GOP Challenger Catching Up With Gretchen Whitmer As Election Day Approaches

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon has narrowed the polling gap with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan by over 30 points since May, per a new survey released on Sunday.

The poll shows Dixon behind Whitmer by 6%, garnering 47% to her 53% support, per YouGov Research, which conducted the survey for CBS News. The single-digit margin is significantly narrower than earlier in the year when some polls showed Whitmer in the lead by as much as 37%.

The narrow gap between Dixon and Whitmer, less than a month before voters go to the polls on Nov. 8, suggests that the race could be competitive for Republicans, who are seeking to regain the governorship after Whitmer succeeded term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in 2019. Michigan’s governorship has alternated between Democratic and Republican electees, who have usually won two terms, since 1991. (RELATED: Traditional GOP Donors Ditching Their Party’s Candidates In Michigan)

YouGov & CBS’s poll is graded ‘B-‘ by FiveThirtyEight, a polling aggregator. Its results are identical to a poll by the Trafalgar Group for the Michigan News Source, which gave Tudor 45% and Whitmer 51%, and is graded ‘A-‘ by FiveThirtyEight.

The GOP candidate’s gains in the Michigan gubernatorial race come after a tumultuous campaign for the state’s Republican party, which faced a competitive and controversial primary. Dixon, who has no political experience and was previously a conservative commentator, won a five-way primary race. One candidate, Ryan Kelley, was arrested by the FBI for his role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, while another candidate, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, was declared ineligible for the GOP nomination after a scandal over fraudulent signatures on his nominating petitions.

In the 2020 presidential election, then-candidate Joe Biden won the state by 2.78%. RealClearPolitics’s polling average shows Whitmer with a 10% lead over Dixon.

Whitmer, a first-term governor, has faced significant criticism for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, where her stay-at-home orders and mask mandates faced large-scale protests from conservative groups. In October 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously overturned all of Whitmer’s executive orders related to COVID-19, while a plot by members of the Wolverine Watchmen, a militia group, to kidnap Whitmer and put her on trial for “treason,” was foiled by the FBI that month.

Dixon’s campaign, meanwhile, has attracted controversy for her endorsement of former President Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from Trump and that he won the state of Michigan, which he lost.

The YouGov poll surveyed 1,285 registered voters in Michigan and had a margin of error of 3.6%.

Dixon and Whitmer’s campaigns did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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