Political Insiders Expect Snyder to Run for Re-election; Few See Challenge from AG Schuette in 2014 Primary
The Dec.10-12 poll, conducted by Denno Research for LE&A, also shows that 70 percent think Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway may have to step down before her eight-year term ends. A civil complaint filed in federal court alleges that the justice and her husband, Michael Kingsley, committed bank fraud and money laundering by transferring a Florida home to Kingsley’s daughter so they could erase $600,000 in mortgage debt by seeking the short sale of a house in Michigan. Hathaway, a Democratic nominee elected in 2008, has denied any wrongdoing. She and her husband have asked for a jury trial.
The unscientific quarterly poll surveyed 130 Michigan political insiders, multi-client lobbyists and communications professionals in the state Capitol of Lansing and in Washington, D.C. Forty-one identified themselves as Democrats, while 39 said they were Republicans and 50 identified themselves as Independents. Ninety-five were men and 35 were women.
Eighty-two percent said they expect Snyder to run for a second term, with 87 percent of Republicans feeling that way, compared to 82 percent of independents and 78 percent of Democrats. The poll was taken while Republican lawmakers pushed through a large number of bills favored by conservatives in the waning days of the lame-duck session.
“Michigan governors rarely step down voluntarily after only one term, and few Capitol Insiders expect Governor Snyder to break that tradition and not run for re-election,” said Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner of LE&A. “It remains to be seen, however, if Justice Hathaway will weather her legal troubles to run for a second term in 2016.”
Just over half (51 percent) of those polled said Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger of Marshall won’t “take a hit” from the one-person grand jury investigating whether he broke any laws when he worked with Rep. Roy Schmidt to recruit a fake Democratic candidate to run against Schmidt after he switched to the Republican Party. Thirty-eight percent think Bolger could face troubles from Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina’s investigation, while 12 percent are unsure. Democrats were more likely to say Bolger could face problems than Republicans or independents.
Bolger narrowly won re-election in November, squeaking by little known Democrat Bill Farmer to win with 51 percent of the vote in the Calhoun County district. Democrats spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to unseat Bolger, a tactic that 72 percent of the insiders said was a poor decision given that Democratic candidates might have captured more House seats if that money had been spent on those races. Nineteen percent said spending the money trying to unseat Bolger was a good idea, while 12 percent were undecided.
In other findings, the poll showed that 62 percent expect U.S. Sen. Carl Levin to run for his seventh six-year term in 2014. The Detroit Democrat and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman already is Michigan’s longest-serving senator and will turn 80 that year, but he still would be younger than current Michigan Reps. John Dingell, John Conyers and his brother, Rep. Sander Levin. Twenty-two percent of the insiders polled said they expect Levin won’t seek re-election, while 17 percent were undecided. Nearly 60 percent of Republicans and independents said Levin will run again, compared to seven out of 10 Democrats.
One of Snyder’s possible 2014 opponents is Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, who has strongly criticized the GOP governor in recent weeks for signing legislation making Michigan a right-to-work state. Forty-two percent said the term-limited East Lansing senator should run for governor in 2014, while 22 percent said she should run against Schuette for the attorney general’s job. Ten percent suggested she run for the Michigan Supreme Court, 15 percent mentioned running for another elected position and 10 percent were undecided.
“Senator Whitmer has carried the torch for Democratic causes in recent years, and it’s clear she’ll have a major role in the 2014 elections if she wants one,” said pollster Dennis Denno. “There’s still a lot of time for Whitmer and other Democrats to weigh their options as they look to break the GOP hold on Michigan’s government two years from now.”
About Lambert, Edwards & Associates
Named the 2010 PRWeek Small Agency of the Year, LE&A (www.lambert-edwards.com) is a top-10 Midwest-based PR firm and a top-20 investor relations firm nationally with approximately 100 clients based in 20 states and five countries. As Michigan’s only statewide PR firm – with offices in Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit – LE&A serves middle-market companies and national brands in five practice areas: Automotive, Consumer, Financial Communications, Health Care & Technology and Public Affairs. LE&A has posted 12 consecutive years of growth and earned three Silver Anvil awards – the profession’s highest honor – in the past five years. Follow us on Twitter: @LambertEdwards.
About Denno Research
The staff of Denno Research (www.dennoresearch.com) brings more than 20 years of experience in polling to their full-service public opinion company in Michigan. They offer experience in polling for political campaigns, corporations, associations and non-profit organizations, and have worked with clients in Michigan, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, and New Jersey. They have been in business since 2004 and have conducted quarterly, statewide surveys to measure voters’ opinions since 2006.