Poll: Democrat Gretchen Whitmer in Virtual Tie Against Republican Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig in Michigan Governor’s Race

Police Chief James Craig announced he will be retiring Monday, May 10, 2021 at DPD HQ. in Detroit, MI. James Craig. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in Hamtramck, Mich., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. General Motors is spending $2.2 billion to refurbish the underused factory so …
Kirthmon F. Dozier via Imagn Content Services, LLC; AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is in a virtual tie with prospective Republican challenger James Craig in next year’s gubernatorial race, according to a poll published Sunday.

The poll, conducted August 9–15 by the Detroit Free Press and EPIC-MRA, found Whitmer had 45 percent support compared to James’s 44 percent support. The one-point difference is within the poll’s four-point margin of error and therefore pits the two candidates in a statistical tie. Eleven percent of respondents were undecided.

Craig, former chief of the Detroit Police Department, told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson in July he is running for governor, though he is not expected to formally launch his campaign until after Labor Day.

Police Chief James Craig announced he will be retiring Monday, May 10, 2021 at DPD HQ. in Detroit, MI.

Police Chief James Craig announced he will be retiring Monday, May 10, 2021 at DPD HQ. in Detroit, MI. James Craig. (Kirthmon F. Dozier via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

“I’ve got to tell you, I am running. When I look at what some politicians are doing across our country, you know, let’s talk about Gov. Whitmer. She follows different rules. She just does,” Craig told Carlson. Other Republican candidates running to unseat Whitmer include Michigan State Police Capt. Mike Brown, media commentator Tudor Dixon, Army veteran Austin Chenge, and several others. RNC chair Ronna McDaniel has also been floated as a possible contender.

The poll found the majority of respondents, 52 percent, did not recognize Craig’s name, despite the former police chief earning nearly the same amount of support as Whitmer. EPIC-MRA President Bernie Porn indicated, according to the Detroit Free Press, that “Craig’s current numbers likely reflect high energy among Republicans in opposition to Whitmer” but that Craig’s numbers are also “likely to shrink among some Republicans and especially among Independents” as more Michiganders learn who he is.

Job performance-wise, Whitmer has taken a hit since the last EPIC-MRA poll, which was conducted in February.

(Left to right) U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker raise arms after Biden takes the stage to speak to a crowd during a Get Out the Vote event at Renaissance High School in Detroit on March 9, 2020.

Sen. Kamala Harris, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and Sen. Cory Booker raise arms after Biden takes the stage to speak to a crowd during a Get Out the Vote event in Detroit on March 9, 2020. (Ryan Garza via Imagn Content Services, LLC).

The governor has faced massive backlash for instituting strict coronavirus mandates and for being caught on multiple occasions this year violating her own rules. The Michigan Democrat, for instance, was found to have quietly taken a private jet to Florida in the spring and was also caught in May at a dive bar with a large group.

LANSING, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 27: An organization trying to recall Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer collects signatures outside a campaign rally with U.S. President Donald Trump at Capital Region International Airport October 27, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. With one week until Election Day, Trump is campaigning in Michigan, a state he won in 2016 by less than 11,000 votes, the narrowest margin of victory in the state's presidential election history. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

An organization trying to recall Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer collects signatures. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In the poll, 49 percent of respondents gave Whitmer a positive job performance rating, while 50 percent gave her a negative one. Those numbers represent a drop from February, when 52 percent gave her a positive rating versus 47 percent giving her a negative one.

The poll was conducted among 600 “active and likely” voters, 42 percent of whom identified as Democrat, 42 percent as Republican, and 13 percent as independent.

Write to Ashley Oliver at aoliver@breitbart.com.

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