A new poll released this morning finds that Gov. Rick Snyder’s
popularity is at a low level, in part because moderates and independents no
longer think of the Republican incumbent as “one of us.”
To start with, 45 percent of the
600 likely voters polled Feb. 23-24 by Lambert, Edwards & Associates, along
with Dennis Denno Research, had an unfavorable opinion of Snyder. Some 38
percent had a favorable opinion and nearly 17 percent were unsure. That third
figure is a very high number and suggests that many voters are having second
thoughts about One Tough Nerd.
Last weekend’s state GOP
convention showed that the tea party still has a strong presence in the
Republican Party, and Snyder is not their favorite. Among GOP poll respondents,
only 40 percent had a favorable opinion of Snyder – not that much different
than Democrats, where 38 percent had a favorable opinion.
The Republican governor’s
decision to sign right to work legislation also has hurt him with voters, the LE&A/Denno
Reserach survey shows. Forty-seven percent of likely voters said they’re less
likely or much less likely to vote for Snyder because he signed the bill in
December, while just 29 percent said they’re more likely or much more likely to
vote for him because of that issue. Twenty percent said it would make no
difference in their vote.
While three-fourths of
Democrats and two-thirds of union households said they were less likely to vote
for Snyder in 2014 because of right to work, a majority of independent voters –
51 percent – also said the move made them less likely to back Snyder. Only 19
percent of independent voters said they were more likely to vote for Snyder
because he signed right to work legislation.
The disappointment expressed by
independents could become a major factor if Snyder, as expected, seeks
re-election in 2014.
Though he campaigned as a
moderate three years ago, most voters now classify Snyder’s political leanings
as either hard right (24 percent) or slightly right (29 percent). Only 15
percent view him as a centrist, 10 percent say he leans left and 22 percent are
“Voters heading into 2014 will
have a clearer view of how Rick Snyder will govern if given another four-year
term than they did in 2010, when he was a political newcomer,” said Jeff
Lambert, president and managing partner of Lambert, Edwards & Associates.
“Without knowing which Democrat he’ll be running against in 2014, it’s hard at
this point to predict whether voters will rally around him for a second term.”
Asked about his job performance, voters were equally split,
with a third giving him high marks, a third medium marks and a third low marks.
Just 2 percent of voters were undecided about Snyder’s job performance in the
latest poll, compared to 12 percent last summer.
“Both his personal popularity
and his job rating are lower than an incumbent would want heading into re-election,”
said Dennis Denno, president of Denno Research. “If his so-so ratings continue,
he could have a tough time in 2014.”
Denno also noted that Snyder
now is seen by most voters as clearly in the Republican camp.
“As much as Snyder says
he’s a moderate, Michigan voters don’t appear to think of him that way,” Denno