Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a rally at the State Capitol building. (Courtesy/Gov. Gretchen Whitmer)
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a rally at the State Capitol building. (Courtesy/Gov. Gretchen Whitmer)

SUMMARY:
Newly released poll results suggest that most Michiganders are “very enthusiastic” about this year’s election, “angry” about the Supreme Court’s decision to jeopardize abortion rights, and are looking to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to protect those rights over the next four years.

MICHIGAN—A recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling and released on Tuesday by Progress Michigan offers a look into what the 700-person sample of Michigan voters are feeling as they head into midterm election season.

  • More than 80% said they’re at least “somewhat enthusiastic,” but mostly “very enthusiastic” about the upcoming primary and general elections. 
  • About 30% said they felt “angry” after Roe v. Wade was overturned.
  • Nearly 60% said they support efforts to protect abortion access in Michigan, and are “very motivated” to vote this year in response to their frustrations with the conservative-majority court. 

On Wednesday, another poll – this one commissioned by the Detroit News and WDIV-TV – suggested that most of those “very motivated” voters are now planning to throw their support toward a second term for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer carries a substantial lead over all five of her Republican gubernatorial challengers, with less than four months to go before Election Day. 

All told, the polling results are raising legitimate doubts (even among some Republican insiders) over whether a red wave can muster through Michigan’s increasingly sturdy blue breakwall. 

Check out more results below. 

Voter Enthusiasm and Roe Frustrations

  • Most (66%) respondents to the Public Policy Polling x Progress Michigan poll were “very enthusiastic” about voting this year. Most others (16%) were “somewhat enthusiastic.”
  • Most (53%) opposed the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Only 38% supported it.
  • Most (58%) of those polled also supported overturning Michigan’s pre-Roe abortion ban, compared to just 28% of respondents who wanted to keep the outdated law in place. 
  • When thinking about the Supreme Court’s decision to jeopardize abortion rights, most respondents (29%) felt angry. Another 28% felt “happy.” Most others (12%) were “afraid.”
  • Abortion issues made most respondents (57%) “very motivated” to vote in November. 

Support for Whitmer 

Whitmer’s advantages over the Republican candidates for governor range from 9 percentage points against real estate broker Ryan Kelley to 15 points against Pastor Ralph Rebandt of Farmington Hills, according to the survey from The Detroit News and WDIV-TV (Channel 4). 

  • Whitmer was up 50% to 41% over Ryan Kelley, with 8% undecided.
  • Whitmer was up 51% to 40% over Tudor Dixon, with 8% undecided. 
  • Whitmer was up 52% to 40% over Kevin Rinke, with 7% undecided. 
  • Whitmer was up 52% to 38% over Garrett Soldano, with 8% undecided.
  • Whitmer was up 52% to 37% over Ralph Rebant, with 9% undecided. 

The results showed that while Michigan voters are largely disappointed in President Joe Biden’s accomplishments so far, they view Whitmer differently— which could carry over into support for Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson as well—especially because most poll respondents were unfamiliar with the Republican candidates in this year’s race.

  • Most likely voters (55%) cited support for Whitmer’s job performance, compared to just 32% for Biden. Among independent voters, even more (61%) cited support for Whitmer.
  • Large portions of Michigan voters (ranging from 50% to 84%) said they had never heard of the various Republican candidates for governor. Kelley, who had the best odds in a matchup against Whitmer, was only recognizable by name to 50% of respondents. 
  • Majorities of voters (58% to 84%) had never heard of the other four GOP candidates. Less than one in every five likely voters who responded recognized Rebandt’s name. 

“Michigan does not appear to be showing signs of a red wave,” Richard Czuba, founder of the Glengariff Group, told the News. “In fact, it shows signs of keeping its incumbents in office.”

Other Issues

  • Most respondents (56% and 63%) to the Progress Michigan poll supported additional gun regulation like Extreme Risk Protection Order laws and safe storage legislation.
  • Most respondents (61%) said they’re more likely to vote for an attorney general candidate who will fight to hold corporate polluters accountable. 
  • Most of those polled (58%) also believed the 2020 election results were legitimate.