delegate primary being the largest of six states on Tuesday.
An EPIC-MRA poll for the Detroit Free Press and surrounding media partners is showing a 51%-27% lead for Biden, but no one in Michigan is counting chickens before they hatch. In 2016, Hillary Clinton held a 25-point lead over Bernie the weekend before Michigan’s primary, and Bernie landed a shocking 1.4-point victory. Exit polls showed an unexpected surge of young voters outside of the metro Detroit area made up the difference.
The new poll shows the youngest age group it measured — 18-34 – making up 21% of Tuesday’s electorate. Among them, Sanders is still ahead of Biden, 58%-17%, with a large number of undecided voters, 19%. If they all break toward Sanders on Election Day, it could help him close the overall gap with Biden quickly.
Biden is winning every other age group which makes up 56% of the electorate, while the younger group makes up 44%.
Bernie was barnstorming throughout the state over the weekend, hitting Detroit areas, Grand Rapids, Flint, and Ann Arbor. Biden is set to arrive in Detroit and Grand Rapids today.
Michigan holds an open primary, and new laws make absentee voting easier than ever. Over 600,000 absentee ballots have already been cast, with 28,000 of those being re-votes on the heels of dropouts. The Free Press reports the narrowing of the race has favored votes for Biden, who is seen by 61% of voters as more likely to beat Trump.
According to the FiveThirtyEight forecast as of 9 p.m. Eastern on March 8, Biden had a 3 in 4 (77 percent) chance of winning Michigan, while Sanders had a 1 in 4 (23 percent) chance. On average, Biden is forecasted to receive 51 percent of the statewide vote in Michigan, and Sanders is forecasted to receive 42 percent. But those results will likely not be consistent across all corners of the state. We’re forecasting that 11 of Michigan’s 14 congressional districts will be tighter than that — a welcome development for Sanders, given that 82 of Michigan’s pledged delegates are awarded on the district level and he’s overperforming in several of them.