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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

This Just In: Republican Area Leans Republican!

The Washington Post had an article last Sunday about an area in Michigan where the economy’s poor performance didn’t seem to be turning anybody against Bush.  Locals appeared to have memorized the RNC’s talking points on the economy: Eight years of Bill Clinton caused the recession! 
DR’s crack research team swung into action and has now uncovered the reason for this strangely pro-Bush reaction to economic woes.  The area, Grand Rapids, MI, is a hardcore Republican area.  In 2000, when Gore carried Michigan by 5 points, he lost Kent County, where Grand Rapids is located by 21 points. Clinton also lost the county both times he ran by 14 points (1992) and 16 points (1996).  So the political significance of this pro-Bush reaction to a poor economy is pretty much nil.  Bush will carry that county and by plenty in 2004 no matter what happens.
But the rest of Michigan?  In the latest EPIC/MRA poll of Michigan likely voters, Bush’s approval rating on the economy was 39 percent, with 59 percent disapproval.  In DR’s view, that’s a much better guide to Bush’s probable fate in Michigan than man-in-the-street interviews in Grand Rapids.