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Feb 25, 2024

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Study of The Polish Vote
In Macomb County, MI

The Piast Institute is currently engaged in a study of the Polish vote in Macomb County, Michigan. The county has the largest Polish population in Michigan. Poles are the second largest ethnic group in the county, after the Germans. We chose Macomb County because it has been the object of national studies since the 1980s, when it was identified as the iconic home of the “Reagan Democrats.” Our study focuses on census tracts that have 20% or more of the population self-identify as being of Polish ancestry. Most of these areas voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, despite predictions just prior to the 2008 elections that they would go heavily for the Republicans.

Studies indicate that surveys and focus groups held during the 2008 campaign season found that Obama was viewed as a candidate who would be able to bring racial groups together, promote harmony, revise NAFTA and as an agent of change who would break the perceived grip of corporations and traditional politicians on Washington. The voters saw as their major adversaries: corporations, the wealthy, and companies that ship jobs overseas. In many ways, the expectations of Macomb County voters of Mr. Obama in 2008 were remarkably similar to those of voters who supported Mr. Trump in 2016. They expressed hopes that in both cases the candidate would be able to turn things around. The actual election in 2008 refuted the conclusions of the researchers by giving Obama 13% more votes than their predictions. In most of the same Polish heavy precincts Obama and Trump won majorities. I believe that the predictions for 2016 were that these areas would hold for Clinton.

In brief, the results of our study at this point indicate that areas with 20% or more Polish voters voted in majority for Mr. Trump, in percentages ranging from 2.77% to 23.7%. Eight out of the twenty-six census tracts we surveyed with 20% or more Polish population gave Mrs. Clinton a majority of their votes; all these were on the southern edge of the county bordering on Detroit and Eastpointe. Almost all had 13% or more African-American population which no doubt affected the outcome. There are a number of other correlations based on income that may prove to be very interesting that we have yet to work out.

If we are able to access significant funding, we will follow up with surveys and focus groups as well as an analysis of the percentage of Poles who voted. We have developed, over the last five years, an excellent filter that should provide us with 70-80% of all Polish names on voter or homeowner lists. This wil allow us to identify voters for further surveys or focus groups.

County Vote Totals:

2016:
Trump/Pence: 53.6% (224,665)
Clinton/Kaine: 42.1% (176,317)

2012:
Obama/Biden: 51.6% (208,016)
Romney/Ryan: 47.6% (191,913)

2008:
Obama/Biden: 53.4% (223,784)
McCain/Palin: 44.8% (187,663)

 

Thaddeus C. Radzilowski, PhD
President
Piast Institute
11633 Jos. Campau
Hamtramck, Michigan 48212
1.313.733.4535 ext. 104
www.piastinstitute.org