Trump and Biden Remain in Dead Heat in Potential General Election

A new Emerson College Polling survey in Michigan finds 48% of residents approve of the job Gretchen Whitmer is doing as Governor, while 36% disapprove of the job she is doing in office. Seventeen percent are neutral toward Governor Whitmer. This compares to 38% of residents who approve of President Joe Biden, while 46% disapprove. Sixteen percent are neutral towards the president. 

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, said: “Governor Whitmer holds a high approval within her own party, at 82%, but also holds a plurality approval among independents, at 48%. Biden’s approval among Democrats is 14 points lower at 68%, and 10 points lower among independents at 38%.”

President Biden and former President Trump are neck and neck among Michigan voters in a hypothetical 2024 matchup: 44% support Biden, 43% support Trump, 8% support someone else, and 5% are undecided. The potential candidates’ standing is reflective of the August Emerson Michigan poll, in which Biden and Trump received 44% respectively. 

“There is a clear age divide among Michigan’s young, middle-aged, and older voters,” Kimball said. “Biden leads Trump among voters under 30, 51% to 30%, and among voters over 70, 50% to 37%. Trump leads Biden among voters between 40 and 69, 48% to 41%.”

Trump’s supporters are more likely to say there is nothing he could do or say that would make them choose not to support him for president in 2024 than Biden supporters: 67% of Trump supporters say there is nothing the former president could say or do to make them change their mind compared to 48% of Biden voters. Sixteen percent of Biden voters can think of something Biden could do to make them vote for someone else, compared to 13% of Trump supporters. 

Regarding the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) strike, a plurality of residents (48%) are more inclined to sympathize with the union rather than the companies. Fifteen percent sympathize more with the companies, while 21% side with both equally. Support for the union is six points higher in Michigan than  in the September Emerson national poll, where 42% of U.S. voters sided with the UAW. 

“A majority of those who support the UAW union plan to vote for Biden over Trump, 62% to 29%, whereas a majority of those who support the companies support Trump over Biden, 59% to 25%,” Kimball noted. 

Majorities of Michigan residents think the 2016 election (60%) and 2020 elections (53%) were won fair and square by Trump and Biden, while 19% think the 2016 election was stolen and 33% think the 2020 election was stolen. 

Midwest Study: The Michigan general election survey is part of a 22-state study on the Midwest region and surrounding states. Final states from the study will be released tomorrow, along with the study results by the Middle West Review that is researching perceptions of the Midwest region this Fall. 


The Emerson College Polling Michigan poll was conducted October 1-4, 2023. The sample consisted of 468 registered voters, with a credibility interval, similar to a poll’s margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points. The overall sample consisted of 494 Michigan residents, with a credibility interval of +/- 4.4.percentage points.  The data sets were weighted by gender, age, race, and education based on the general population using a sample of n=494 participants and allowing the natural fallout to create the sample of n=468. Turnout modeling is based on US Census parameters, and Michigan voter registration and voter turnout data by regions (MI SOS). Data was collected by contacting landlines and emails provided by Aristotle, along with an online panel of voters provided by Alchemer. 

It is important to remember that subsets based on demographics, such as gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity, carry with them higher credibility intervals, as the sample size is reduced. Survey results should be understood within the poll’s range of scores, and know with a confidence interval of 95% a poll will fall outside the range of scores 1 in 20 times.

This survey was conducted by Emerson College Polling, and questions included in this release are all sponsored by Emerson College. All questions asked in this survey with exact wording, along with full results and cross tabulations can be found here.