GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With the time until the presidential election now measured in weeks rather than months, a new poll shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is holding on to his lead over President Donald Trump in Michigan.
In the EPIC-MRA poll released Friday morning, 48% of respondents said they would vote for Biden and 40% for Trump if the election was held immediately. Those percentages are statistically no different than the results from a poll published in early August by EPIC-MRA because the change is within the polls’ margin of error.
When those who said they would pick Trump were asked whether they were voting more for Trump or more against Biden, 74% said they were voting for Trump and 20% against Biden.
On the other side, 46% of Biden supporters said they were voting for him and 40% against Trump.
Trump’s job approval rating among those polled was 43%, not statistically different than it was in the last poll.
In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, appears to be losing some ground.
Forty-five percent of those polled said they intended to vote for Peters, while about 41% said they would vote for Republican challenger John James. That’s a narrower lead than Peters was enjoying during the poll released in August.
Peters had a 45% job approval rating.
HOW MICHIGAN IS VOTING
When asked how they planned to cast their ballot Nov. 3, more than half of people surveyed said they would vote absentee.
The state is expecting more than 3 million absentee votes, which would destroy the current record of about 1.6 million set in August.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson also says the total number of votes cast could surpass 5 million. The last time that happened was 2008, when President Barack Obama was elected the first time.
The poll also queried people about where they stood on national issues, including systemic racism. Most agreed it is a serious problem.
But support for the Black Lives Matter movement was not as strong — only 48% said they approved of the actions taken by the group — and many — 35% — said they blamed violent groups associated with BLM for causing violence and property damage around the country.
Additionally, the majority of people polled did not support cutting funding to police. Some groups have proposed slashing funding to law enforcement agencies and redirecting the cash to efforts aimed at building strong communities, like affordable housing.
Six months after coronavirus was first detected in Michigan and even as the state’s outbreak continues to be manageable, concern about the virus remains high. Of those polled, 67% said they were worried they or a family member could get it. More than half of those polled said they knew someone who has contracted the disease and 5% said they knew at least one person who died after getting it.
The economic impact of the pandemic was also chief among people’s concerns. A little more than a third of people polled said they or someone in their household had been laid off or lost their job because of the pandemic.
Of several options offered to them, a quarter said reopening the economy, schools and restoring jobs was their top concern as a voter. About 22% said combating the virus was their top concern.
The vast majority, 86%, said they always obeyed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s mandate to wear a mask in public places to slow the spread of the virus and 7% said they did it most of the time.
Whitmer got a 56% positive job rating, and 49% of those polled said the state was headed in the right direction. That was much better than nationally— more than two thirds of people polled said they thought the country was on the wrong track.
EPIC-MRA surveyed 600 people in Michigan between Sept. 10 and Sept. 15.
About a third of respondents identified as conservatives, 28% said they were moderate and 23% identified as liberal. Forty-three percent said they were Democrats, 39% Republican, and 7% independent. The remainder identified otherwise, declined to answer or were undecided.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.