Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Michigan Gov. Snyder Looks Vulnerable Early

In Governor, Polling on March 7, 2013 at 11:07 am

Public Policy Polling just released its new survey of the Michigan electorate (March 2-4; 702 registered Michigan voters) and, after showing Gov. Rick Snyder (R) with poor job approval ratings (a 37:54 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio), the survey shows Detroit Congressman Gary Peters (D-MI-14) to be the Democrat with the best potential to unseat the one-term incumbent. According to their data, Peters would lead Snyder 44-37 percent in a hypothetical ballot test question. At the current time, no challenger from either party has announced an official campaign for governor.

When paired with the man he beat 58-40 percent in 2010, Gov. Snyder trails Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero 38-43 percent. Finally, against former Rep. Mark Schauer (D-MI-7), who was defeated in 2010 after serving one term in office, the potential challenger leads this ballot test, too, but by a smaller 40-36 percent.

Though these numbers clearly show that Snyder has political weakness, he is far from moribund status for next year’s re-election contest. Single-digit leads change frequently, and polling more than 19 months from the election doesn’t mean a great deal. Still — and even more so when considering Michigan’s voting history — the numbers do yield trends and they reasonably tell us to expect a competitive statewide campaign in 2014.

Though Snyder’s job approval is poor, such a conclusion must also be qualified. PPP tends to poll this question in a way that typically registers negative job approval responses for almost every public official. Even here, the very Democratic potential candidates who lead Snyder in their latest poll, also produce upside down favorability ratings about themselves.

Bernero scores a 20:26 percent ratio when asked if the respondents have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him. This result is actually a bit worse than the spread indicates because personal favorability responses are almost always higher than job approval ratings. Peters scores 17:18 percent; ex-Rep. Schauer 11:19 percent. So, basically this particular group of respondents really doesn’t like anybody particularly well.

Expect Michigan to be one of the point states of the mid-term 2014 elections as a great deal of political action is expected to emanate from the Wolverine State.

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