With unemployment at 3.8% nationally, dinging Trump on the economy may be tough for Democrats. But in Michigan and the upper Midwest, plant closings by General Motors Co., planned cuts amid weak profits from Ford Motor Co., and a higher jobless rate of 4.4% means there could be some room for gains, said Matt Grossmann, associate professor of political science at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
“There is a transition back to class politics,” Grossmann said. “The Democrats were traditionally the party of the working class. Trump was able to neutralize that and now they’re trying to get back to that.”
Unemployment is 8.8% in Detroit, double the state’s average, and there’s a strong sense that prosperity is concentrated in seven miles near downtown, among white-collar workers at big employers like GM and Quicken Loans Inc., Grossmann said. Democrats will try to exploit that disparity and get the city’s voters to come out for them.
A recent poll from the Detroit Regional Chamber found that 51% of likely Michigan voters think the national economy is on the right track and 62% believe the state economy is on the right track. But the poll showed a stark racial and gender divide. Some 62% of women and 83% of black voters said they believe the national economy is on the wrong track.