It’s hard to overstate just how badly Trump is performing with this crucial demographic. Over the past several weeks, a raft of internal polls have produced numbers that political professionals here are struggling to comprehend. In Oakland County, the second-biggest voting area in the state, Gongwer reported that Democratic polling shows Biden leading Trump by 27 points; Republicans pushed back with a survey showing Trump down only 18 points. (For reference, Trump lost Oakland County by 8 points in 2016.)
Elissa Slotkin, the freshman House Democrat who represents northern Oakland County — and whose district stretches west through the affluent suburbs of Livingston County — is witnessing the same phenomenon. Having flipped a longtime Republican district in 2018, she was supposed to be one of the most endangered incumbents in the country. Instead, she’s cruising toward reelection.
Why? According to her campaign’s most recent internal poll, she’s an eye-popping 35 points above water, in terms of net favorability, with college-educated white women. This came as a shock to Slotkin, a veteran national security official, who was worried that Trump’s law-and-order message was going to scare women away from voting for Democrats this fall. But what her polling revealed — consistent with surveys done elsewhere in the state — is that Trump’s messaging has backfired.