WDIV/Detroit News poll: Democrats hold double-digit leads heading into Michigan's November election

"I Voted" stickers handed out at polling places. (Getty)

DETROIT - Democrats at the top of the ballot hold a double-digit lead heading into Michigan's November election, according to a new poll from WDIV and The Detroit News.

The expansive poll asked voters about races across the state, including for U.S. Senate, the Michigan governor's race, the race for Michigan Attorney General and how voters feel about President Donald Trump. The poll also asked voters about how they are feeling about the direction of America, Michigan, Detroit and other areas.

The poll also provided some insight into how Michigan voters are leaning on ballot proposals, including marijuana and redistricting initiatives.

Here are some of the key findings:

Is America on the right track?

By a margin of 38.2 percent right – 48.2 percent wrong, Michigan voters believe the nation is on the wrong track by a 10-point margin.   

  • Independent voters believe the nation is on the wrong track by a margin of 28.5 percent right track/ 46.3 percent wrong track.  
  • 78 percent of Republican voters believe the nation is on the right track.   80.0 percent of Democratic voters believe Michigan is on the wrong track.    
  • In January 2018, voters said the nation was on the wrong track by a margin of 33 percent-54 percent.

Is Michigan on the right track?

By a margin of 46.0 percent-40.0 percent, Michigan voters believe the state is on the right track.  

  • Independent voters believe Michigan is on the right track by a margin of 50.4 percent-34.1 percent, a 16.3 percent margin.   
  • In January 2018, voters said Michigan was on the right track by a narrow margin of 41.0 percent-37.3 percent.

Is Detroit on the right track?

49.8 percent of Michigan voters continue to believe Detroit is on the right track, while only 20.1 percent believe Detroit is on the wrong track.

  • Out-state voters believe Detroit is on the right track by a margin of 30.8 percent-24.4 percent.  But voters in Metro Detroit believe Detroit is on the right track by a overwhelming margin of 68.3 percent right track to 15.9 percent wrong track. Metro Detroit voters are strongly bullish on Detroit.   

What's the most important issue facing your community?

  • 16.8 percent jobs and the economy
  • 12.8 percent roads and bridges
  • 8.2 percent crime and drugs
  • 6.2 percent poor leadership/ divided government
  • 5.2 percent availability of health care
  • 4.8 percent education quality
  • 4.3 percent water and sewer infrastructure
  • 4.2 percent education funding
  • 3.7 percent high cost of living/ homelessness
  • 3.5 percent morality and social issues
  • 2.7 percent immigration
  • 2.5 percent environmental issues

Are things in Michigan better or worse since Gov. Snyder took office?

Voters were asked if they approve or disapprove of the job being done by Governor Rick Snyder.   Voters are split 46.0 percent approve to 46.6 percent disapprove of his performance.

  • By a margin of 50.4 percent-40.6 percent, Independent voters approve of Governor Snyder’s performance.   

Voters were asked to think back to 2010 and asked if things in Michigan had gotten better, worse, or stayed the same. 

  • 55.9 percent of voters believe things in Michigan are better than 2010.
  • 18.6 percent believe things are worse.
  • 22.5 percent believe things in Michigan are about the same.  

Historic motivation to vote in November

Voters were asked on a one to ten scale, how motivated they were to cast a ballot in the November election. The higher the number, the greater the motivation.  

Voters are motivated at a historically high 9.4 on a 10.0 point scale. Voters across all demographic groups are extremely motivated to vote.

Generic Ballot Test:  +12.2 percent Democratic

Voters were asked if the election were held today, would they generally vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate for State Representative.  

By a margin of 46.1 percent-33.9 percent, voters chose the generic Democratic candidate over the generic Republican candidate – a lead of 12.2 percent for the Democratic candidate.  

In January 2018, the generic Democratic candidate had a 10.8 percent lead in the generic ballot test.   

  • Men choose the generic Democratic candidate by a margin of 43.2 percent-40.1 percent -- a three point lead.   
  • Women choose the generic Democratic candidate by a margin of 48.7 percent-28.0 percent -- a 20.7 percent lead among women.  This is a four-point increase since January 2018.   

How Michiganders view President Trump 

Voters view Donald Trump unfavorably by a margin of 37.0 percent favorable to 56.6 percent unfavorable.  These numbers remain unchanged from January 2018.   

  • Men view Trump unfavorably by a margin of 40.1 percent-50.7 percent.  
  • Women view Trump unfavorably by a whopping margin of 34.1 percent-62.1 percent.   

But while voters view Trump unfavorably, voters disapprove of the job he is doing by a margin of 44.3 percent approve to 51.1 percent disapprove.   

  • While 25.5 percent strongly approve of Donald Trump’s performance, 44.2 percent strongly disapprove of Trump’s performance.
  • While President Trump’s favorable/unfavorable has remain unchanged, his job approval has climbed from 39.5 percent to 44.3 percent since January 2018 – an improvement of 4.8 percent points.   

Voters were asked if President Trump’s performance would or would not be a major factor in how they vote this November.  67.9 percent of voters said President Trump WOULD play a major factor in how they voted this November.

