Michigan primary could be 'turning point'

Posted: 6:23 PM, Feb 15, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-16 09:03:30-05

From nearly irrelevant a couple weeks ago, Michigan's primary could now be a turning point in the campaign according to political analysts.

That has candidates working to win over Michigan voters, with Bernie Sanders and John Kasich making appearances on Monday.

"Michigan is not a winner take all state," said political analyst Ed Sarpolus with Target-Insyght. "Bottom line a lot of people are there on their life support."

With mixed results in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sarpolus says the Michigan primary could help candidates like Sanders and Kasich stay in the race.

"Bernie Sanders has got to do well here," Sarpolus noted. "Kasich views this as his New Hampshire: you've got Ohio to the south of us, we're a moderate state, similar demographics with union voters."

With a large student population Sarpolus says Sanders has a chance to take some of the momentum away from Clinton's campaign.

"If he gets to bleed her in a state where she's assumed she didn't have to do an activity, that's to his advantage," he explained.

Susan Demas of Inside Michigan Politics agrees, but she says Michigan is still key to Clinton's campaign.

"Clinton really needs big states like Michigan," Demas said. "She has a pretty sizable lead here, but she can't take it for granted. Obviously Sanders wants to compete."

Since the state primary falls after Super Tuesday, Demas says it could help decide a tight Republican race.

"What you're seeing on the Republican side, it's just a jump all," she added.

Since Michigan's delegates for both parties are handed out proportionally, analysts think all the candidates will be campaigning here before the primary. Candidates are guaranteed delegates if they get at least 15 percent of the vote.

Meaning when Michigan voters heads to the polls there's a lot on the line for both sides.

"Michigan is sort of a bellwether for what happens nationally," Sarpolus said.

That could help candidates realize their actual chances of making it to the White House.