Poll: Peters boosts lead over James, but Michigan US Senate race remains tight

Sen. Gary Peters holds slight lead over John James

FILE - In this combination of 2018 and 2019 file photos are, from left, Democratic U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James. James has been called a rising star of the Republican Party so many times it's become a cliche. Now Republicans are looking to the African American combat veteran, business owner and father of three to flip a Senate seat to help the party hold its precarious majority. But James' race against Sen. Gary Peters in a presidential battleground state has suddenly gotten dicier. Although Trump narrowly won Michigan in 2016, the mood seems to be turning away from the president and the GOP. (AP Photos, File) (Uncredited, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters has increased his lead over Republican challenger John James, but the race remains tight, according to a new WDIV/Detroit News poll.

Gary Peters now leads John James by 5.4%. In early September, Peters led the race by 3.1% within the margin of error. About 13% of voters remain undecided in this race.

James leads in out-state Michigan 46.0%-39.6% -- the exact same percentages as the Presidential race. But Peters lead in the Detroit Metro region by a margin of 50.3%-33.2%, with 15.2% in Detroit metro still undecided.

Exclusive poll: Peters holds lead over James, but Michigan US Senate race remains tight

Other polling news:

While James is getting nearly the exact same percentage in Metro Detroit as Donald Trump, Gary Peters is drawing 6.4% less in Metro Detroit than Joe Biden. Those voters remain undecided.

Among undecided voters, 35.9% support Biden, while 26.9% support Trump.

Other key findings:

  • Peters leads among voters over the age of 65, 56.2%-34.3% -- a 22%-point lead.
  • Among white voters, James leads 47.1%-39.1%. Among Black voters, Peters leads 75.6%-4.7%. 18.6% of Black voters remain undecided.

Peters leads in early voting

  • Among those that have already voted, Peters leads 71.8%-18.3%.
  • Among those still holding their absentee ballot, Peters leads 63.3%-26.1%.
  • Among those voting on Election Day, James leads 54.0%-28.0%.


The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted a Michigan statewide survey of November 2020 likely general election voters. The 600 sample, live operator telephone survey was conducted on September 30-October 3, 2020 and has a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence. 50.0% of respondents were contacted via landline telephone. 50.0% of respondents were contacted via cell phone telephone. This survey was commissioned by WDIV Local 4 News and the Detroit News.

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.