Some other findings in relation to President Trump:

  • Mueller investigation: By a margin of 62.7 percent-31.3 percent, Michigan voters support the Mueller investigation – 46.4 percent of Michigan voters strongly support the Mueller investigation.   
    • 51.3 percent say the Mueller investigation is fair. 31.9 percent say the investigation is rigged. 16.9 percent do not know.   
  • Trade sanctions: Voters were asked if they support or oppose President Trump’s imposition of trade sanctions on other countries. By a margin of 40.8 percent-50.0 percent, Michigan voters oppose the trade sanctions.  
    • While 26.5 percent strongly support the sanctions, 38.2 percent strongly oppose the sanctions.   
    • Republicans are now the state’s strongest advocates of trade sanctions.  
  • Media: By a margin of 29.8 percent agree to 64.4 percent disagree, Michigan voters sharply disagree with President Trump that the media is the enemy of the people.   
  • Impeachment: By a margin of 40.8 percent-49.1 percent, Michigan voters oppose impeachment hearings against President Trump. But 40.8 percent of voters now support impeachment hearings.   

Michigan governor's race: Whitmer vs. Schuette

The WDIV/Detroit News poll shows a double-digit lead for Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer in the upcoming midterm elections.

Democrat Gretchen Whitmer holds 13.7 percent lead over Republican Bill Schuette.

  • Bill Schuette has 88.4 percent name identification, breaking 26.2 percent favorable to 41.3 percent unfavorable. Bill Schuette’s name identification is under water by 14.1 percent.
    • Independents have an unfavorable opinion of Bill Schuette with only 18.7 percent viewing him favorably while 37.4 percent view him unfavorably.
    • Schuette is viewed unfavorably by independent voters by a 2-1 margin.   
  • Gretchen Whitmer has 80.9 percent name identification, breaking 39.3 percent favorable to 19.1 percent unfavorable.   
    • Independents have a favorable opinion of Gretchen Whitmer with 35.0 percent viewing her favorably and 14.6 percent viewing her unfavorably.
    • Whitmer leads among Independent voters by a margin of 39.0-25.2 percent -- a 13.8 percent lead.

Take a deeper dive into poll numbers on the Michigan governor's race here

U.S. Senate race: Stabenow vs. James

Sen. Debbie Stabenow holds a 22.9 percent lead over Republican challenger John James.

  • Debbie Stabenow has 97.7 percent name identification breaking 54.3 percent favorable to 31.1 percent unfavorable.   
  • John James has 54.3 percent name identification breaking 20.9 percent favorable to 15.5 percent unfavorable.   

Voters were asked if they approve or disapprove of the job being done by Debbie Stabenow as United States Senator.  Voters approve of Stabenow’s performance by a margin of 54.0 percent approve to 30.9 percent disapprove.   

In a head to head matchup, Stabenow is cruising to re-election with 55.5 percent of voters supporting Stabenow compared to only 32.6 percent supporting James.  Stabenow holds a 22.9 percent lead.   More importantly, incumbent Stabenow appears well above the 50 percent threshold against James.

Race for Michigan Attorney General

Democrat Dana Nessel leads Republican opponent Tom Leonard by 12.9 percent.

  • Dana Nessel has 17.1 percent name identification breaking 5.1 percent favorable to 3.0 percent unfavorable. Nessel has minimal name identification.
  • Tom Leonard has 23.0 percent name identification breaking 3.3 percent favorable to 5.1 percent unfavorable. Leonard also has minimal name identification.
  • In a head to head matchup, Nessel leads 42.3 percent-29.4 percent -- a lead of 12.9 percent. Third party candidates get 4.6 percent and 23.7 percent of voters remain undecided.

Ballot proposal: Legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan

By a margin of 56.2 percent-38.0 percent, Michigan voters support legalizing recreational marijuana. Only 5.8 percent of voters remain undecided. These numbers have remained consistent for the past two years.   

Only voters over the age of 65 are sharply opposed to the marijuana proposal.

Ballot proposal: Redistricting 

By a margin of 37.8 percent-31.4 percent, a plurality of Michigan voters narrowly support a constitutional amendment that would create an Independent Redistricting Commission to handle redrawing legislative and congressional district boundaries. 30.8 percent of voters remain undecided.

There are stark differences on the redistricting proposal by party affiliation. Strong Republican voters are sharply opposed to the constitutional amendment.  

Leaning Republican and Independent voters are split, with Democratic voters in support of the proposal

But this constitutional amendment is NOT in the upper fifties as is historically required at the start of a campaign to be positioned for passage.   

Michigan voters strongly disapprove of Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos has 90.5 percent name identification breaking 22.4 percent favorable to 50.7 percent unfavorable.   

  • Independents have a sharply negative impression of Betsy Devos by a margin of 11.4 percent-51.2 percent.
  • Even 33.3 percent of Leaning Republican voters and 18.2 percent of Strong Republican voters have an unfavorable impression of Betsy Devos.   

Voters were asked if they approve or disapprove of the job being done by Betsy Devos as US Secretary of Education.  

Voters disapprove of Betsy Devos’ performance by a margin of 24.4 percent approve to 60.2 percent disapprove.  50.3 percent of Michigan voters STRONGLY DISAPPROVE of Betsy Devos’ performance.   

  • Independent voters disapprove of Betsy Devos’ performance by a margin of 17.0 percent-62.6 percent. 51.2 percent of Independents strongly disapprove of Betsy Devos’ performance.

Poll methodology: 

The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted a Michigan statewide survey of November 2018 likely general election voters. The 600 sample, live operator telephone survey was conducted on September 5-7, 2018 and has a margin of error of +/-4.0 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence. 64.0 percent of respondents were contacted via landline telephone. 36.0 percent of respondents were contacted via cell phone telephone. This survey was commissioned by WDIV Local 4 and the Detroit News.   

Read the full poll below:

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