GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — About a month out from the Nov. 8 general election, the race for the Michigan governor’s office is tightening, a poll released Thursday morning shows.
The EPIC-MRA poll shows that if the election were held immediately, 49% of respondents would vote for Democratic incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, while 38% said they would vote for Republican challenger Tudor Dixon. No third-party candidate garnered more than 3%. Nine percent were undecided or declined to answer.
A mid-September poll had put Whitmer 16 percentage points ahead of Dixon. The new figures are closer to the results of an August poll.
Voters will hear from both candidates Thursday evening in a debate hosted by WOOD TV8, which will be broadcast, streamed or aired on the radio all around Michigan.
The poll put the race for Michigan attorney general in a statistical dead heat, with 43% saying they would vote for Democratic incumbent Dana Nessel and 39% for Republican challenger Matt DePerno. September’s poll had Nessel nine points ahead of DePerno, but their August and October figures are identical.
In the race for Michigan secretary of state, Democratic incumbent Jocelyn Benson was polling 10 percentage points ahead of Republican challenger Kristina Karamo, with 47% saying they would choose Benson and 37% Karamo. That race has also narrowed by about four points since September.
ABORTION BALLOT QUESTION
Michigan has three ballot questions in November and the poll showed all were trending toward passing.
The majority of voters support Proposal 3, the Reproductive Freedom for All constitutional amendment that would, among other things, ensure the right to abortions. Sixty percent of those polled said they would vote for it an 33% said they would vote against it. Seven percent were undecided or declined to answer.
In September, 64% of those polled said they would vote yes on Proposal 3 and 27% said they would vote no.
Of those surveyed in the latest poll, 60% identified as pro-choice, saying women should have the right to abortion, and 36% as pro-life, saying abortions should be illegals except to save the life of the mother.
Proposal 1 would revamp term limits for the state Legislature, setting a total of 12 years in either or both chambers. The current limits are six years in the House of Representatives and eight in the Senate. The proposal would also require legislators and the state’s top executive officers to file public financial disclosures each year. Of those polled, 68% said they would vote yes and 24% no. Eight percent were undecided or refused to answer.
Proposal 2 would institute a number of voting reforms, including but not limited to adding nine days of early in-person voting, requiring the state to fund absentee ballot drop boxes and pay for absentee application and ballot postage, requiring military or overseas ballots to be counted if they are postmarked by election day and requiring canvass boards to certify election results based only on the official records of votes cast. Sixty-seven percent of those polled said they would pass it and 23% said they would reject it. Ten percent were undecided or refused to answer.
The poll reflected a change in voters’ biggest concerns since September. Then, 24% of those polled said the most important issue in Michigan was abortion. In the new poll, 17% said abortion was their top concern. Instead, 29% said the top issue was controlling inflation. Twelve percent said it was education, 11% said the economy and jobs and 9% said it was roads and other infrastructure.
However, voters also said they thought abortion was the issue that was most influencing the governor’s race: 39% said it was the most impactful issue in that election, while 34% said it was inflation, 12% said it was education and 8% said it was concerns about COVID-19 restrictions.
Sixty-one percent of people polled said they would vote in person at the polls on Nov. 8 and 35% said they intended to vote absentee. Four percent were undecided or refused to say how they would vote. With absentee ballots out, some had already voted when they took the survey.
EPIC-MRA surveyed 600 people between Oct. 6 and Oct. 12. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.
Of those polled, 41% called themselves Democrats and 40% Republicans. Fifteen percent said they were independents. The remainder identified otherwise, were undecided or declined to say.
Seventy-eight percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 11% as Black, 2% as Hispanic or Latino, 1% Asian and 1% Native American. Three percent identified as mixed race. Four percent declined to identify their race.
Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed were 65 or older, 30% were between the ages of 50 and 64, 22% were between the ages of 35 and 49 and 20% were 18 to 34.