Mitchell: DeVos Only 9% Down
(MACKINAC ISLAND) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVOS trails Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM by only nine percentage points, according to a survey pollster Steve MITCHELL sprung on attendees of the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference.
The poll of 600 likely 2006 gubernatorial voters by Mitchell Research and Communications shows Granholm leading 45 to 36 percent, numbers Mitchell told elated attendees at the "Pundits and Pollsters" seminar stunned him. This result, combined with Granholm's 39 percent re-elect number and 45 percent approval rating, signals trouble for the first-term Democratic governor, Mitchell said.
"This points out that we have a real opportunity to unseat the governor," he said. "It's because of Michigan's economy and more than half say jobs and the economy is their No. 1 issue."
When asked about Granholm's handling of the economy, 48 percent disapproved. Forty-six approved.
Meanwhile U.S. Sen. Debbie STABENOW (D-Lansing) held a 47-31 percent lead over Republican candidate Keith BUTLER. Only 42 percent said they would vote to re-elect Stabenow, which should be encouraging to the eventual Republican nominee, whoever it is.
"In 2000, Democrats kept saying that then-U.S. Sen. Spencer ABRAHAM would lose because he couldn't crack the 50 percent mark in the polls," Mitchell said. "On Election Day, he couldn't crack 50 percent either and he lost. Generally, incumbents do not get any of the undecided voters. With Gov. Granholm at only 45 percent and Sen. Stabenow at 47 percent, both are endangered incumbents."
Mitchell's numbers were more optimistic to Republicans than those released Thursday by the Marketing Resource Group and Inside Michigan Politics, which showed Granholm with a 49-34 percent lead over DeVos. But a common theme was Granholm's relatively low approval rating. For the first time in her administration, the governor's job approval rating is below 50 percent.
The most striking number, according to Matthew DOWD, chief pollster for President George W. BUSH in 2004, is right direction/wrong track numbers that show 27 percent believe Michigan is on the right track. Sixty-two percent believe Michigan is on the wrong track. (By comparison, 29 percent think the nation is going in the right direction and 62 percent believe it's on the wrong track.)
Dowd said he had visions of the former Gov. Ann RICHARDS campaign of 1994, in which another popular Democratic incumbent was ousted from office. The difference: Richards' re-election numbers were 14 points better and her right direction/wrong track numbers were 25 percentage points better.
"There is no reason why we can't change the leadership of this state," Dowd said.
Steve Mitchell is usually the most accurate pollster in the state, so this is good news and something to build on. It's early, but a good start.