It was a big night at the ballot box Tuesday for political outsiders and the angry voters they’re inspiring — and with the wins piling up, establishment politicians seem to be getting increasingly nervous.
Billionaire Donald Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders rode a wave of voter discontent with the Washington establishment and deep anxiety over the economy to victory in Michigan’s primary election Tuesday, exit polls showed.
Despite their vast differences, both Trump and Sanders were the overwhelming favorites among voters who said the next president should be a political outsider.
Trump won Michigan with 36.5% of the vote over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 24.9%, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 24.3%. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio finished fourth at a meager 9.4%.
For Sanders, the contest was closer — 49.8% for Sanders, 48.3% for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Trump and Sanders benefited in the state from a widespread belief that international trade does more harm than good in an area struggling to overcome a Rust Belt legacy of manufacturing jobs outsourced to low-wage countries. More than half the voters in both parties described trade as a job killer. Of those, six in 10 Democrats supported Sanders. Trump far outpolled the other Republican candidates among voters with the same opinion.
Sanders’ populist theme struck a chord, as more than eight in 10 Michigan Democrats said the U.S. economic system generally favors the wealthy, and just over half of those voters backed the Vermont senator.
Trump backers seemed more enthusiastic than supporters of other candidates. Two-thirds of those favoring Trump said they strongly backed him, compared to about four in 10 of those voting for the other Republicans. Three in 10 of those voting for other candidates said they did so with reservations. And just under three in 10 of those who voted for someone other than Trump said they based the vote on dislike for other candidates rather than support for their choice.
Elsewhere in the country, Trump also won the primaries in Mississippi and Hawaii, while rival Cruz scored a win in Idaho. On the Democratic side, Clinton won in Mississippi.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.