Michigan gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon, a Republican, has fallen behind incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer by 16 percentage points, according to recent polling.
Thirty-nine percent of voters say they would vote for Dixon, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump in late July, compared to 55% of likely voters who support Whitmer, according to a statewide poll conducted by EPIC-MRA of Lansing.
The polling numbers for the former conservative media personality have not decreased since last month, when polls showed her 11 points behind Whitmer. Support for Whitmer, however, has grown by 5 percentage points, showing a shift in formerly undecided voters who are throwing their support behind the governor. Such a wide margin has not been seen in a governor's race in Michigan since 2010, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Dixon's flagging poll numbers come amid a political ad campaign against her highlighting her views on abortion. One of the advertisements, paid for by a political action committee called Put Michigan First, shows Dixon saying she believes in "no exceptions" for abortion, including in instances of rape or incest. The advertisement closes by telling viewers to tell Dixon to "stop hurting Michigan women."
"Abortion is the driving force in terms of the improvement in Whitmer's numbers," said Bernie Porn, president of EPIC-MRA, in a statement to the Detroit Free Press.
In an interview with Fox 2 Detroit, Dixon said she supported an exception for abortion if the life of the mother was in danger. Some Republican analysts believe candidates taking "hard-line" approaches to big-ticket issues like abortion are going to struggle when it comes time for the general elections in November.
“A position on abortion that is well outside the mainstream of most voters’ thinking is going to be a liability in a general election campaign," said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, according to the Hill.
The poll, which was conducted from Sept. 15-19, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points and sampled 600 people.