MI-Gov: The Buyer’s Remorse Keeps Spreading

Public Policy Polling (3/18-20, “Michigan voters,” no trendlines):

Virg Bernero (D): 47

Rick Snyder (R): 45

Undecided: 8

(MoE: ±4.4%)

These “do-over” questions from Public Policy Polling are, of course, off in hypothetical-land and don’t have an immediate application (other than to encourage high-information partisan types like us to find a convenient desk and start pounding our heads on it). But they are certainly remarkable, and starting to put together, brick by brick, a real picture of the pendulum swinging back incredibly rapidly among fickle midwestern swing voters. Today, it’s Michigan’s turn, where they find that if the 2010 gubernatorial election were re-done, Democratic mayor of Lansing Virg Bernero would edge out Rick Snyder.

In a way, that’s even more startling reversal of fortune than PPP’s previous results in Wisconsin and Ohio, as Snyder ran as a centrist and superficially reasonable guy, instead of an out-and-proud jackass like John Kasich and Scott Walker, and wound up winning by 18 points instead of squeaking by. (Although the composition of the electorate seems to have changed a lot since 2010, suggesting a lot of Democrats sat on their hands that year and are now asking themselves why… PPP’s electorate went only 49-43 for Snyder, with 8% didn’t vote/don’t remember.)

The problem for Snyder is that he isn’t governing the way he campaigned; 36% are now saying he’s “too conservative,” and that has dragged his overall approval rate down to 33/50… one of the shortest honeymoons ever, as now he’s in almost as bad a shape as Jennifer Granholm was when she left office. Snyder’s on the wrong end of public opinion on all the prominent policy questions: there’s 49/37 support for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing collective bargaining rights, 59/32 support for collective bargaining for public employees, and 32/50 opposition for Snyder’s probably-unconstitutional attempt to take over and dismantle faltering municipalities. The one bit of good news that Snyder can take away from this: he’s recall-eligible after only six months in office, but voters are leaning against that, with 38% in support and 49% against.

65 thoughts on “MI-Gov: The Buyer’s Remorse Keeps Spreading”

  1. They say they only went for Snyder 49-43, but they also say they only went for Obama 51-43. Both won by nearly 20 points! This can’t possibly be true unless they really oversampled McCain/Bernero (heh) voters or somehow managed to avoid any Obama/Snyder voters. I think it’s more likely that some people selectively “forget” who they voted for or are refusing to admit voting for an incumbent they no longer approve of.  

  2. And those like them from other states don’t serve as a wake-up call then nothing ever will. Vote dammit. Else stop your belly-aching.

  3. Granted on a robopoll in the heat of political emotion people will say just about anything, as illustrated by how many Republicans answered “yes” when PPP asked in some polls the previous cycle whether Obama is the anti-Christ.  In that vein, I think if these same poll respondents this time actually had to cast a real vote yet again between Snyder and Bernero, I doubt Bernero would do nearly this well.

    That said, Snyder seemed to be on the moon in popularity, and on the way to long-term untouchability, and it’s just stunning to me that he falls this far this fast.

    I’m very heartened by seeing how much support there really is for unions across the upper Midwest.  It appears to truly have been a sleeping giant, with people taking for granted unions being there as a positive influence but shrugging off the long-term drip, drip, drip of attacks against them.  Now they see some dramatic stuff done much more conspicuously, and they finally realize they can’t shrug it off anymore.

    I hope we can harness this into recall wins in Wisconsin and a referendum win in Ohio later this year.  If we can get some wins in that vein, it’s great momentum for 2012.

  4. Was there a Strickland/Kasich rematch poll done somewhere? I did see Kasich’s approvals are underwater, but nothing on the revote question.  

  5. All of these govs are not up until 2014 and they are doing the ‘piss off’ stuff first.  They are working with big GOP majorities as well – yea, some in the legislatures will be up in 2012 and they might be a bit timid, but the govs are all thinking that in three years time, no one will remember this sort of thing and will only care how the state is doing.

