EXCLUSIVE POLL: Detroit Mayoral Race is a toss-up between Napoleon and Duggan

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Remember the exciting mayoral contest between Dennis Archer and Sharon McPhail? 

Remember the political slugfest between Kwame Kilpatrick and Freman Hendrix? 

Well, get ready for another nose-to-nose candidate horse race between Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan. Several other candidates are in the political contest but you wouldn't know it looking at the numbers. 

"It's a two person race," says Bernie Porn, President of Lansing-based polling firm Epic MRA.  And he adds, "It's unlikely the other candidates can raise enough money to seriously challenge the frontrunners."

According to an exclusive poll commissioned by WXYZ/Channel 7 and the Detroit Free Press, if the Mayoral Primary were held today, Napoleon would beat Duggan by four points, 30 percent to 26 percent, respectively.  Former Detroit Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon and certified public accountant Tom Barrow would come in a distant third with only 3 percent each. Thirty percent aren't sure who they would select as the next mayor. 

If Benny Napoleon and Mike Duggan survive the crowded August 2 primary as the top two candidates, their General Election match-up would be a photo finish.

If the survey of 400 likely Detroit voters had to cast their ballots today, Napoleon and Duggan would tie with 40 percent each. Twenty percent would be undecided. As always, there will be a battle for voters who vote early. More than one third of Detroit residents fill out absentee ballots.

Race may also be a determining factor of which candidate eventually comes out on top. Duggan has a 41 point lead among whites while Napoleon has only a 9 percent lead among African Americans.

And, if you think the appointment of a powerful emergency manager will discourage people from going to the polls to pick an elected official, think again. Eighty-one percent of the respondents we talked to claim they vote "all the time" in Detroit mayoral election years. Eighty-six percent say they are certain to vote in the Tuesday, August 6, Detroit Primary. 

Our exclusive survey was conducted by Epic MRA from May 18 – 20. Twenty percent answered questions on their cell phones. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.


The mayor of Detroit and city council members are elected in off-year elections. The last election for Mayor in Detroit was 2009. Voter turnout in city elections is always much lower than turnout in more visible elections like President or Governor. How often do you vote in elections for Mayor of Detroit and city council – all of the time, most of the time, about half the time, seldom, or never? 

All of the times – 81%
Most of the time – 13%
About half the time – 5%
Too young to vote n either – 1%

Thinking about the upcoming primary election for Mayor and City Council that will be held in August to nominate candidates for the November general election -- what are the chances you will vote in the Tuesday, August 6th primary?

Very certain to vote – 86%
Somewhat certain – 7%
Will probably vote – 7%

When you vote in city elections, do you always vote by absentee ballot, mostly vote by absentee ballot, mostly vote by going to the polling place, or always vote by going to the polling place?

Vote Absentee – 35%
Vote at Poll – 62%

Well, if the election was held today and you had to decide right now, which candidate would you lean toward?

Benny Napoleon – 30%
Mike Duggan – 26%
Krystal Crittendon – 3%
Tom Barrow – 3%
D'Artagnan M. Collier – 1%
Delores Scott – 1%
Fred Durhal Jr. – 1%
John Tleford – 1%
Lisa Howze – 1%
Simunt Szczepkowski – 1%
Velina Patter Dockery – 1%
Willie Lipscomb – 1%
Undecided/Refused to Answer – 30%

Thinking about one possible matchup for Detroit Mayor in this year's November general election, if the election were held today and the candidates were Mike Duggan and Benny Napoleon, which candidate would you vote for, Duggan or Napoleon?

Duggan – 40%
Napoleon – 40%
Undecided/Refused to Answer – 20%

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