GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new poll in the Republican gubernatorial primary race shows three candidates in a statistical tie less than six weeks before the vote.
The new Mitchell Research & Communications poll commissioned by MIRS shows Tudor Dixon and Kevin Rinke tied with support from 15% of respondents. Thirteen percent said they would vote for Ryan Kelley. Eight percent supported Garrett Soldano and 3% Ralph Rebandt.
Forty-six percent were still undecided.
The results came from a survey of 588 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.
Dixon is a former business owner and broadcaster from Muskegon County, Rinke a Bloomfield Township auto dealership owner, Kelley a real estate broker from Allendale, Soldano a Mattawan chiropractor and Rebandt a Farmington Hills pastor.
The data is strikingly different from the results of an EPIC-MRA poll commissioned by WOOD TV8 and media partners less than two weeks ago. That poll showed Kelley and Soldano in a statistical dead heat and Rinke just behind. Dixon was trailing the top three.
There are a number of possible explanations for the difference. The EPIC-MRA poll was in the field less than 24 hours after Kelley’s high-profile arrest by the FBI, so his name recognition was high. Mitchell also pointed out that a political action committee supporting Dixon has been running television ads on the east side of the state, boosting her approval rating there.
Another likely reason: This is an unsettled field. It has only been a couple of weeks it became clear whose name would be on the ballot. The revelation of fraudulent signatures from several candidates kicked two frontrunners off the ballot. The remaining candidates are now fighting for recognition and to promote their platforms.
The Republican primary is Aug. 2. The winner will face incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, in the general election on Nov. 8.