"Bill Schuette is pulling away from Brian Calley," said Steve MITCHELL, president of Mitchell Research & Communications, which conducted the live call survey of 400 likely GOP voters aimed at measuring the strength of the two strongest likely candidates.
Mitchell said he didn't poll the other two Republicans in the field -- Sen. Patrick COLBECK (R-Canton) or Dr. Jim HINES -- because neither has the statewide name ID at this point to be much of a factor in the race. The pollster said he wanted an idea of how the two matched up against each other.
The last time Mitchell checked the field, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice MILLER was at 21 percent, Schuette 18 percent and Calley at 14 percent. That was last May.
A lot has happened since that poll. Miller has endorsed Schuette, who officially announced his interest three weeks ago. Calley's part-time legislature proposal seems to be operating in the shadows as he takes part in a series of town halls.
"Schuette (84 percent) now has much higher name identification than Calley (45 percent) and a much higher percentage of voters say they have a favorable impression of Schuette (65 percent) than have a favorable impression of Calley (26 percent). This huge lead in name ID translates directly to Schuette's lead," said Mitchell.
The new survey mirrors results of the MIRS/Crain's Detroit Business GOP Mackinac Leadership Conference Straw Poll that was conducted in September. Out of nearly 700 activists, 56 percent were supporting Schuette with 23 percent supporting Calley.
The survey also found Calley vulnerable on his handling of his "un-endorsement" of President Donald TRUMP.
Schuette's lead widens when poll participants are read: "In 2016, Bill Schuette endorsed Donald Trump for President. Brian Calley also endorsed Trump, but he took away his endorsement in October when comments Trump made about groping women became public. Calley never endorsed after that. Now, President Trump has endorsed Bill Schuette for Governor of Michigan."
After hearing that information, support for Schuette rises to 68 percent and the percent of undecided voters drops from 36 percent to 19 percent.
According to Mitchell, "It is very difficult to see a path to victory for Calley. He is in deep trouble, and that trouble is increased dramatically by Trump's endorsement of Schuette and Calley's withdrawal of his endorsement of Trump in October 2016."
He noted that among GOP voters, 84 percent approve of the job Trump is doing with 61 percent strongly approving. Only 13 percent disapprove while 3 percent are unsure.
"The President remains very popular with his base and that high job approval gives Schuette a huge lead," Mitchell added.
The survey found strong support for the job being done by Gov. Rick SNYDER among Republicans. A total of 80 percent approve of the job he's doing with 35 percent "strongly approving." A total of 16 percent disapprove of Snyder's job while 5 percent were unsure.
The Sept. 21-24 survey by Mitchell Research & Communications was an operator-assisted survey with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.