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Michigan primary pits Trump vs. Haley, Biden vs. 'uncommitted'

New polling shows President Biden's top opposition for the Democratic nomination appears to be one word: Uncommitted.
Michigan primary pits Trump vs. Haley, Biden vs. 'uncommitted'
Posted at 2:16 PM, Feb 26, 2024

Michigan will become the fifth state to weigh in on the Democrats' and Republicans' nominating races as the state holds a presidential primary on Tuesday.

It is one of just a handful of races held before the March 5 Super Tuesday event, when 15 states will hold primaries. 

Although President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are heavy favorites to win their respective party's primaries on Tuesday, turnout could indicate voter enthusiasm in the battleground state. 

SEE MORE: Biden to make rare visit to border, pushes for congressional action

Who is on the GOP ballot

While Trump and Nikki Haley, the United States' former ambassador to the United Nations, are the only major candidates still in the race, the ballot will include numerous candidates who've since ended their campaigns, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. 

A new Emerson College poll shows Trump leading Haley 69-20 in Michigan, with 11% undecided. His polling advantage in Michigan largely mirrors the strong GOP support he has nationally.

Why most GOP delegates won't be awarded on Tuesday

The Republican Party has rules in place that only allow four states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — to have nominating events before March 1. Remaining states are required to wait. 

Since Michigan has moved up its primary to late February, only 19 of the 55 delegates allocated to Michigan will be awarded on Tuesday. The remaining 36 delegates will be divided at caucus events on Saturday.

Trump far ahead in delegates

Trump picked up 47 out of a possible 50 delegates on Saturday for the South Carolina presidential primary, extending his lead to 109 delegates out of 141 awarded so far. Haley has earned 20 delegates, with 12 delegates awarded to candidates no longer in the race.  

Although Trump is off to a strong start and is far ahead in polling, Haley has opted to remain in the race despite pressure from GOP leaders to exit. Only about 6% of the total delegates have been allocated to date, and Haley has made it clear she wants to stay in the race through Super Tuesday when one-third of delegates in the nominating race will be awarded.

Could 'uncommitted' win the Democratic primary?

Based on Emerson College's poll, President Biden's strongest opposition for the Democratic nomination in Michigan appears to be "uncommitted." According to the poll, President Biden is expected to get about 75% of the vote, with "uncommitted" getting 9%. Rep. Dean Phillips, who has yet to win a single delegate, has 5% in the poll. 

The poll showed that 30% of Michigan Democratic voters under age 30 would cast their ballot for "uncommitted." 

Some Michigan lawmakers, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib, have encouraged Michigan Democrats to vote "uncommitted" as a protest vote against President Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

If a voter selects "uncommitted" on a ballot, with enough votes cast, the Democratic Party can send delegates who are not committed to a specific candidate to the national convention. This delegate would not be bound to support President Biden, or any other candidate, for that matter.

A large turnout of voters supporting "uncommitted" would appear to show dour support for President Biden heading into a hotly contested general election race in November. Emerson's poll shows a dead heat between Trump and President Biden, within the poll's margin for error. 

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