The Michigan governor’s race has become a “barnburner,” according to a new poll.
In what was once a contest that first-term Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) was seemingly running away with, Republican candidate Tudor Dixon has made up remarkable ground, trailing by just two points, according to the latest Mitchell/MIRS poll.
The poll of 541 likely general election voters conducted earlier this week found the governor leading 49% – 47%, within the 4.2% margin of error, and 3% of respondents remained undecided.
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“After a strong debate performance and after a statewide TV buy that has given Tudor Dixon much needed advertising, she has closed the race to a two percent margin, 49%-47%,” Steve Mitchell, president of Mitchell Research, said in a statement.
Whitmer, who has made abortion rights the center of her campaign following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, leads her Republican opponent among Michigan women by 14 points, while Dixon holds the lead among men by 11 points, according to the poll. The survey results also showed that both candidates have solidified their support from their bases as the governor garnered 92% support from Democrats and Dixon held 89% support from Republicans. The all-important independent voters favor Whitmer by four points (49% – 45%).
Dixon’s upward trend in polling comes after the candidates sparred in their first debate last week. Throughout the debate, the Republican candidate hit Whitmer for her record on the economy, crime, and COVID lockdowns, while the governor attempted to cast Dixon as too radical for Michigan, especially on the issues of abortion and gun rights.
“Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who also had a strong debate against the challenger, has outraised and out-spent Dixon exponentially, but the Governor is faced with a very bad economic environment that includes the highest inflation in more than forty years,” Mitchell added. “Both candidates are exceptionally strong campaigners, but Whitmer is also running with an unpopular Democratic president in the White House. This may be a real ‘barnburner’ going all the way down to the wire.”
Michigan is yet another state showing a red shift in the weeks leading up to the election. Governors’ races in deep blue New York and Oregon have also become competitive and moved from “likely Democratic” victories to “toss ups” as Republicans in tight races across the country see evidence of a red wave in November.