Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is tied with former Detroit Police Chief James Craig in the race to be Michigan’s next governor, according to a recent poll.
A poll of likely 2022 general election voters in Michigan found that Whitmer and Craig are even in a head-to-head matchup with 46% of the vote. The poll, by ARW Strategies, was conducted through telephone surveys with 800 people from January 4-6. The poll’s margin of error is 3.46%.
“Governor Whitmer is barely above water but remains extremely vulnerable. A narrow majority (51%) have a favorable opinion of the governor, while 48% have an unfavorable opinion. However, the intensity of voter’s opinions works against her. 38% of voters have a very unfavorable opinion of her versus 35% who have a very favorable opinion of her. Whitmer is also twelve-points underwater with Independents (42% Fav/54% Unfav), which is a perilous position for her entering a re-election year,” ARW reported.
“Chief James Craig is the clear frontrunner among Republican candidates. Craig’s name identification is nearly twice that of his three opponents. More crucially, Craig is the only Republican with a positive image (+9% Net Fav) among likely voters and he has a +11% net favorable image among Independents (28% Fav/18% Unfav),” AWR continued. “Among likely general election voters, Craig is tied 46%-46% with Gretchen Whitmer.”
Whitmer’s numbers are up from September when she was losing a head-to-head contest with Craig, according to polling at the time done by the Trafalgar Group. Whitmer has taken criticism from state Republicans over her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state legislature have pushed for an investigation of Whitmer’s pandemic policies concerning nursing homes, with some lawmakers accusing the Democratic governor of shaping her policies around those followed by former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Whitmer has since backed off strict lockdown measures, even venturing criticism of President Joe Biden’s vaccine orders.
“We’re an employer too, the state of Michigan is,” Whitmer said during a December town hall. “I know if that mandate happens, we’re going to lose state employees. That’s why I haven’t proposed a mandate at the state level. Some states have. We have not, we’re waiting to see what happens in court.”
“But we have a lot of the same concerns that you just voiced, and it’s going to be a problem for all of us,” she added.
Craig gained national attention in 2020 over his handling of protests and riots in Detroit following the breakout of civil unrest and violence after the court-adjudicated murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Craig was a vocal critic of local officials who pushed proposals to defund police in the wake of Floyd’s death.
“This is nothing more than protest pressure,” Craig said in an interview in September 2020. “Some who are in political leadership are folding to the pressure by the protesters, so it’s not by accident that you see the number of chiefs across the country who are leaving in large numbers. They don’t feel supported. The men and women who are on the ground doing this work don’t feel supported. And so it’s really about this pressure. That’s the bottom line.”