The Michigan Senate race is in flux. When Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced his retirement early last year, Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) very quickly solidified himself as the consensus Democratic candidate with the help of the outgoing incumbent and his brother, Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI-9). The early maneuverings provided the Detroit congressman a favorite’s aura for the general election.
Initially, during Levin’s retirement announcement period, Republicans were making no secret of their inability to recruit a contender who they could proclaim as a top-flight candidate. When former two-term Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land came forward, the state and national party leaders continued to search for someone they felt would be stronger. Now, a fourth consecutive poll has forecast Land to be holding a small edge over Rep. Peters, thereby justifying the GOP’s renewed interest in making the Wolverine State a top Senatorial target.
According to the Michigan-based EPIC-MRA firm in a survey just released to the Detroit Free Press newspaper (Feb. 5-11; 600 registered Michigan voters), Land maintains a single-digit lead, this time 41-38 percent. All of the polls show both candidates consistently hovering around the 40% threshold, suggesting that each individual has room to grow.
The data in no way says that the race is Land’s to lose, but the aggregate survey results clearly portend her as possessing legitimate ability to achieve victory. Expect this campaign to seesaw until very late into the cycle, at the very least.
The EPIC-MRA poll also tested the governor’s race, featuring incumbent Rick Snyder (R) and former US Rep. Mark Schauer (D-MI-7). As in the Senate race, both of these contenders are consensus candidates within their respective parties. On the new ballot test, Gov. Snyder posts a 47-39 percent advantage over Schauer.
The eight-point margin, with the governor closing in on the 50 percent mark, is a bit surprising when referencing his job approval tabulation. When asked whether the respondents approve or disapprove of the job Snyder is doing as the state’s chief executive, only 46 percent gave a positive answer as compared to the 53% who said they hold a negative opinion of his performance in office.
Snyder has consistently recorded low approval numbers, but does much better when the polling participants choose between he and Schauer. Though the governor does exhibit an underlying degree of political weakness, he still must be considered a slight favorite for re-election.
This race, too, promises to yield a competitive contest.