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NOLAN FINLEY

Editor’s Note: Is Michigan really in play?

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

In today’s era of analytics-driven campaigning, candidates for president focus their efforts on a handful of states the data tells them are in play, and pretty much ignore the rest.

In fact, the research has been perfected to the point that campaigns know which counties within a state will decide the outcome of an election.

So why is Donald Trump coming back to Michigan? And not only to Michigan, to Detroit, a city that hasn’t gone for a Republican candidate for any office in as long as anyone can remember?

The GOP presidential nominee must see an opportunity here that isn’t evident in the polls.

His campaign confirmed this week he is coming back to Detroit in early September with former presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson, a Detroit native, to continue pitching his candidacy to black voters. Trump was here a few weeks ago for a speech to the Detroit Economic Club, and was in West Michigan last week.

That’s a lot of visits to a state where the last round of local polling had Trump trailing Hillary Clinton by nearly 10 percentage points.

The race is tightening across the country, and in Michigan as well. A Suffolk University poll Thursday had Trump behind by 7 percentage points here.

That’s still a sizable gap, and the fact that Michigan hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988 would suggest there are greener pastures where Trump should be devoting his time.

But he clearly still sees Michigan as a state he can convert.