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From the horse races: Schauer atop latest poll

by: Eric B.

Thu Aug 28, 2014 at 12:00:00 PM EDT

Hate race coverage based on polls, but it has to be acknowledged because it's so ubiquitous.

Democratic challenger Mark Schauer has edged ahead of Gov. Rick Snyder by 2 percentage points, according to a new poll of likely voters in the Nov. 4 election.

The results from EPIC-MRA of Lansing come just before Labor Day, which is seen as the kickoff of the main campaign season and were released exclusively to the Detroit Free Press, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) and statewide media partners. A 2-point lead is within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, meaning the race remains a statistical dead heat.

It's important to remember that pretty late in the race that Amway Guy was atop Jennifer Granholm and that all changed by the weekend before the election, but it's likewise important to remember that Amway Guy was up for a very long time and Granholm didn't start campaigning until late in the cycle, and then she beat the holy living shit out of him.

At any rate, this could be a fun autumn for stuff. ALL THE STUFF.

Eric B. :: From the horse races: Schauer atop latest poll
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Also noted
It should also be noted that the comparison to 2006 further breaks down realizing that Jennifer Granholm was an incumbent in a (light) blue state, and thus had far more undecided voters to work with.  

The fundamental problem with Snyder's re-election is that he won't have that advantage; his margin of error is much, much smaller.  He's a Republican governor with a very conservative one-term record running in a (light) blue state who has been unable in over a year's worth of polling to seperate himself from the threat of Mark Schauer.

On top of all this, EPIC-MRA consistently find samples with higher numbers of Republicans as part of the electorate than what exit polls have consistently shown in Michigan gubernatorial elections.  It's why I'm so bullish on this race.  Most pollsters who poll Michigan for whatever reason tend to have samples with notably high percentages of Republicans.  

The idea has always been that Schauer's not doing as well as he should, but digging into the numbers, the numbers have always given me the narrative that unless something changes, it's Snyder who is going to run out of voters.  Schauer has been kind of brilliantly toiling and griding away and it's showing results.  It's not flashy or sexy, and I had my doubts for quite a few months, but Schauer simply has to keep doing what he's doing and he wins.  

Snyder has a very narrow path to victory with a very low ceiling.  The only way he wins here on out is to absolutely bury Schauer in negative advertising.  And, with his and his friend's money, this is a completely possible scenario.  But, it's still a very confined path to victory.  In contrast, Schauer could win very narrowly, or he could win fairly decisively, and has quite a few more paths to either of those victories than Snyder.

I'm feeling really good about this particular race, and particularly if Peters is ever able to really start to building up a double-digit lead on Terri Lynn Land.  If that happens, maybe I won't call it a wave, but it could be high-tide for Dems in some major races, this cycle, the kind of high-tide that could wash in folks like Mark Totten
(who is polling unusually well against Schuette despite being virtually unknown) and maybe even less known Dillard Godfrey simple because then we're talking about a generic ballot Democratic advantage.

I'm convinced
Schauer will pull this one out, and combined with a 10+point win for Peters, will pull Totten and Godfrey across the line to force Schuette and Johnson into retirement.

It's interesting (not surprising given the big tax increases on retirees, but interesting) that Schauer leads among seniors, meaning that the high propensity to vote among us old folks works in the Dems' favor in our fair state.

[ Parent ]
Local Detroit media was reporting on other numbers from the EPIC-MRA poll, including the AG and SoS races.

Bill Schuette: 40%
Mark Totten: 34%

Ruth Johnson: 39%
Godfrey Dillard: 31%

At first blush, the numbers are a bit disappointing considering the top of the ticket.  But, digging deeper into the poll you find that 90%+ of those polled didn't even recognize Totten or Dillard's names.  So, those single-digit deficits are impressive for no-names, particularly for Dillard who just entered the race a few weeks ago.  Schuette is in particularly bad shape, too, with his job approval way underwater (37% negative rating vs. 28% positive rating)

I'm a bit less confident than you that even big wins at the top of the ticket could pull both of these candidates across the finish line, however.  I think it's possible we could get a narrow win for Totten all things staying the same between now and election day if there are big margins at the top, but I'd still like to see Dems or third-parties expend a few resources for this race.  Schuette is sitting on a mountain of cash, and Totten is about as underfunded a major candidate as you'll find, which is really a disgrace seeing how much of a potential star he is.  

Johnson will be a bit more difficult to dislodge since Dillard has entered the race so late, and since Johnson's job approvals actually weren't all that bad in this poll (26% negative vs. 30% positive).  She's been far less controversial than Schuette and far less visible, so the political target on her back is a bit smaller.  And, forgive me, but Dillard just isn't that impressive a candidate to me.  It's a shame Jocelyn Benson chose to sit this one out.  Even this far out, I feel she'd at least be tied with Johnson in the polls.

Anyway, momentum is definitely on our side.  The unknown in this election at the state-wide level is just how hard and desperate Snyder & Co. will go against their opponents now that they've been backed into a political corner.  They definitely have the money to release all kinds of hell on us from here until election day.  It'll be interesting to see how well our candidates hold up as they switch from offense to defense.

[ Parent ]
The unreported story in this campaign...
Aside from a column by Tim Skubick, I've seen exactly zero coverage given to the new, buffed out GOTV campaign by the Democratic Party. I don't know if these poll numbers are being affected, but I do know that everything turns out the same unless something is changed and that something this cycle has changed, which means predicting the final outcome is a far dicier affair. But, no one in the media has taken note of it.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
Democratic GOTV campaigns
are a far less compelling topic to most reporters than polling results. The former is hard to report without being accused of librul bias by the mouth breathers, while the latter involves mostly copying down some numbers and putting words in between them.

[ Parent ]
I think
I think that criticism is actually a bit unfair.  There are good polls and bad polls, but polls are largely scientific snap-shots of candidate support.

Reporting on GOTV, however, can get a bit murkey and hackish if you're not careful because you have to rely on data that each party gives you, and those numebrs can be far more easily manipulated than even polling.

This is not at all to say that we don't need better coverage of these races.  It's just that unlike a lot of folks, I don't think the problem is that polls are reported on too much, but rather the rest of the campaign isn't reported on enough.  The only other problem with reporting of polls is that the media usually has absolutely no idea how to read them and don't know the backgrounds of the pollsters, and thus often report a obviously bad poll (i.e. one with funky partisan samples, for instance) with the same authority they report a good poll.

[ Parent ]
It would be simple to report on the coordinated campaign the MDP is running this year. It's new and different, which means it's newsworthy. Also, it wouldn't be partisan to point out that new leadership of the MDP means that the organization is doing different things that might affect the outcome of various races this year.

I tell people, like all the time, that the reason why Diane Hathaway beat Cliff Taylor wasn't that sleeping judge ad, but because OFA was doing for her what the Dems are trying to do this year. I mean, she won Isabella County.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]

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