Michigan's race for governor may be headed for a photo finish worthy of the Kentucky Derby.
A new Local 4 poll of Michigan voters shows incumbent Governor Rick Snyder (R) leading his opponent, former Rep. Mark Schauer (D), 43.6%-41.8%. The 1.8% difference between the candidates is within the poll's 4% margin of error.
Since our last poll, conducted in May, Schauer has picked up nearly seven points. Snyder's percentage of support remained statistically unchanged.
When asked about which candidate would do a better job handling specific issues, voters favored Snyder when it came to "creating jobs and making Michigan competitive" (48.3%-32.8%) and "balancing Michigan's budget" (52.2%-29.8%). However, Schauer was rated better at "improving Michigan's schools and education system" (46.5%-34.5%) and "fixing Michigan's roads" (38.2%-29.8%).
Voters were asked if passage of Michigan's Right to Work Law, which Snyder signed in 2012, would influence their vote this November. Among respondents from non-union households, 46.2% said Right to Work would have no effect on who they support, with 25.8% saying it made them more likely to support Schauer and 27.8% saying it made the more likely to support Snyder.
However, among respondents from union households, 56.1% said it would make them more likely to vote for Schauer while 12.1% said it would make them more likely to support Snyder; 31.8% of union households said it would have no effect on their vote for governor.
Peters increases lead over Land
While the gubernatorial race has tightened, Rep. Gary Peters (D) has widened his lead over former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) in the race to succeed a retiring Carl Levin (D) in the U.S. Senate. Peters leads Land 47.0%-36.5%.
While Land's numbers are consistent with our May poll, Peters has increased his support by 7.4%.
Attorney General and Secretary of State races lean Republican
There is better news for Republicans down the ticket. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson (R) a holds comfortable lead over her opponent. Johnson leads Democratic challenger Godfrey Dillard 39.9%-33.5% in the Secretary of State race. The 6.4% margin is outside the poll's margin of error.
Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) is leading Democratic challenger Mark Totten 39.7%-37.7%, a two-point difference within the poll's margin of error.
Support overwhelming for LGBT rights
Voters also said they support, by a 74.1%-17.6% margin, extending the state's Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act to make it illegal to fire or deny housing to a person because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
Support for expanding Elliot Larsen crossed party lines, with 57.5% of respondents who identified themselves as "strong Republican" voters saying the civil rights measure should provide projections to LGBT Michiganders, with only 30.7% of strong Republicans opposing the idea. Voters who lean Republican favored expansion by a 62.0%-26.0% margin, those who lean Democratic were in support by a 87.9%-8.6% margin, and strong Democrats approved civil rights expansion 88.1%-8.2%. Independents were in favor of Elliot Larsen protections for LGBT citizens 76.7%-13.3%.
The poll, conducted by the Glengariff Group, surveyed 600 likely General Election voters between Sept. 3 and 5, 2014. It was a live-operator telephone survey with a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.
Gov. Rick Snyder response:
"After an August blitz of negative advertising, Gov. Snyder is starting to tell his positive story and we feel our record and optimistic message of nearly 300,000 new private-sector jobs, the lowest unemployment rate in six years, four balanced, on-time budgets in four years, and an increased investment in education will resonate with Michiganders."
- Emily Benavides, Communications Director, Rick for Michigan
Gary Peters response:
"Terri Lynn Land and her special interest allies like the Koch Brothers have spent $12 million on false, negative attacks, but Michiganders don't trust the Koch-Land agenda that would end the Medicare guarantee just to give new tax breaks to multimillionaires like themselves. These polls show that despite being outspent 2:1 by Land and the Koch Brothers, Gary's grassroots campaign to fight for Michigan's middle class families continues to gain momentum. Michigan voters should expect, with Land trailing in 20 recent polls, that these same allies will pour millions in Michigan trying to buy this election for her and for them. But come November, voters will reject the Koch Brothers' candidate because Gary is the only candidate they can count on to stand up for Michigan."
-Peters for Michigan Communications Director Haley Morris
Terry Lynn Land response:
"Our numbers are more in line with the CBS News and The New York Times recent poll showing Terri leading by a point. Congressman Peters' allies like the radical billionaire Tom Steyer are spending millions in false ads attacking Terri Lynn Land because they support Peters' job-killing policies like cap-and-trade, which could kill more than 100,000 Michigan jobs, and oppose the Keystone Pipeline, which will create jobs in Michigan. Gary Peters has sold out Michigan workers for campaign cash."
-Heather Swift, Land campaign spokeswoman
Mark Schauer response:
"These latest numbers show two things: Republican Rick Snyder is in big trouble and Mark Schauer has all the momentum in this race. More than half of Michigan voters think Snyder is doing a bad job because of his $1 billion cuts to education and the fact that he raised taxes on Michigan seniors. People want a governor who will build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, and that's exactly what Mark Schauer will do."
-Cathy Bacile Cunningham, press secretary for Schauer's campaign