Michigan voters back Whitmer’s COVID response, disapprove of Trump’s, poll shows

Whitmer’s job approval remains strong

FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2020, file photo, provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich. On Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, the Justice Department sent letters to the governors of Michigan and three other Democratic-led states, seeking data on whether they violated federal law by ordering public nursing homes to accept recovering COVID-19 patients from hospitals, actions that have been criticized for potentially fueling the spread of the virus (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File) (Uncredited)

Michigan voters continue to support Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, while disapproving of President Donald Trump’s, according to a new WDIV/Detroit News poll.

The new survey asked Michigan voters for their feelings on the 2020 presidential race, key issues, and on Gov. Whitmer and President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some of the key findings in the WDIV/Detroit news poll, which was conducted Oct. 23-25, 2020.

Whitmer approval remains strong

Whitmer is seen favorably by 54.0% of Michigan voters and unfavorably by 37.3% of Michigan voters. These numbers represent a minor improvement from early October.

59.1% of Michigan voters APPROVE of the job Governor Whitmer is doing. 43.4% strongly approve while only 28.9% strongly disapprove.

60.9% of Michigan voters APPROVE of the job Governor Whitmer is doing in handling the pandemic. 47.5% strongly approve while 28.4% strongly disapprove.

Whitmer has 70.7% pandemic approval in Metro Detroit and 51.6% approval in out-state Michigan. Whitmer strongest support comes from urban and suburban voters and her lowest among small town and rural voters.

Among voters over the age of 65, Whitmer’s pandemic approval is 75.2%-22.4%.

Voters disapprove of Trump pandemic response

By a margin of 38.6% approve to 54.5% disapprove, Michigan voters sharply disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the pandemic. 50.7% -- a majority of Michigan voters – STRONGLY DISAPPROVE of President Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

President Donald Trump’s favorable/unfavorable is 40.4% favorable to 53.0% unfavorable. These numbers have remained consistent for essentially three and a half years in Michigan.

Voters disapprove of President Trump’s job performance by a margin of 43.7% approve to 52.1% disapprove. These numbers have been statistically consistent for the past three years with the President unable to improve his standing among Michigan voters.


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 October 23-25, 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.

Who was surveyed:

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.