  6. Snyder won’t be on a ballot again for more than three and a half years. He can do a lot of damage even as an unpopular governor.

  7. Michigan is a brutal state, politically, especially over this decade.  Living here, I can tell you that you won’t find a more pessimistic and fickle populous because of the way the economy has been.

    I have to say, though, that I’m even surprised how quickly things have changed.  Things haven’t been this volatile in my lifetime.

    BTW, people tend to forget or not know that Michigan had one of its lowest gubernatorial turnouts in something like 20-25 years last year.  Stupid Democrats sat at home, while we let independents and Republicans hand Snyder the governor’s office without much of a fight.

  8. Benson could have been saved, probably the only one.  Oh, and maybe ONE of the Supreme Court seats, but definitely Benson.

  9. if even the Detriot Free Press is criticizing him. The worst part about the Bill, is that, from what I’ve read, it actually lowers corporate taxes and passes the burden onto the lower tax brackets. That’s why I thought people were stupid for thinking a business would run the government to the people’s benefit. There’s a reason Government is not run like a business, and for all the whining about waste and inefficiency, that waste and inefficiency are what make government fair as opposed to businesses.

  10. Can somebody explain to me why anyone on here who was not a Republican ever had high hopes for him anyways? I mean this in the most serious and general curious manner – what made anyone think he’d really govern as a moderate, or even a liberal like some people here seemed to think (I’m not saying you, LookingOver, thought these things in particular; just curious)?

  11. Governors (unlike senators) need political capital to get things done. Every new GOP governor has quickly blown all their political capital and then some. It’s almost impossible to see Republicans keeping the state legislatures after this. If Governors were seen as simply not making enough of an effort to fix the economy that’s one thing that can change. But they aren’t just doing that, they are actively endorsing and shoving extremely unpopular legislation. Since they are in Dem-leaning states,  they (especially Snyder) need some kind of “above-the-frey” image. Once the governors have sunk into the partisan mud it’s hard to crawl back out even if they have 4 years (and with recalls, I’m not sure that they even have that.)  

  12. If there’s some sort of change that helps the state economically, he’ll benefit, whether or not he’s responsible. But if there isn’t, and if there’s nothing on the horizon to hint that things are getting better, and on top of that he’s done all of these things that aren’t what he campaigned on and that aren’t popular for any reason, he’s could quite easily lose.

    There’s a big, big difference between a bitter pill who benefits take a while to kick in and would be widely felt and a punch to the throat that will only benefit one side.  

  13. I haven’t seen anything to indicate that Sandoval (NV), Martinez (NM), Bentley (AL), Deal (GA), Branstad (IA), Fallin (OK), Haley (SC), Haslam (TN), Daugaard (SD), or Mead (WY) have big problems yet. That said, only 3 of those 10 are in really competitive states. AFAIK Branstad is the only new Republican governor of a northern swing state not to dig himself a hole yet…maybe because he’s done this before (if a long time ago) and has more of an idea what he’s doing.  

  14. The state houses of representatives are up much sooner, and many of them are panicking.  In both OH and MI, the state houses of representatives were Democratic before 2010, and could easily be so again.

    It is interesting to note that Ohio’s bill limiting collective bargaining, SB 5, STILL hasn’t passed the house.  It was expected to sail through two weeks ago, and still may be amended.  If it doesn’t pass by April 8th, the referendum to nullify SB5 will be voted on in November of 2012 in a high turnout election, which is NOT what Kasich wants.

    Political capital does have value, even if the odds are still against us.

    Oh, and snyder can be recalled, too, after only 6 months.  The signature hurdle is really high, but if they make it, the chances of him remaining in office is really slim, especially with a 33% approval rating.

  15. 1). Like some people have pointed out, the state house IS up for reelection in 2012. If you want to see how reigned in a governor in Michigan can be with a split legislature, see Michigan from 1997-1999, or 2003-2011.

