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Sobering analysis about this year's gubernatorial race

by: Eric B.

Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 13:06:44 PM EDT

I'm not a big fan of polling races, especially right now, and think that our remaining political media should get out of the business of covering campaigns as horse races and instead tell us something about the candidates, and if they won't talk, about what their policies would mean. So, I don't feel particularly feel all bandwagon-y whenever some new poll comes out that has Mark Schauer close or ahead of our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan. There is this to consider.

Michigan State University economist Charles Ballard said Snyder might take some inspiration from his predecessor, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who trounced Republican businessman Dick DeVos in her 2006 re-election.

Granholm had similar approval ratings to Snyder’s during her re-election bid. Plus, Michigan experienced a net loss of jobs during her first term.

Right about this time eight years ago, Michigan Dems were ripping their hair out of their heads about the governor's poll numbers. They did that right through July and into August, where Daily Kos declared Granholm one of the most endangered Democratic incumbents in the country.

Then, she jackstopped Amway Guy in the last couple of months, and what was supposed to be a terrible year for Michigan Democrats wound up being a mini wave.

Eric B. :: Sobering analysis about this year's gubernatorial race
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A similar analysis from Ballard was posted a couple weeks ago. As I noted, there are big differences between 2006 and 2014:

1. Granholm had an outstanding team. Not sure about Snyder's team.
2. She also had a lousy opponent. Snyder faces someone who knows how to win.
3. More voters were of Granholm's party than her opponent's party.
4. 2006 was not a good year for the challenger's party. 2014 is shaping up to better for Democrats than was 2006 for Republicans.

Just because an incumbent is up for re-election, doesn't mean this election will be anything like the last time an incumbent was running.

A big pile of cash is about the only thing Snyder has going for him that Granholm didn't - and as 2006 and 2012 should've taught us, that can't always save a lousy campaign.

The reality is, this governor is in deep trouble - especially if Democrats turn out.

And I intend to make that happen.

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

As I said on that same thread, Granholm had the advantage of running in a state with more self-identified Democrats than Republicans.  In other words, regardless of the close polls, she had a much higher ceiling than Snyder has; she had much more of the electorate to work with.  She could pretty much rely that at the end that a lot of the "undecideds" were Democratic leaning.

This is entirely the wrong analysis of this race.  As a Republican with a very conservative record to defend in this kind of state, the polling shows Snyder in serious trouble, not Mark.  Mark's trouble thus far is name recognition, poll after poll show only a third of the electorate has an opinion of him.  The good and reputable polls of this race show them in about a statistical dead-heat, though, I'd tilt it toward the incumbent.  Mark's not going to get less support the more he's known.

This comparison is not a good one.  Granholm had many more structural advantages a Republican governor in Michigan in this kind of climate will never have.  Unless Snyder can crush Mark early, Snyder is in serious trouble.  That's why Snyder is and his friends are out so early on-air.  I believe Granholm didn't even go up on air until August of 2006.

[ Parent ]
Speaking of recent polling, a new poll released, today from the Liberty Foundation - a blatantly conservative group, no less - corroborates other reputable pollsters have found, recently, showing Snyder with a lead within the margin of error:

Snyder: 45%
Schauer: 42%

And Peters starting to pull forward outside the margin of error:

Peters: 46%
Land: 41%

The sample is even very realistic.  Maybe a point or two lower on Democrats than is usual, but very close.  If you look at the totality of polling, it's been remarkably consistent.  This is particularly worrisome for Snyder and his outside groups having spent millions of dollars in commercials against Schauer and yet showing no seperation.  

There have been about 20 polls of this race (the gubernatorial race) since December 2012...in exactly one of them has Snyder hit 50%.  If Snyder hasn't pulled ahead after all of this against a still relative unknown, when will he pull forward?  This man is in serious trouble.  I find the Senate race even more surprising.  After AFP has been up on air for months trying to make the ACA a losing issue for Peters, he's actually pulling ahead.  On the polls that have done generic ballots, Democrats have been ahead in every one.

I know I'll be accused of being overly bullish and partisan, but I've been following the polling, most of which has been pretty bad, but a few who have polled consistently and have gotten the samples about right.  It shocks me people think that this is still going to be a Republican year.  I'm not worried about turnout; the only thing I'm worried about is how well the gerrymanders will hold.

You know who is in need of a sober analysis?  The MIGOP.  What they've been doing in the past few months isn't working.  We probably won't be seeing any wave from either side, but I think it's fairly undeniable that there is a Democratic tide building.

[ Parent ]
Napoleon said when your opponent is making a mistake don't interrupt him.  

[ Parent ]
I read recently that in most races Obamacare will actually be a positive for democrats, and that more people actually disapprove by all the repeal efforts than they do of Obamacare.

As time goes on and Obamacare becomes more familiar and has fewer news stories of problems, it will become a harder issue to win on.

I'm more surprised with the Snyder-Schauer poll. While Schauer's name recognition was definitely not high going into the election, I think it's actually beneficial to the point that Snyder can't run many attacks on him. A tax on nursing home beds? That is the best you can do?  While Schauer's ads have been mostly getting his face out there and has yet to attack Snyder's record yet. When that starts, I think it will really hurt Snyder.

[ Parent ]
DeVos lost
in part because he's Dick DeVos, a neophyte perceived by many as just another rich guy trying to buy a political position. Schauer, OTOH, is polling very well for a guy who much of the electorate has never heard of.

Dems need to link Snyder to DeVos
They should run ads about how they're the same person.  Snyder needs to be linked to DeVos over and over.

[ Parent ]
DeVos lost
in part because he's Dick DeVos, a neophyte perceived by many as just another rich guy trying to buy a political position. Schauer, OTOH, is polling very well for a guy who much of the electorate has never heard of.

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