Poll Shows Kid Rock as Republican Front-Runner, 8 Points Behind Stabenow

Name recognition pushes Robert Ritchie to top of GOP field in Michigan

Kid Rock, or Robert Ritchie, supported Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

Kid Rock, the rap rock musician and outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump, tops the field Republican Senate field in Michigan, according to a new poll, but he trails Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow.

Considering Rock, or Robert Ritchie as he was born, hasn’t yet declared his candidacy in the race, Stabenow’s 8-point lead in a hypothetical matchup will likely add fuel to his possible candidacy. Ritchie took 33 percent in the Target-Insyght poll, compared to his closest rival, businessman and veteran John James, who had 16 percent. (James filed to run last month.)

The poll showed 49 percent of likely Michigan voters think Trump is doing an “excellent” or “pretty good” job as president, a much more positive assessment than his national approval ratings, currently just under 40 percent.

Ritchie has been an ardent Trump supporter since he switched support from Ben Carson when Trump won the Republican presidential nomination. Since then, he began selling pro-Trump merchandise through his online store, including T-shirts with the phrase “God, Guns & Trump.” He has been a longtime supporter of Republican candidates.

Despite not having officially announced his run, Ritchie is also selling “Kid Rock for Senate 2018” shirts, hats, bumper stickers and yard signs, alongside the Trump items and a Trump-styled “Make America Badass Again” hat. He also announced plans last week to create a nonprofit organization supporting voter registration.

Republican consultant John Truscott told The Detroit News that at this point, Ritchie’s numbers were “almost purely name ID. … He’s quite a personality, and when your vote isn’t counting for anything this far out, it’s really easy to support something that’s a little out of the ordinary.”

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Democratic, but Trump’s win in the state last fall and his sustained popularity has Republicans feeling more confident.

The Target-Insyght poll surveyed 822 likely Michigan voters on Tuesday and Thursday of last week and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. 

For the smaller Republican sample, the poll interviewed 344 Republicans and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.35 points.

The poll used Ritchie’s stage name, though the newspaper pointed out, if he did run, it would be his nonprofessional name that would appear on the ballot. 

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