    2). If Snyder looks toxic enough that he is a goner in 2014 (which is not assured), than expect the legislature, even if it’s completely Republican controlled in 2013-15 to reign him in a bit. Engler had a much harder time with the Republican controlled legislature from 1999-2003 because Republicans were smart and thought, “Hey, how would I feel if a DEMOCRAT was doing these things?” When some of the poor rural school districts in northern Michigan start to need EFM’s, do they want Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s budget director’s “contract-shredding henchmen,” as some liberal bloggers are calling them, tearing apart local school contracts? Localism will reign again in the Republican Party (until the next Republican governor, of course).

  16. …and each pension check what Mr. Snyder did to them.  He shouldn’t get too cocky.  People think that they have been misled, and that kind of burn does not heal easily or quickly.

  17. although I don’t know what it tells!

    Or I guess I do… some people lie about who they voted for.

    Two random points…  Michigan is acting like a classic swing state, and that’s what makes this site fun.

    Second, a lot of people have criticized Bernero, and that seems unfair.  I’d wager that he would be defeating the Republicans Snyder defeated in the primary by even greater margins than he is ahead of Snyder now.

  18. I always love these types of polls.  I wish they’d start doing them after people are elcted but before they are inaugurated jsut for fun to see how poor the responses and/or methodology are.  

    I hope they continue asking questions like “if the election were held today…” followed by “when the elction was held 6 months ago, why the F*** didn’t you vote at all” to all respondents.  

    What was voter turnout in MI in 2010 anyways?

    Sigh, its too early for me top be angry at stupid lazy voters…

  19. sort of legal action in Ohio challenging it if it does in fact pass, preventing it from going into effect? Or will it be a quick downhill slide?  

  20. Gov. Snyder really made some bad decisions out of the gate. I had high hopes for him, and I thought he’d govern as a moderate, but his own party’s got him running scared and governing like a Tea Party conservative isn’t gonna fly in Michigan.

  21. and it’s entirely possible that 6.5 percent of those people either didn’t remember or think they voted for McCain because they vote for Republicans frequently.  

  22. It will go on the ballot.  We need a lot of signatures, but I have little doubt we will get them–the window is large.  If we file a petition within a certain amount of time before the bill passes, then the law will not go into effect until the referendum.  The initial petition only needs 1000 signatures, that can be gotten within a day.

    If the bill passes before April 8th, the referendum would be this November.  If it passes after April 8th, then the referendum will be in November, 2012.  Kasich desperately wants the bill to pass before the April deadline because not only would repeal face better odds in a high turnout election, but his bill would also be in limbo and not in effect for a year and a half.

    There may be some legal challenges as well, but I haven’t heard of anything to that effect.  The Ohio supreme court is not wingnutty, but they are all republicans–a result of ZERO organizing by the Ohio Dem party to get democratic judges elected.

  23. Have Democratic-controled state legislatures so they can’t go too crazy with their initiatives even if they wanted to .  The rest are, as you said, from very Republican states so there’s not much they can do that will cause an uproar in the state. Given the opportunity, I’m fairly certain all of them would do what Walker & co. are doing, maybe with the exception of Haslam.

  24. would definitely shred collective bargaining rights if the GOP controlled both chambers of the legislature. On some fiscal issues he has sounded a little more reasonable than the Iowa House Republicans, though.

  25. Governor Haslam has actually positioned himself as a moderate conservative who is willing to do battle with the ideological hard-right Lt. Governor, State Senator Ron Ramsey, and his allies in the State Senate. Haslam used his influence via House Speaker, Beth Harwell,and his allies in the House to moderate the anti-collective bargaining legislation moving through the legislature in regards to teacher unions. As it stands now, either the State Senate accepts the more moderate House version that simply “restricts bargaining”, or the bill can die, either way Haslam wins.

