LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — In the upcoming primary to fill Debbie Stabenow’s seat in the United States Senate, new polling shows the leading candidates from each party face an uphill climb to secure the nomination.

Democrat Debbie Stabenow decided to retire from the Senate at the end of her term in 2024 and Democrat Gary Peters is not up for re-election until 2026.

The new poll was conducted by Emerson College and the results have an approximate margin of error of 4%.


The Democrat’s favorite candidate, according to the poll of more than 1,000 people, is Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI 7th Dist.) with 34% of the vote. The next named Democratic candidate is Hill Harper with 8%. Harper is best known as a television actor for his roles on “CSI: NY” and “The Good Doctor.”

But leading both of the top named candidates is two categories of “undecided” and “someone else” with a combined 47% of the vote.

(Emerson College Poll)


In the Republican Senate primary, the results are similar to the Democrats with 68% of polled voters “undecided” (29%) or wanting to vote for “someone else” (39%).

Former Representative Mike Rogers leads the named Republican candidates with 12% followed by Former Representative Peter Meijer with 9%.

(Emerson College Poll)

“There is room for change in both the Democratic and Republican Senate primaries. While Slotkin is in the most favorable position among Democrats, she still does not hold a majority,” Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said. “The 47% of voters who are undecided or say they will vote for someone else reflects room for this race to change. The Republican Primary appears wide open, with no clear leader and 68% of voters choosing someone else/undecided.”

Primary date

Another question put to voters in this poll was about what date is preferred for the Michigan primary. The results show 25% prefer March 12, 2024, while 21% prefer February 27, 2024. A majority, 54%, are unsure or have no opinion.


“The Emerson College Polling Michigan survey was conducted August 1-2, 2023. The sample of registered voters, n=1,121, has a credibility interval, similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE), of +/- 2.9 percentage points.  The data sets were weighted by gender, education, race, age, party affiliation, and region based on 2024 registration modeling. Modeling is based on US Census parameters and Michigan voter registration and election data. 

“It is important to remember that subsets based on demographics, such as gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity, carry with them higher credibility intervals, as the sample size is reduced. Survey results should be understood within the poll’s range of scores, and understand with a confidence interval of 95% a poll will fall outside the range of scores 1 in 20 times.

“Data was collected by contacting an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines, an online panel of voters, and cellphones via SMS-to-web, and a consumer list of emails.”