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.
“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.
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.
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.
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