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Gov. Rick Snyder Getting Higher Marks from Voters, While Democrat Mark Schauer Remains Largely Unknown

 More Voters Say Michigan Economy is Moving in the Right Direction, LE&A/Denno Research Survey Shows

Lansing, Mich. – Nov. 20, 2013 – Michigan voters have a growing sense that the state economy is headed in the right direction, a factor that may be helping Republican Gov. Rick Snyder widen the gap in a potential matchup with Democrat Mark Schauer, according to a statewide poll released Wednesday by Lambert, Edwards & Associates (LE&A), Michigan’s largest bipartisan public relations firm.

Forty-five percent of 600 likely voters polled statewide Nov. 12-14 said they’d choose Snyder over the former Democratic congressman if the election were held today, while 31 percent picked Schauer and a quarter were undecided. In a July LE&A/Denno Research poll, 43 percent of voters chose Snyder while 37 percent picked Schauer, with 20 percent undecided. Both telephone polls had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Optimism over Michigan’s economy also has increased since the July poll, with 56 percent now saying the state is headed in the right direction compared to 47 percent in July. Twenty-nine percent still think it’s on the wrong track, compared to 41 percent in July. Those undecided remain in the teens. Feelings about the economy have improved even though the state’s unemployment rate rose from 8.7 percent in June to 9 percent in August, the most recent month available.

Schauer’s inability to gain on Snyder may have something to do with his relative invisibility to voters. Eighty percent of those polled didn’t know enough about him to say if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him. When asked about Snyder, 45 percent had a favorable opinion while 33 percent had an unfavorable opinion, with 23 percent undecided. In July, those numbers were 44 percent favorable, 40 percent unfavorable. Among independents, 48 percent of voters thought favorably of Snyder, while 23 had an unfavorable opinion.

Still, Snyder clearly has more to do to ensure re-election next year, and Schauer still has time to make up a lot of ground, said Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner at Lambert, Edwards & Associates.

“Early 2010 polls showed Snyder was equally unknown as Schauer is now, and that only 3 percent of likely Republican voters backed him,” Lambert said. “While Snyder remains below 50 percent in a head-to-head matchup, a sign he still needs to persuade more voters that he deserves a second term, Schauer is definitely playing from behind and needs to open up the offense if he wants to be in the game.”

Asked to rate the job Snyder’s doing as governor, 10 percent of voters said “excellent,” while 35 percent said “good.” A larger percentage gave him more negative grades, with 34 percent saying he was doing a “fair” job and 18 percent giving him a grade of “poor.” Three percent were undecided.

“It’s likely that improved optimism about Michigan’s economy will help all incumbents running in 2014, but Snyder still hasn’t closed the deal,” said Dennis Denno, president of Denno Research. “Snyder is getting positive marks from voters, but if Schauer’s campaign gains momentum and he gives voters a reason to switch, Snyder could have a fight on his hands.”

The race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Carl Levin remains a virtual tie. Thirty-seven percent back Democratic U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, while 36 percent back Republican Terri Lynn Land, the former secretary of state, with 28 percent undecided. In July, both candidates got 39 percent in the poll, with 23 percent undecided.

“The Senate race looks like it’s going to remain tight and a focus nationally as the stakes rise for control of the Senate,” Lambert said. “This contest could be a barn-burner right up until the 2014 election.”

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 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 and Public Affairs.  LE&A has posted 14 years of growth, been named an Edward Lowe “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” and earned four Silver Anvil awards – the PR profession’s highest honor.  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.

About the Poll

This survey was part of an LE&A/Denno Research Periodic Survey of the Michigan electorate. Six hundred likely voters statewide were surveyed by telephone Nov. 12-14. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Twenty percent of those polled were contacted on cell phones, compared to 10 percent in earlier LE&A/Denno Research polls.  All numbers are rounded and may exceed 100 percent.

CONTACT

T.J. Bucholz
Lambert, Edwards & Associates
517-316-0210
tjbucholz@lambert-edwards.com