From the Detroit Free Press – Gov. Rick Snyder maintains an eight-point lead over Democratic challenger Mark Schauer, while Republican Terri Lynn Land has strengthened in her U.S. Senate contest against Democratic U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, according to a new poll by EPIC-MRA.
The poll, released to the Free Press, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) and other media partners, shows Snyder with a 47%-39% lead over Schauer. An EPIC-MRA poll in September showed Snyder leading Schauer 44%-36%.
The poll of 600 likely voters, conducted Feb. 5 through Tuesday, shows Land of Byron Center leading Peters of Bloomfield Township 41%-38%. However, the numbers are within the poll’s 4-percentage-point margin of error. Still, that’s a turnaround from September, when Peters led Land 38%-37%.
Though both races are largely unchanged from where they were five months ago, a brighter job outlook could bode well for the governor, said Bernie Porn, president of Lansing-based EPIC-MRA.
“The perception of the state’s economy has improved dramatically,” Porn said. “That is helping Snyder.”
At the same time, the Snyder campaign’s statewide TV ad buy on Super Bowl Sunday — for an ad that received many negative reviews — has not increased the governor’s lead over Schauer.
Schauer especially — but also Peters — has low name recognition, the poll shows.
More than half of those surveyed, 54%, said they don’t recognize Schauer’s name.
Schauer, a former congressman and state representative from Battle Creek, must improve his name recognition “fairly soon” if he hopes to win, Porn said. “You look at the last few months, he’s been pretty much invisible.”
Peters was unknown to 45%, while 37% said they did not recognize the name of his opponent, Land, a former Michigan secretary of state who recently stepped down as a Republican National Committeewoman.
Peters is strong in southeast Michigan, while Land is strong in western Michigan, Porn said. TV ads in January paid for by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity that attacked Peters over the Affordable Care Act have pushed up Peters’ negative ratings only slightly, and the race “really hasn’t moved much,” he said.
Heather Swift, a spokeswoman for Land, said every poll this year has shown Land gaining support. Michigan families “trust her as a mom, small-business owner and public servant to fight for them and make government work,” she said. (more…)