Pre-convention polling conducted within the state GOP has
created some nervous tension, if not outright panic, heading into this weekend’s
gathering in Lansing.
An internal poll of convention delegates apparently shows party
Chairman Bobby Schostak, a well-to-do real estate developer, leading tea party
challenger Todd Courser by just a 51-49 percent margin.
Though it’s an unscientific, two-day poll of just 20
percent of the GOP delegates expected to attend the convention, I’m told by one
source that the "unthinkable" has so shaken the party leaders that they are contemplating the
creation of a separate state Republican committee if Courser, a Lapeer
attorney, wins the chairmanship.
A similar approach was taken in Nevada when the Ron Paul
gang took over that state’s GOP.
Meanwhile, Courser's candidacy will get a boost at the initial district caucus meetings tonight in Lansing if, as scheduled, former senator and presidential contender Rick Santorum shows up to campaign for the insurgent.
In other polling questions, when the respondents were
asked about the 2014 governor’s race, the news was not good for Gov. Rick
Snyder. Some 21 percent said they would vote against Snyder if he had a primary
opponent, and another 25 percent were "not sure" on whether they
would support the incumbent.
As for their preference for a 2014 GOP nominee to
challenge Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, the results were: Congressman Justin
Amash, 35 percent; Congresswoman Candice Miller, 16 percent; Attorney General Bill
Schuette, 15 percent; former AG Mike Cox, 6 percent; and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley
6%. Other potential candidates, such as Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, barely
registered in the poll. And another 17 percent – the second-highest response --
rejected the choices offered by the pollster and said they want "someone
Though this may sound like a poll skewed toward the tea
party types, the self-identification numbers sound fairly reasonable: 43 percent of
the delegates describe themselves as conservative, 19 percent as a tea party
loyalist, 18 percent simply as Republican, 13 percent as libertarian, 6 percent
as moderate and 1 percent liberal.
Yet, in a separate tracking poll that ends later today, it
appears that the birther movement is alive and well within the state GOP. Some 42
percent of the delegates said they don't believe President Obama is a U.S.
citizen and another 27 percent were "unsure" if Obama was born
in the United States.