    Of course, Haslam and Ramsey were primary opponents in 2010, so there is no love lost between the two. Tennessee Democrats are pretty much irrelevant in the discussion as weak minority in the Senate and mere rump minority in the House.

  26. Now, since I am being lazy, and since you have followed this more closely than I have, how are the recalls in Wisconsin going?

  27. is the only democrat on the Ohio supreme court, she was appointed by Strickland to fill a vacancy last year.

  28. Bill was something that was sitting around in the legislature and he decided, on his own accord, to support and promote. Nobody in the Republican Party forced him to back it, and no major Republican interest group in the state made him do it. Nobody forced him to unveil the budget he did, or bring in a budget director from out of state who knows nothing about Michigan’s unique economic and cultural situation. And he’s not governing as a Tea Party Republican; he’s governing like a REPUBLICAN. This is what they do.

  29. and you shall receive (well CA anyway):

    After nearly three months in office, Gov. Jerry Brown’s job performance is winning the approval of California voters by more than a 2-to-1 ratio, while the state Legislature continues to receive low marks, according to a Field Poll released today.

    Brown has the approval of 48 percent of registered voters who were surveyed; 21 percent disapprove of his performance so far. Nearly a third, 31 percent, have no opinion. […]

    Voters’ opinions of elected lawmakers continue to be low, with just 16 percent approving of how they do their jobs and 70 percent disapproving. Fourteen percent have no opinion.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/

  30. …which has me concerned a bit, although, I think the resources have temporarily shifted for the supreme court race.  Radio ads are going up for Prosser, though, on right wing radio.  They want to get out the base it seems.  I would think that this is a good thing that they are feeling nervous, but that’s a total gut feeling not based on anything factual at all.

  31. sites you recommend that specifically discuss this stuff? Or are the Wisconsin newspapers the best source?  

  32. With his cutting wages of servers, “I didn’t know who he was before.  I do now, and I don’t like him.”  Pissed off voters rack up and so do their votes.

  33. But, other than that, the local newspapers are the best source of anything right now… that I know of.  Twitter was somewhat useful during the big protests, but is of much lesser value at the moment.

  34. Two other sites that are good are the Sconz (http://www.thedailypage.com/thesconz/) and Blogging Blue (http://bloggingblue.com/).

    In terms of updates, I believe that we have reached 50-75 percent of the needed signatures in all the 6 vulnerable districts.  It seems likely that there will be elections in all six districts.  Additionally, there are some candidates in the districts who are ready to step forward.  I do not know when they will officially announce, but I would assume it would be after the signatures have been certified in order to ensure that we do not look ahead of ourselves and to give the GOP less time to denigrate the candidates.  Overall it is looking greater than 50/50 that the Dems can retake the Senate.

  35. He’s very intelligent, considering he walked out of the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree at age 18, then earned an MBA the next year and a J.D. by the time he was 23.

    He positioned himself as an unapologetic moderate during the GOP primary, facing down a plethora of spitting mad far-rightists and winning.

    He refused to campaign on social issues during the general election campaign and even took pro-education and pro-environment stances at times.

    His State of the State speech was very well received by members of both parties.

    And then he up and decided to follow Govs. Walker and Kasich off the plank by attacking state workers, public unions, and struggling local governments. I just don’t get it; that goes past merely conservative (see: Govs. Daniels, Martinez, and even Christie) into straight-up union-busting Tea Party (see: Govs. Walker, Kasich, and LePage).

  36. moderate during the election doesn’t mean he actually was a moderate. He must have done a heck of a job. I never saw his moderateness and this confirms it.

  37. Detailed and judicious reply. Sorry for the longer reply; brevity is the soul of wit and all that…

    I’ll say that I understand the second and fourth points, though I don’t agree with them entirely, and that I completely understand your third point, though I don’t think he really defended education as much as the value of being educated, a.k.a. his nerd shtick. I really don’t understand your first point, though, as I don’t see his intelligence having any direct relation to his suitability towards being governor, nor the validity of his positions.

