A poll showed support for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) fell amid her nursing home death scandal and an unwillingness to provide details about a secret deal with her former health director.
The survey, conducted by MRG March 15-18 among 610 likely voters with a +4 Democrat sample, found Whitmer’s approval rating declined to 53 percent, down from 58 percent last fall. Disapproval of Whitmer’s performance rose from 38 percent to 43 percent.
“The Governor received her highest job approvals from the City of Detroit, Balance of Wayne County, and Mid-Michigan,” MRG reported. “Her highest negative job approvals come from Northern Lower Michigan, Macomb, and the Upper Peninsula. ”
In terms of important issues, 40 percent of respondents said the coronavirus was what they were most worried about. The economy and jobs came in second at 21 percent.
The poll also asked likely voters about Whitmer’s two recent scandals, and respondents broke sharply against Whitmer and her actions.
One question related to former Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon, who abruptly resigned in January, said:
As you may know, Governor Whitmer paid her former health director one hundred and fifty-five thousand dollars in taxpayer money to leave his position and sign an agreement to never disclose details of his work regarding business shutdowns and nursing home policies, Do you support or oppose this agreement?
Seventy-two percent of respondents opposed that agreement, which Republicans have deemed “hush money.” Sixty percent of all respondents were “strongly opposed” to the arrangement. Just 11.6 percent supported Whitmer’s action.
Michiganders were also asked about Whitmer’s policy of placing coronavirus-infected patients in nursing homes to recuperate, a decision that led to over 5,600 virus-related deaths of elderly residents.
Sixty-three percent said they opposed “Whitmer’s handling of (coronavirus) in nursing homes.” More than half of all respondents said they “strongly opposed” Whitmer’s action. Nearly 23 percent said they supported the governor’s policy.
“Michiganders overwhelmingly oppose Gov. Whitmer’s taxpayer-funded hush money payment to the former health director as well as her handling of nursing homes where at least 5,500 seniors have died,” said Tori Sachs, executive director of Michigan Rising Action, the group that commissioned the poll.
“Whitmer should immediately disclose why this shady financial arrangement with the person who directed shutdowns and oversaw nursing home policies was made and what they are trying to cover-up,” Sachs said.
The poll found President Joe Biden has a 50 percent approval rating among Michigan residents. Fifty-two percent responded the country is on “the wrong track,” while 47 percent said the state is on “the wrong track.”