Polling Shows Disconnect Between Republican Candidates and Voters

Michigan Republican candidates for governor Ryan Kelley, of Allendale, from left, Garrett Soldano, of Mattawan, Tudor Dixon, of Norton Shores and Kevin Rinke, of Bloomfield Township, appear at a debate in Grand Rapids, Mich., July 6, 2022. (Michael Buck/WOOD TV8 via AP)

By Kyle Kaminski

July 22, 2022

Recent polling from the Detroit News shows that most Republican voters aren’t nearly as extreme as the Republican candidates running for governor—including on key issues like abortions and gun control.

New polling shows that most voters in Michigan’s Republican primary would support background checks for people buying a gun, as well as allowing abortion in cases of rape or incest—positions that mostly conflict with the stances of the five GOP gubernatorial candidates. 

Here’s what the polling showed:

About 91% of respondents said they support background checks for gun purchases and 67% support so-called “red flag” laws that would prohibit people from buying guns if they show signs of being a threat, according to a recent poll of 500 likely voters conducted by the Detroit News.

About 68% also said they support allowing abortion when a woman is raped or impregnated by a family member, and 75% reportedly support exceptions in the case of a pregnant minor. Support was even stronger (78%) for allowing abortion when necessary to protect the life of the mother. 

Republican voters reportedly stopped short of supporting limits on military-style automatic assault weapons such as an AR-15 in the recent poll, opposing such a ban 57% to 34%. Most respondents also voiced support for the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

But pollsters said the vast majority in favor of exceptions to the state’s 1931 abortion ban and for added background checks help to expose potential middle ground amid a partisan divide—one that none of the GOP candidates for governor are interested in pursuing on the campaign trail.  

Here’s where the candidates stand:

Of the five remaining Republican gubernatorial candidates, businessman Kevin Rinke is the only one to support an exemption for rape or incest, according to reports in the Detroit News. Conservative commentator Tudor Dixon, real estate broker Ryan Kelley and chiropractor Garrett Soldano all support exceptions for the life of the mother, but not in cases of rape or incest. Pastor Ralph Rebandt opposes all exceptions—even including for the life of the mother.

And none of the Republican candidates  have endorsed additional gun control measures or “red flag” laws—despite a rash of mass shootings around the nation, reports the Detroit Free Press


  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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