THE CONTEST looks as close as usual, but, also as usual, Gov. William G. Milliken (R), 56, is expected to pull through. His opponent is state Sen. William B. Fitzgerald Jr. (D), 36. Milliken has been on the defensive over the state's alleged mishandling of the contamination of cattle feed by a chemical called PBB. But he has exceptional support for a Republican in Detroit's black community and a tacit alliance with Detroit Mayor Coleman Young (D). Today's Detroit News poll gives Milliken a shaky 47-to-44 percent lead.
Sen. Robert P. Griffin (R), 55, on the other hand, is still fighting an uphill battle to avoid being defeated by Carl Levin (D), 44, former Detroit city council president. Griffin announced retirement plans in 1977 and missed 216 votes that year, then changed his mind and decided to run for a third term. Griffin trailed by 6 points in today's Detroit News poll and his comeback efforts is expected to fall a bit short in the face of Levin's Detroit strength.
In addition to the possible Senate pickup, Democrats have hopes of winning the rematch between Rep. Garry Brown (R) and former state Rep. Howard Wolpe (D), who finished only 3,970 votes apart in 1976. Republican chances of holding the seat of retiring Rep. Philip E. Ruppe (R) have improved, but the race is still close.