Economy is Top Issue for GOP Primary Voters

A new Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey of Michigan Republican primary voters finds 54% are undecided ahead of the August 6, 2024 primary for U.S. Senate, while 32% support former U.S. Representative Mike Rogers. Eight percent support former U.S. Representative Justin Amash, 3% support businessman Sandy Pensler, and 2% support Physician Sherry O’Donnell. 

“With over three months to go until the August Michigan Senate primary, a majority of Republican primary voters are undecided; Trump-endorsed Mike Rogers has the most support among the group of candidates at 32%,” Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, said. “Rogers’ support is ten points higher among male voters than female, 37% to 27%, and among voters with a college degree than those without, 38% to 29%.”

Voters were asked if they have a favorable or unfavorable view of the Republican U.S. Senate candidates.

  • Mike Rogers: 59% favorable (23% very, 36% somewhat), 12% unfavorable (8% somewhat, 4% very), 30% have never heard of
  • Justin Amash: 32% favorable (8% very, 24% somewhat), 21% unfavorable (13% somewhat, 8% very), 48% have never heard of
  • Sandy Pensler: 27% favorable (4% very, 23% somewhat), 15% unfavorable (11% somewhat, 4% very), 59% have never heard of
  • Sherry O’Donnell: 19% favorable (3% very, 16% somewhat), 12% unfavorable (9% somewhat, 3% very), 69% have never heard of

The most important issue for Michigan Republican primary voters is the economy at 53%, followed by immigration at 17%, threats to democracy at 7%, and housing affordability at 6%.

  • Voters in their 40s and 50s are most concerned about the economy, at 61%. 
  • Concern for immigration generally increases with Republican primary voters’ age: it is the concern of 23% of voters over 70. 

Eighty-two percent of Michigan Republican primary voters disapprove of the pro-Palestine protests on college campuses, while 7% approve of them and 12% are not familiar or have no opinion. 


The Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey was conducted April 30-May 1, 2024. The sample of likely Republican primary voters, n=545, has a credibility interval, similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE), of +/- 4.1 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, education, race, and age based on 2024 registration modeling. Turnout modeling is based on Michigan Census parameters, and voter registration data (MI S.O.S.). 

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 with a confidence interval of 95% a poll will fall outside the range of scores 1 in 20 times. 

Data was collected by contacting cell phones via MMS-to-web, and landlines via an Interactive Voice Response (IVR), provided by Aristotle, and an online panel of voters provided by CINT. The survey was offered in English.

All questions asked in this survey with exact wording, along with full results, demographics, and cross tabulations can be found under Full Results. This survey was conducted by Emerson College Polling and sponsored by Nexstar Media.