Gretchen Whitmer Still Winning, Michigan Maybe Still Not Convinced 'Tudor Dixon' Is Real Name
Let’s hear it for Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, who is on track for a second term as Michigan’s governor. A new poll from the Detroit News shows her pulling further ahead of right-wing extremist and aspiring mattress salesman Tudor Dixon. Whitmer is absolutely crushing Dixon, 48 percent to 35 percent, which is well beyond the margin of error and even the reality-warping powers of a genie.
This is a two-point increase from a similar poll in July. Thanks to the Samuel Alito Supreme Court’s “uteruses are state property” ruling (AKA Dobbs v. Jackson ), abortion is the top issue for 34 percent of Michigan voters, more than inflation, jobs, the economy, and other problems Republicans won't actually fix.
Whitmer is also humiliating Dixon on the fundraising front. She boasts a 28-to-1 cash advantage. According to campaign reports filed earlier this month, Whitmer has raised $2.4 million since the August 3 primary election. That’s about as much as Dixon has raised the entire election cycle. She's only managed $700,000 since clinching the nomination. Whitmer’s campaign had a solid $14 million in the bank at the end of August, while Dixon has about $523,000. Her billionaire benefactor Betsy DeVos probably loses that much inside her couch cushions.
Dixon entered the general election with low name recognition, which is one of the problems with never holding elected office. She has under two months to persuade voters she is fit the govern and that "Tudor Dixon" is not the name of a restricted country club.
Two super PACs — the DeVos-funded Michigan Families United and Save Michigan — have spent $2 million so far running ads intended to promote Dixon’s message. There’s just one catch: Dixon’s message is doo-doo. While Whitmer has committed herself to fighting for abortion rights, Dixon is a forced-birth extremist who seems fine with rape victims carrying their pregnancies to tern. During a July interview, she described the hypothetical of a 14-year-old impregnated by her sick uncle as the “perfect example” of her unyielding position. “A life is a life,” she said, no matter how permanently traumatized the child is.
Michigan Republicans know their forced birth policies are unpopular, which is why they tried (and failed) to block a referendum to allow Michiganders to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.
Dixon tried to spin this as a positive, claiming that Michiganders could now support abortion rights separately, while voting for her dumb ass. No one should take that seriously, as Republican governors and legislatures have consistently ignored or outright sabotaged the will of the people.
\u201cAnd just like that you can vote for Gretchen Whitmer\u2019s abortion agenda & still vote against her.\n\nGretchen, time to stop hiding behind your BS ads. \n\nI\u2019m here to clean up your mess, turn our schools around, stop your crime wave, fix the roads, & bring back the jobs you cost us.\u201d— Tudor Dixon (@Tudor Dixon) 1662683164
Pre-Dobbs, Republicans imagined coasting to victory on President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings. While he’s no longer less popular than gas station sushi, his numbers still aren’t great. The good news for Democrats, as well as democracy in general, is that individual Democrats aren’t anchored to the president.
Cook Political Editor Amy Walter wrote about how Democrats are winning over voters who are otherwise “meh” about Biden.
This year [...] Democratic Senate candidates have been consistently outpolling Biden's job approval ratings in their states. And, when it comes to the House, the share of voters who say they would vote for a Democrat for Congress is anywhere from 1 to 8 points higher than the percentage of voters who say they approve of the job Biden is doing. For example, the most recent Quinnipiac survey showed Biden's job approval rating at 40 percent, yet 47 percent of voters said they were supporting a Democrat for Congress in November.
In other words, many voters who are unhappy with Biden are nonetheless committed to supporting a Democratic candidate in November.
This is unprecedented.
Back during the 2018 Blue Wave, when Whitmer was elected governor, Republicans were crushed wherever Donald Trump’s approval was 48 percent or lower. If the pattern held, Biden’s 34 percent approval in Michigan would doom Whitmer. But she currently enjoys 54 percent approval in the state. (Donald Trump is also deep underwater with 35 percent approval.)
This isn’t a Joe Manchin/West Virginia dynamic, either. Whitmer is arguably more overtly liberal than Biden, and she’s about to win re-election. Next stop, the White House!
Sorry, got ahead of myself there, but Big Gretch is gonna make us proud.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."