Kathleen Gray/Detroit Free Press:
Even though a big majority of recently polled Michigan voters don’t know who Democrats Mark Schauer and Bart Stupak are, the two politicians are in a dead heat with Gov. Rick Snyder in head-to-head matchups for the 2014 gubernatorial election.
Schauer of Battle Creek and Stupak of Menominee are both former state lawmakers and congressmen, and have been mentioned as potential candidates for governor, although neither has made an official announcement about running.
The poll of 600 people done April 13-16 by EPIC/MRA of Lansing showed that 56% of the people surveyed didn’t know who Stupak was and 75% didn’t know who Schauer was. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
And yet, Schauer holds a slim 39-38% lead over Snyder, while Stupak is a point behind Snyder at 38-39%.
“If they’re running even with Snyder and no one knows who they are, that’s an indication that Snyder is losing support,” said Bernie Porn, EPIC/MRA’s pollster.
The governor’s favorable rating hit a high of 55% in early December. But that was before controversial right-to-work legislation was passed in the raucous final days of the legislative session. Since then, Snyder’s ratings have been slipping. In the April survey, 42% of the people had a favorable view of him, while 46% had an unfavorable view. His job rating was 38% positive to 58% negative.
The poll was taken after Snyder proposed higher driver registration fees and gas taxes — as well as being done right around tax filing time when many Michiganders found their state refunds much lower because of new state policy pushed by Snyder.
“Those are not going over very well,” Porn said. “And now, people are doing taxes and realizing ‘I’m paying higher taxes.’ ”
But a majority of the people surveyed — 56% — said they think the economy has already bottomed out and is getting better, while 23% said the economy isn’t getting any better, with 18% saying it’s still getting worse.
President Barack Obama’s favorability ratings in the April survey are 52% favorable to 44% unfavorable.