A brand new poll out from Michigan shows Trump far in the lead with 42%, vs. Cruz 19%, Rubio 15%, Kasich 14%, and Carson 5%. It was taken after the Super Tuesday results were in, although the numbers look pretty stable over the past month.
One finding that jumped out was on religion. We've already seen that Cruz does well with evangelicals in the apocalyptic Plains and Mountain states, but gets clobbered by them back East of the Mississippi River. In Michigan, Trump and Cruz are tied among evangelicals (about 30%).
Among Catholics, however, Trump leads by a yuge margin, far above his statewide average -- 52%, vs. Rubio 16%, Kasich 14%, and Cruz 11%. That's more than 40 percentage points separating first-ranked Trump from bottom-ranked Cruz among Catholics.
Now that the race is more or less past the Bible Belt states in the South, and has covered the lion's share of votes from the Plains (Texas), the religious angle to the race is going to tilt far more heavily in Trump's favor. In the Michigan sample, about half the respondents were Protestant and one-third were Catholic. Evangelicals also made up one-third, making them equal in size to Catholics for the first time in the race.
Throughout the Midwest, the Northeast, and the Mid-Atlantic, Catholics are going to play a much bigger role, compared to the South and the Plains. And these states have larger delegate pools to win. It only bodes well for Trump, who is not even a Catholic ("I'm Protestant, just so you understand, Presbyterian to be exact"), and who got into a spat with the Pope himself not too long before the poll was taken.
This shifting religious landscape is not lost on Cruz, Mr. Big Data Geekout, who dropped the "prayerful" talk last night at the debate in Detroit, and larded up his non-answers with secular blue-collar references to truck drivers and calloused hands. He could not have looked any more phony unless he'd worn a pair of Carhartt overalls on the debate stage.*
It's not clear whether Trump's majority of the Catholic vote is due to religious or ethnic differences compared to evangelicals. I'm inclined to attribute it to religious differences per se, with Catholics being more traditional in their religious beliefs and practices, while the evangelicals have a much more recent collection of beliefs and practices. And even then, it's more the practices, rituals, and habits that most clearly distinguish the more traditional Catholics and the more innovating evangelicals (who nevertheless rationalize them as a back-to-basics move to undo the false teachings of all historical churches).
If anything, evangelicals make a point of rejecting religious traditions -- at least the apocalyptic ones who are drawn into the Cruz cult. Apocalypticism implies a radical break with the failed traditions of the past, since the literal end of the world as we know it is upon us.
The message of the Trump movement -- Make America Great Again -- denies the pessimistic, apocalyptic doom of the Cruz cult. Rather, we're hopeful that we can restore health to what has been falling into degradation, that government can be saved and redeemed, and does not need to be utterly annihilated (a la Cruz's refrain "Abolish the IRS").
A final observation on geographic differences:
Trump does well all over Michigan, but his lead is narrowest in West Michigan, centered around the second-largest city in the state, Grand Rapids. He gets 33% of their vote, vs. 25% for Cruz and 9% for Carson (far above his statewide average). Perhaps the closer to the Plains you are, even in a non-Plains state, the more cult-like the voters will be.
In this most cucked region in Michigan, it's not surprising to find that it has the largest share of the population that is Hispanic -- 16% in 2010, compared to around 5% in the other large cities, aside from the capital of Lansing (13%). (Race did not influence the religious differences, since 97% of the respondents were white.)
Grand Rapids is nowhere near the Mexican border, and is not a great big ghetto target like Chicago. So how else did the population reach 16% Hispanic (and perhaps closer to 20% by now), except by the upper-middle class cucks welcoming them in, wanting to convert them from Catholicism and grow the numbers of their evangelical church, use them as cheap labor for their kitchen remodel, and hire them at low wages for their small business?
That crowd will not resonate with Make America Great Again -- they have been perfectly content with transforming America in the current direction so that they can have a cushier individual status position. In the eastern part of the state, around Detroit, no such exponential surge in immigrants.
There is a large Arab population in Dearborn, but that's been there since the early 20th century (the last period of mass immigration), and a good chunk are Levantine Christians rather than Muslims. Interestingly, although only 5% of the sample said their religion was Muslim / Jewish / Unsure, 60% of them wanted Trump, with the rest scattered around the other candidates. If that holds at a larger level, that would be amazing for groups who you'd think would be put off by Trump's call to temporarily freeze Muslim immigration, and to not take sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Come to think of it, maybe the Muslims are willing to overlook the Muslim immigration freeze -- the respondents are already here, after all -- if Trump is going to be more neutral toward Israel, rather than rabidly pro-Israel, and if Trump was fiercely against the Iraq War and adventurism in the Middle East generally. By promising a sane Middle Eastern foreign policy, he may be winning the "moderate Muslim" vote, for what it's worth.
* In Iowa, the sociopathic chameleon wore plaid flannel shirts, then in the well-to-do Southern suburbs he sported a blue blazer, dress shirt (no tie), jeans, and boots. He has no identity of his own, and only tries to mimic the locals in order to escape detection as a weasel. Contrast with Trump, who wears his Manhattan business suit and tie no matter where he goes.