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Incumbent Leads in Mich. Gov. Poll

August 8, 1998

LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ Just days after winning the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Geoffrey Fieger trails incumbent Republican John Engler by 20 percentage points in a Detroit Free Press poll.

Engler was favored by 53 percent of the 600 likely voters polled Thursday by EPIC-MRA of Lansing, the newspaper reported Saturday.

Fieger, best known as the combative lawyer for suicide doctor Jack Kevorkian, drew 33 percent in the telephone poll, which had a margin of error of 4 percentage points. Fourteen percent were undecided.

Overall, only 9 percent of those polled rated Fieger a likely bet to deny Engler a third term in the Nov. 3 general election. About half of those surveyed said that even though Fieger won last week’s Democratic primary, he is a long shot or has no chance of defeating Engler.

Fieger believes otherwise.

``It doesn’t mean a thing,″ Fieger said of the poll. ``We just ended the primary. Twenty points, it means he’s (Engler) going to lose.″

But to Maureen McNulty, Engler’s campaign spokeswoman, the poll demonstrates that Fieger barely is holding his Democratic base.

Engler enjoys more support from his own party, at 90 percent, than Fieger does from Democrats, at 58 percent.

According to the poll, only about a third of those who voted for Doug Ross in last week’s Democratic primary said they would vote for Fieger in November, while about two-thirds said they’d vote for Engler. Slightly more than half of those who voted for Larry Owen in the primary said they would vote for Fieger in November.

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