Former President Donald Trump on Friday endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon as his choice to face incumbent Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, but polls show the GOP nominee will face an uphill battle if she wins the midterm primary on Tuesday.
Dixon was the leading contender in the Michigan GOP primary for governor, but in the crowded field, the conservative commentator failed to garner even 30% support in any of the state’s recent polls. However, the Republican prospect maintains an average 7% lead over his GOP rivals, according to analysis by Real Clear Politics.
If he is ultimately selected by Michigan Republicans on Tuesday, Dixon will challenge Whitmer, who is completing his first term as governor. Recent polls suggest the Democrat is well positioned for re-election, but analysts predict the race will likely be competitive in a state Trump won in 2016 before President Joe Biden won there in 2020.
The most recent survey was conducted by Glengariff Group to The Detroit News/ WDIV-TV from July 5-8, showing the incumbent Democratic governor ahead of Dixon by just over 10 points. Whitmer was supported by 50.7% of Michigan’s likely voters, compared to just 40.3% who backed Dixon.
This poll also showed that a significant majority (55.3%) of Michigan residents approved of the job the governor is doing. Only 40.1% said they disapproved of Whitmer. The survey included 600 likely voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.
A previous poll conducted in May by Target Insight for the Michigan Information & Research Service showed Whitmer with a massive lead over Dixon. That survey had the incumbent governor backed by 58% of registered voters and the Trump-backed challenger backed by just 21% — a 37% lead for the Democrat.
The survey included 600 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points.
News and polling analytics site FiveThirtyEight’s 2022 predictions for the gubernatorial races currently give Whitmer a 95-in-100 chance of winning the election this year. Dixon’s odds are only 5 in 100. Predictions are that the incumbent Democrat will win about 54% of the vote to about 42% for the Trump-backed challenger.
A number of typically pro-Trump Republicans expressed outrage after he backed Dixon in the Michigan primary. Nonetheless, the former president described the GOP nominee as a “conservative warrior” who “will stand against the radical left as they attempt to indoctrinate our children and is ready to take on one of the worst governors in the country.” .
Trump only narrowly won Michigan by a 0.2% margin in 2016, garnering the support of just 47.5% of voters in the state. Prior to that, Michigan had gone for the Democrats in every presidential election since 1992. President Joe Biden won the state back for his party in 2020, garnering support from 50.6% of voters to Trump’s 47.8%.
Whitmer won his first gubernatorial election in 2018 by nearly 10 points over his GOP rival. The Democrat was supported by 53.3% of voters in her state, compared to 43.7% who voted for the Republican in the race.