Poll: Where Michigan voters stand on Whitmer, Dixon 1 week before election

Incumbent Democrat continues to hold lead over GOP candidate

Gretchen Whitmer (left) and Tudor Dixon (right) debate at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. (Robin Buckson/Detroit News via AP, Pool) ((Robin Buckson/Detroit News via AP, Pool))

Michigan incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to lead in the polls as the general election nears, according to a new WDIV/Detroit News poll.

Results from a survey of Michigan voters conducted between Oct. 26-28 found that Democratic Gov. Whitmer is polling ahead of Republican opponent Tudor Dixon, and that issues of inflation and reproductive rights are largely motivating Michiganders to vote.

Here are some of the key findings from this portion of the survey:

Whitmer leads Dixon by 8.6%

  • Incumbent Gov. Whitmer is leading Tudor Dixon by a margin of 51.7%-43.1% -- meaning Whitmer currently leads by 8.6 points.
  • The race for Michigan governor has tightened within the last few months. Whitmer previously held a 17-point lead in September.
  • Support for Whitmer remains strong among voters who identify as “strong” Democrats (99%) and leaning Democratic voters (95.3%).
  • Support for Dixon is strong among voters who identify as “strong” Republicans (90%) and somewhat strong among leaning Republican voters (63.1%).
  • Whitmer has increased her support among Independent voters, with 57.6% of them showing support for Whitmer. 30.4% of Independent voters support Dixon.
  • Of note, Whitmer has 21% of the vote from leaning Republican voters, and 6.3% of the vote from strong Republican voters.
  • Dixon has 0% support from strong Democratic voters, and 2.4% of the vote from leaning Democratic voters.
  • Whitmer has a 19-point lead on Dixon among Metro Detroit voters, but Dixon has a narrow lead among voters throughout the the state of Michigan.
  • Whitmer is leading among female voters by a 2-1 margin compared to Dixon. She also holds a substantial lead among both Independent male and female voters.
  • Dixon holds a lead among male voters at a margin of 54.6% Dixon-40.9% Whitmer.
  • Whitmer is leading among absentee voters -- a group that is often comprised mainly of Democratic voters, as is the case this election.

Whitmer/Dixon approval ratings

  • Whitmer’s job approval ratings remain consistent, with 53% of voters showing approval of the job she’s done as governor. Whitmer’s job approval has stayed between 53%-56% throughout this year.
  • 49.1% of voters view Gov. Whitmer favorably, while 46.3% of voters view her unfavorably. Both favorable and unfavorable numbers have increased since the last poll.
  • Dixon has increased her name identification to 93.4%, compared to an extremely low name I.D. in previous polling.
  • 37.4% of voters view Dixon favorably, while 44.8% of voters view her unfavorably. 11.2% of voters have no opinion of Dixon.

Whitmer/Dixon debates

  • Voters who watched the two televised debates between Whitmer and Dixon say they had no influence on their vote.
  • 36.4% of voters watched the debates, while 63.1% of voters did not.
  • 60.5% of voters who did watch the debates said the debates had no influence on their vote.

More: Michigan Voter Guide 2022: Get to know key races, ballot proposals before voting

Voters motivated

  • Voter motivation remains strong among Michigan voters as we approach the Nov. 8 election.
  • Strong Republican voters are among the most motivated, coming in at a grade of 9.7 motivation on a 10-point scale. Leaning Republicans’ motivation is rated at 9.6.
  • Motivation is rated at 9.4 among strong Democratic voters, and at 8.5 among leaning Democratic voters.
  • Motivation is rated at 8.8 among Independent voters.
  • Voter motivation is especially high among voters between 18-29 years old, which is similar to elections in 2018 and 2020.

Inflation, abortion rights driving motivation

  • The primary factors motivating Michigan voters to vote in November are the issues of inflation and abortion/reproductive rights.
  • 40% of voters identified inflation and the cost of living as their primary motivating factor.
  • 31.4% of voters identified abortion and women’s rights as their primary motivating factor.
  • Inflation rose to the primary motivating factor, which had trailed behind abortion for several months.
  • At the beginning of October, about 23.6% listed inflation as their biggest motivating factor, compared to 35.5% of voters listing abortion as their biggest motivating factor.
  • Abortion is the primary motivating factor among strong and leaning Democratic voters, while inflation is biggest among strong and leaning Republican voters.
  • The distinction is clearest between men and women: A majority of female voters (45.9%) cite abortion as their primary motivating factor this election, while a majority of male voters (38.5%) cite inflation as their primary factor.
    • 25.8% of male voters cited abortion as their motivation, and 26.4% of female voters cited inflation as their motivation.


The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted a Michigan statewide survey of November 2022 likely general election voters. The 600 sample, live operator telephone survey was conducted on October 26-28, 2022, and has a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence. 28.4% of respondents were contacted via landline telephone. 71.6% of respondents were contacted via cell phone telephone. This survey was commissioned by WDIV Local 4 News and the Detroit News.

More: Complete Decision 2022 coverage, results

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.