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Michigan voters of all political stripes are less motivated to vote this year than they were in 2012, according to new polling data showing an enthusiasm gap that may benefit Democrats, including presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“Strong” Republicans and “strong” Democrats were roughly equally motivated to vote four years ago, said pollster Richard Czuba of the Lansing-based Glengariff Group Inc., but there is now a significant gap between the two groups.

Clinton supporters are more motivated to vote than supporters of Republican nominee Donald Trump, Czuba said.

On a 10-point voter enthusiasm scale, “strong” Republicans gave an average score of 8.2 in August 2012. But that group now registers at 6.1, according to a Tuesday-Wednesday poll of 600 likely voters conducted for The Detroit News and WDIV-TV.

The motivation score for “strong” Democrats stands at 7.2, down from 8.2 in 2012. Voter enthusiasm is also down among independents and those who say they lean toward one party or another.

“This is a very hard year for me,” said Emily Bouwens, 48, of Rockford. “I’ve always encouraged my kids to vote, but this will be the one year it’s going to be tough to do.”

Bouwens said she is leaning toward Clinton but is also considering Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor. She said she has been turned off by hearing both major party candidates “slamming each other” when they could be talking about the issues.

“It’s not so much that I’m with Hillary as I am opposed to Trump,” Bouwens said.

Theresa Stuckey, a 57-year-old Republican voter from Three Rivers, south of Kalamazoo, rated her enthusiasm to vote at a 4 on the 10-point scale.

Stuckey said she’s reluctantly voting for Trump because she finds Clinton to be “the worst of two evils.”

“As it turns out, he’s what we have,” Stuckey said of the New York businessman. “Yes, he’s successful and, yes, he’s aggressive. But I just feel like he’s kind of self-serving.”

Voter motivation appears to be highest among African-Americans and Detroiters, Czuba said. They had the respective scores of 7.4 and 7.6.

The trend could bode well for Clinton, who is hoping for a strong voter turnout in the state’s most populated city, a Democratic stronghold that was energized to vote for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

“They’re not the levels they were in 2012 for Obama, but they are by far the most motivated demographic to vote this election,” Czuba said.

Trump has been working to court African-Americans, including on campaign stops this month in Detroit and Flint, but continues to struggle with black voters, according to the new poll.

Frances Dixon, an 80-year-old retired court reporter from Detroit, said she is highly motivated to vote in every election and plans to vote for Clinton by absentee ballot.

“It’s my civic duty,” Dixon said.

joosting@detroitnews.com

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