Honigman Capitol Report


Governor Race

As of October 31, 2022, the Real Clear Politics polling average for the race for Governor had Governor Gretchen Whitmer with a 3.6% advantage over Tudor Dixon. Real Clear Politics estimates Michigan polls underrepresent Republican voters by 3.7%. As of October 30, 2022 FiveThirtyEight projects that Governor Whitmer has an 87% chance of being re-elected, which is down one percentage point since October 30. While Tudor Dixon has held large rallies this week in Midland, Traverse City and Grand Rapids, the Whitmer campaign has focused on smaller events to meet with volunteers in advance of door knocking and speaking with voters. However, Whitmer did hold a rally in Detroit last Saturday with former President Barack Obama drawing over 3,000 supporters.

Absentee Ballots

Research from Target Early found that approximately 50.6% of absentee ballots requested this year came from Democrats while only 28% came from Republicans. This is a big flip from 2018 when 48.3% of absentee voters were Republicans while only 33% were Democrats. According to the Michigan Department of State, nearly 2 million Michiganders have requested absentee ballots and 1.1 million have already returned their ballot, this a 73% increase in the number of absentee ballots requested at the same time for the 2018 midterm election. Detroit reported the most absentee ballot applications statewide followed by Grand Rapids.

Attorney General and Secretary of State

Recent polling has both Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson leading their respective opponents, Matt DePerno and Kristina Karamo, however, the number of undecided voters in both of these statewide races remains quite high. While DePerno has enjoyed strong support from traditional Republican groups and the recent endorsement of former Attorney General Bill Schuette, Karamo has struggled in this area. Pre-general campaign finance reports show Benson outraised Karamo $873,802 to $241,106 and from September 11 to present, Benson outspent the Republican challenger by a 10-to-1 margin.


Congressional Races

Through reapportionment, Michigan lost 1 congressional district and will now have 13 members of Congress. Nine of those seats appear to be in safe partisan control with the Republicans likely to win 5 seats and the Democrats likely to hold 4 seats. Michigan has 4 races that are currently being targeted by both parties. In the 3rd District (includes parts of Ottawa, Kent and Muskegon Counties), Republicans hold a small lead in polling while Democrats are currently leading in the 8th (Midland, Bay and Saginaw Counties) and 11th (Oakland County) Districts. In the 7th District (Clinton, Shiawassee, Eaton, Ingham and Livingston Counties), Elissa Slotkin (Democrat) and Tom Barrett (Republican) are nearly neck and neck in the Country’s most expensive congressional race this year. While Slotkin is polling slightly ahead, results are predicted to be close next week.


Michigan Senate

Redistricting had the greatest impact on the State Senate, where the Republicans have held control since 1983. There are 38 seats in the State Senate; 32 of those seats appear to be in safe partisan control with the Republicans likely to win 17 seats and the Democrats likely to hold 17 seats. The 4 seats likely to determine majority are the 12th (Macomb) and 30th (Grand Rapids) Districts leaning Republican and the 11th (Macomb) and 35th (Tri-Cities) Districts, leaning Democrat.


Ballot Proposals

Proposal 22-01 to amend term limits and create financial disclosures is expected to pass with the most recent Detroit News/WDIV poll showing 71.1% in favor, an increase from 66/3% earlier this month. Proposal 22-02 to amend the state constitution to add provisions regarding elections is also expected to pass with most recent polling indicating 63.7% support the proposal. Finally, Proposal 22-03 to amend the state constitution to establish rights to reproductive freedom is also polling with the majority supporting but the race is tighter than the other two proposals with only 55% in favor.

Petition signature thresholds for statewide ballot proposals are adjusted after every gubernatorial election and if voter turnout projections are accurate, we could see lower signature thresholds for the next four years for state-level initiative and referendum petitions.

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