(WXYZ) - If the Detroit mayoral election were held today, businessman Mike Duggan would beat Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon by a landslide, according to a new and exclusive WXYZ-TV/Detroit Free Press poll.
Nearly half, 49 percent to be exact, of the 400 eligible Detroit voters surveyed, say they would cast their ballot for Duggan, the former CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. Twenty-five percent would vote for Napoleon, who once served as Chief of Police for Detroit.
“If things end up as it appears now, this will be a very historic election driven by frustration and government not responding to the needs of city residents,” says EPIC MRA pollster Bernie Porn. “They like and trust Duggan better.”
When respondents were asked exactly why they favor Duggan more, 18 percent said they were impressed with his “plan for Detroit.” Sixteen percent cited the “need for change” and Duggan’s “business experience” in the public and private sectors.
Napoleon’s strongest support, 20 percent, came from voters who listed his longtime “Detroit residency” as their most important reason for backing his candidacy. Thirteen percent were impressed with Napoleon’s “plan for Detroit” and 9 percent said a major factor was his “concern for Detroiters.”
But Napoleon’s favorability rating has dropped significantly since the last WXYZ/Detroit Free Press poll in May.
“At that time, 63 percent liked Napoleon, today it’s only 43 percent,” said Porn. “I think that slip is due in part to Napoleon surrounding his campaign with so many of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s staffers, and Tom Barrow and Robert Davis trying to keep Duggan off the Primary Election ballot.”
Making the race a lot closer before voters head to the polls on November 5 will be an uphill challenge for Napoleon. Detroit is more than 80 percent African American. Seventy-seven percent of the undecided voters are African American.
“Napoleon would have to get all of the undecided African American vote to win,” says Porn. Comparatively, only 23 percent of white voters are undecided.
Napoleon is African American and Duggan is white but supporters of both candidates – 78 percent and 80 percent - overwhelming say race will not be an important factor in their decision of who to vote for.
The last white mayor of Detroit was Roman Gribbs. He served in that capacity from 1970 – 1974 when Detroit had more than 1.5 million residents and the population was almost evenly split between blacks and whites.
The survey was conducted September 17 – 19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent. Twenty percent who answered the polling questions did so on their cell phones.
READ THE COMPLETE POLL RESULTS BELOW
Now I would like to read a list of political figures. For each name I read, please tell me if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of that person.
Favorable – 56%
Undecided – 24%
Favorable – 43%
Unfavorable – 35%
Undecided – 21%
Thinking about the November 5th general election for Mayor of Detroit, if the election for Mayor were held today, would you vote for Mike Duggan or Benny Napoleon?
Duggan – 49%
Napoleon – 25%
Undecided – 26%
What stands out for you as the main reason why you are voting for Mike Duggan for Mayor?
His plan for Detroit – 18%
A needed change – 16%
Biz experience – 16%
DMC experience – 14%
Dislike Napoleon – 7%
Most qualified/Best choice – 7%
Honest/Trustworthy – 3%
Cared about residents – 2%
Connected to the city – 2%
He is white – 2%
Not a career politician – 2%
Better PR/No negatives – 1%
Economy/Jobs – 1%
Help Housing – 1%
Improve city services – 1%
Pro middle class – 1%
Reform city government – 1%
Strong leader – 1%
Undecided/Refused to answer – 3%
Have you ruled out voting for Benny Napoleon and decided that you will definitely vote for Mike Duggan, or, do you think you could still change your mind and vote for Benny Napoleon?
Ruled out voting for Napoleon and decided to vote for Duggan – 75%
Might change mind and vote for Napoleon – 21%
Unsure – 4%
What stands out for you as the main reason why you are voting for Benny Napoleon for Mayor?
Detroit resident/Familiar with the city – 20%
His plan for Detroit -13%
Cares about residents – 9%
Most qualified/best choice – 8%
Will address crime – 8%
Law enforcement experience – 6%
Known personally – 5%
Past experience – 5%
Dislike Duggan – 3%
Strong leader – 3%
Focus on neighborhoods – 2%
Heard good things – 2%
Honest/Trustworthy – 2%
Most familiar with him – 2%
Duggan is in bed with Gov. Snyder – 1%
Duggan was on the ballot illegally – 1%
Economy/Jobs – 1%
He is black – 1%
None/No reason given – 1%
Views on Detroit Pensions – 1%
Undecided/Refused to answer – 6%
Have you ruled out voting for Mike Duggan and decided that you will definitely vote for Benny Napoleon, or, do you think you could still change your mind and vote for Mike Duggan?
Ruled out voting for Duggan and decided to vote for Napoleon – 66%
Might change mind and vote for Duggan – 31%