BIRCH RUN, Mich. (WJBK) - Hot off the heels of his visit to Birch Run, Donald Trump is now leading the polls here in Michigan. Nearly two thousand people packed the Birch Run Expo Center Tuesday night to hear Trump speak.
His comments about women and Mexicans have put him at the center of political controversy, but Monday night Donald seemed to have a new target - one of the Big Three right here in the D.
"So Ford is building a $2.5 billion plant, right? In Mexico! They're building it in Mexico!" he says as the crowd began to boo. "We don't have to be business geniuses to figure, well, they're building a plant - it's a massive plant, one of the biggest in the world - they're going to make all these cars, trucks and parts. ... And I actually gave them a good idea. Why don't we just let the illegals drive the cars and trucks right in through the border?" The crowd begins to applause.
"It's true! No, I gave them that! Save a lot of money!" he continued. He's confident his straight talk is exactly what the voters want, and the latest poll from Mitchell Research and Communications shows he just might be right.
Ford issued the following statement after Trump's remarks:
"We are committed to leveraging our global manufacturing footprint and will continue to invest where it makes the best sense for our business. We are proud that we have invested $6.2 billion in our U.S. plants since 2011 and hired nearly 25,000 U.S. employees. Overall, 80 percent of our North American investment annually is in the U.S., and 97 percent of our North American engineering is conducted in the U.S."
Since his Michigan appearance Tuesday night, he has spiked in the poll and now leads the state's GOP primary voters by 20 percent. His appeal in Michigan is growing by the minute.
"It is a significant lead, and it is a lead at this point in time. I think that the big question becomes, where do these voters go when their candidate drops out? And they will be dropping out, after New Hampshire and Iowa and South Carolina, Nevada, the first four states. You will see this as a very small field. And at that point, does Trump get more than that one out of five voters he has right now?" says Steve Mitchell of Mitchell Research & Communications.
Trump's lead is substantial. Carly Fiorina is holding 15 percent of the vote, while Jeb Bush and Ben Carson sound out the top each with 12 percent. Marco Rubio is fourth with 10 percent; Ted Cruz and Ron Kasich each have 8 percent of the vote.
So what is it about Trump that keeps people coming back? And will his jump in the polls actually translate to votes in the National Republican Primary?
"I think in Michigan and everywhere else, Donald Trump is telling it like it is. Most politicians have PR people; they have all kinds of consultants telling them what to say. And he struck a nerve. That immigration issue is a very, very heated issue; it's a red meat issue for Republicans. And by attacking what's going on in immigration, in his mind, he's been able to move up in the polls," says Mitchell.