Thanedar makes his move, but 50 percent of voters are still undecided


LANSING, Mich. – With just over four months to go until the 2018 August primary elections, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Dr. Shri Thanedar hold leads over their primary challengers in the race for governor. However, 54 percent of GOP voters and 48 percent of Democrat voters are undecided.


In the GOP primary, Schuette holds a 16-point lead over Lt. Governor Brian Calley (29 percent to 13 percent). Dr. Jim Hines and State Senator Pat Colbeck each have two percent. Geographically, Schuette leads Calley in every area of the state. He also does well with key Republican primary groups including voters who consider themselves “very conservative” (41 percent Schuette, 12 percent Calley) and seniors (41 percent Schuette, 14 percent Calley). But, over 50 percent of Republicans are still undecided including 64 percent of women, 63 percent of Macomb GOP voters, 86 percent of those living in the Upper Peninsula, and 66 percent of voters 44 years old or younger.


In the Democratic primary, Shri Thanedar has parleyed millions of dollars in advertising into a 3-percentage point lead over Gretchen Whitmer (21 percent Thanedar, 18 percent Whitmer). Thanedar is now the best-known name in the Democratic field, raising his name recognition to 45 percent among all voters. Our poll shows Gretchen Whitmer has some troubles in the City of Detroit where she is only getting nine percent of the vote and is running third behind Thanedar (27 percent) and Abdul Al-Sayed (14 percent).


“We have seen very little movement in the Republican primary over the past six months. Schuette has a solid lead but there is plenty of time and plenty of undecided voters who are going to decide this election,” said Tom Shields, President of Marketing Resource Group (MRG). “On the Democrat side, while Whitmer has been lining up endorsements, Shri Thanedar has been winning support among Democratic voters. His campaign ads are working, and Whitmer could be in for a fight.”


The results and the wording of the questions asked by MRG follow.


GOP Gubernatorial Primary Vote


Q If the Republican primary for Governor of Michigan was being held today, and the candidates were Brian Calley, Jim Hines. Pat Colbeck and Bill Schuette, for whom would you vote?[ROTATE]


  April 2017 Sept. 2017 March 2018
Brian Calley 11% 13% 13%
Jim Hines 7% 3% 2%
Pat Colbeck Not tested 3% 2%
Bill Schuette 32% 33% 29%
Other/Undecided/Don’t Know 51% 48% 54%


DEM Gubernatorial Primary Vote


  1. If the Democratic primary for Governor of Michigan was being held today, and the candidates were Abdul Al-Sayed. Bill Cobbs, Gretchen Whitmer and Shri Thanedar, whom would you vote for?[ROTATE]


  Sept. 2017 March 2018
Abdul Al-Sayed 4% 10%
Bill Cobbs 8% 3%
Gretchen Whitmer 27% 18%
Shri Thanedar 3% 21%
Other/Undecided/Don’t Know 58% 48%





Q Now, I’m going to read you the names of some people and groups in the news, and I’d like you to rate your feelings toward each one as very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative, or very negative. If you don’t know the name, please just say so. (RANDOMIZE)


CALLEY Name ID Positive Perception Negative


March 2018 36 12 7
September 2017 37 9 8
May 2017 36 12 7
October 2016 32 9 9
Feb 2016 33 11 6
Feb 2015 33 11 6


SCHUETTE Name ID Positive Perception Negative


March 2018 66 24 18
September 2017 68 21 18
May 2017 64 21 17
October 2016 57 20 18
Feb 2016 70 23 20
Feb 2015 64 21 16


HINES Name ID Positive Perception Negative


March 2018 18 3 1
September 2017 17 4 2
May 2017 21 4 2
October 2016 19 3 4


COLBECK Name ID Positive Perception Negative Perception
March 2018 18 3 1






WHITMER Name ID Positive Perception Negative


March 2018 30 10 5
September 2017 28 10 4
May 2017 32 14 5
October 2016 21 8 5


EL-SAYED Name ID Positive Perception Negative


March 2018 35 8 6
May 2017 26 6 5


Thanedar Name ID Positive Perception Negative


March 2018 45 14 9


COBB Name ID Positive Perception Negative


March 2018 18 4 3




MRG Michigan Poll® Spring 2018

None of the questions released in this press advisory where paid for or sponsored by outside third parties. The data belongs to MRG and is being released to the public.


The survey of 600 likely Michigan voters was conducted by live interview March 13-17, 2018. The sample was randomly drawn from a listed sample of all registered voters with a history of voting and stratified by city and township to reflect voter turnout. Thirty percent of the sample was conducted with cell phone users. In addition, quotas for gender and cell phone interviews were met within each geographic area, and extra efforts were made to reach African Americans.


A sample of 600 likely voters in Michigan yields a sampling margin of error of ±4 percent with a 95 percent confidence interval. The sampling margin of error for subgroups may be higher depending on the size of the subgroup. Sample size of GOP primary voters = 195. Sample size of Democrat primary voters = 233.


About Marketing Resource Group, Inc.

Lansing, Michigan-based Marketing Resource Group, Inc. ( is an award-winning PR firm representing corporate, association, nonprofit, and private clients with interests in Michigan. MRG offers expertise in public affairs, communications, political campaign management, and public opinion survey research. For more than thirty years, MRG has conducted its bi-annual omnibus Michigan Poll®, tracking the pulse of Michigan voters on key statewide public policy and political issues. MRG is the only Michigan public opinion survey research firm that maintains nearly 30 years of trend analyses of voter attitudes related to state and national leaders, political parties, and the political and economic climate in Michigan. If any member of the media is interested in our trend data, please contact Tom Shields.


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