Whitmer Leads Chief Craig by 6 Points in Poll for Michigan Governor

May 13, 2021, 3:00 PM by  Allan Lengel

Chief Craig and Gov. Whitmer

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer leads Detroit Police Chief James Craig by 6 points -- 48 percent to 42 percent -- in a race for governor in 2022, according to a poll released Thursday.

The poll, commissioned by MIRS News and conducted by Target Insyght, also shows Whitmer leading Republican John James 49 to 39 percent. The poll has an error of margin of 3.5 percent.

The polls also shows:

► 36 percent of voters surveyed prefered James in the Republican primary, compared to 21 percent for Craig. The other 42 percent were undecided.

► Whitmer beat James 69-28 percent and Craig 64-32 among Black voters. 

► Male voters preferred Craig to Whitmer by a 48 to 44 percent margin. Female voters preferred Whitmer 51-37 percent.

► In a key issue -- economy and jobs -- voters preferred Craig over Whitmer by an overwhelming margin of 63 to 30 percent

Ed Sarpolus, executive director of Target Insyght, said the poll shows Whitmer has to focus more on jobs and economy as the campaign heats up and the pandemic improves.

He explained that Craig did well because of his popularity in Metro Detroit and the Black community. He also said it is to his benefit for now that few have been able to define him based on issues. 

The May 9-11 poll involved 800 registered voters statewide and used landlines and cell phones. 38% of those surveyed identified as Republican, 42% were Democrat and 20% were Independent. It's margin of error was +/- 3.5 percent.

Neither Craig nor John James have officially announced bids to run for governor on the Republican ticket. Nonetheless, Craig has been talking to Republican party leaders and is expected to announce his candidacy after he retires from the police department June 1.

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