In an initial matchup, Dillon leads the Democratic candidates with 22 percent of the vote, followed by Bernero with 15 percent, and State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith at 11 percent. Forty-two percent are undecided. Once survey respondents were read a brief bio of each candidate, Bernero increased significantly to 29 percent, Dillon only picked up slightly to 24 percent, and Wheeler Smith improved to 20 percent. The more voters learned about the candidates, the more support Bernero received from union members and those who view him as the outsider to current Lansing leadership.
Define "learned". If that brief description constitutes knowledge... well, we get what we deserve, I guess. Time will make that better as these guys will eventually have to speak to the issues and the media gives them more attention.
For the Tea Party...
On the Republican side, a sample of 400 GOP primary voters had Holland, Michigan Congressman Hoekstra leading with 27 percent, followed Attorney General Mike Cox with at 21 percent, and Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder coming in third with 15 percent, followed by Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard and Kalamazoo Senator Tom George. Once survey responders are read the candidate bios, there is very little change for Hoekstra and Cox but Snyder picked up 6 points to tie Cox at 21 percent. However, that is still 1 point below where Snyder polled in February which may indicate his TV ads are improving his recognition but not his position in the primary race.
How soon until they come out swinging at each other? Peter Luke pointed out last Sunday how they are all pandering to the crazy base, but eventually they will have to decide who is the craziest of them all. Could get interesting. A recent Rasmussen poll shows about the same results - Hoekstra leading for the Pubs, but with Cox and Snyder flip-flopped for second. Ras has a very significant number of Dems undecided.
When it comes to favorable/unfavorable numbers in the new EPIC poll, no one is exactly burning up the charts here. President Obama and Governor Granholm have slipped a few points since the last poll, and as far as the rest go, very few know enough to have an opinion either way. Cox, Hoekstra and Bouchard are in the 30's, showing they have an edge on name recognition, but that hasn't translated into any sort of widespread popularity. The issues numbers haven't changed that much - but education funding has jumped back into view as a concern, switching places with "affordable health care" for second.
I am going to read a list of the top state problems or issues people say they are concerned about the most. After I read the whole list, please tell me which one problem or issue you are personally concerned about the most?
53% Improving Michigan’s economy and providing jobs
14% Improving education funding
8% Addressing the state budget crisis
5% Controlling state taxes
5% Making quality health care affordable and accessible
4% Controlling crime and drugs
4% Promoting morality and family values
2% Improving state and local roads and bridges
2% Protecting our air and water
1% More than one
And the health care bill itself shows the glaring partisan divide - 81% of Democrats support it, 85% of Republicans oppose it. Overall, it's still about 50-50.
As you may know, last week Congress passed a bill that restructures the nation’s healthcare system. Overall, do you think it is a good thing or a bad thing that this bill was enacted into law?
That number should improve as time goes on and people learn of the benefits - right now the focus for Democrats has been to knock down the right wing rumors and lies about the legislation. Mark Schauer is dealing with that at his town halls...
Schauer said he is still combating myths and half-truths that people come to the meetings with. At a session in Hillsdale earlier in the day, Schauer said he was asked about the government installing microchips in people. Another constituent told him afterward that an e-mail is going around saying the bill allows the government to go into people's bank accounts and take their money.
"It's ridiculous. … I have an obligation to my constituents to present the facts," Schauer said.
People will see the world didn't end, there are no microchips or "death panels" or takeovers of bank accounts - and the Republicans will lose credibility if they keep up with the nonsense. Of course, that thought hasn't stopped them yet...
Join us next month for the latest EPIC numbers, same time, same station.