    Snyder said during the primary he didn’t want to antagonize labor, but would sign a right-to-work bill if it came to his desk (see the link at the bottom). He also said he wouldn’t push to end collective bargaining, but thinks that formerly agreed on union contracts made by local communities can be voided by a state-appointed official if the local political leadership wants it. See a pattern? As CEO of Gateway he never had to deal with unions at all, and has had no prior political experience to help him understand union’s points of views/influence in Michigan.

    There was NO reason to think, no matter what he said, he’d be anything but a standard Republican, but with maybe a slightly more laissez-faire attitude about social issues, and no matter what division you make close to every Republican in America would love to get rid of unions if they could, so I think your last comparison, and using “Tea Party” as some dividing line between good ol’ standard Republicans and the yahoos doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny. I’d say he’s being a bad politician, not a bad Republican.


  38. But then he easily won reelection in a brutal year for Indiana Republicans. These ‘regret’ polls are pointless this far out.

  39. I was more dismayed by the utter lack of ANY effort by Dems to even salvage the down ballot races at all. In my home city of Kalamazoo, for example, the two Democratic justices, combined, only pulled in a plurality of 49%. Jocelyn Benson, on the other hand, got 63%, and the much maligned David Leyton and Virg Bernero got 64% and 57%, respectively. While I think it’s impossible for Bernero, Benson and Leyton to have won in 2010, we could’ve saved the Supreme Court justices and several state reps and county officials. FILL OUT THE WHOLE DAMN BALLOT, PEOPLE!

  40. I’ve heard this story over and over, and yet never an explanation.  What exactly happened, and how was he able to rehabilitate himself?

    One difference between the two situations is that Snyder and Walker are in reliably blue states nationally, and Kasich was never liked even when he was elected (had underwater approvals since the middle of his campaign and has not improved).  Was Daniels’ budget woes that brutal towards his constituents and voters as the ones proposed by these other Republican governors?  Most of these guys are not only attacking their typical nemeses (i.e. public union employees), but are even going after their own voters as well (i.e. seniors).  Daniels is very good at sweet talking you as he pickpockets you, it doesn’t seem that the other guys are as good.

    So, I do want to hear about Daniels and his troubles and salvation. He’s the only guy who’s ever recovered from such a plummet that I know of. The one other example that I can think of with approvals plummeting in a short period of time is Obama and the Dems with health care in 2009.  Both are still waiting for a recovery of approvals.  Personally, all evidence suggests that Snyder, Walker, Kasich, etc. have already crossed the Rubicon of unpopularity and will struggle to get out (the last two were never popular in the first place, which doesn’t help) mainly because of a motivated blue state Dem base which will hound these guys as long as they are in office and conservative labor voters suddenly waking up and smelling the coffee.

    But, we shall see… Memories can be short, however, these wounds seem to be accumulating, not stopping.  We’ll see if these govs can staunch the bleeding.  Is Daniels the template or just an anomaly?

  41. with an executive order.  It never had to pass legislation, so it didn’t get anywhere close to the attention that other Governors are getting.

    That makes a huge difference.

  42. He rehabilitated himself in less than a year. Nobody thought he would win after those disastrous 2005 ballot measures, but he reinvented himself as a liberal Republican and won easily in an awful year.

    Regardless, I think he won because a lot of his reforms worked out well. Democrats might hate to admit it, but Indiana got a great deal leasing the toll road at the time we did. DST itself was a long-overdue idea. He put the state in excellent fiscal condition and voters respected him for it, especially when he responded well to the property tax crisis. Plus, the Indiana Democrats have become disorganized and devoid of ideas as their major stars (Bart Peterson, Baron Hill, Brad Ellsworth) have all gone down to defeat. Daniels had horrific approvals five years ago, but ever since mid 2008 or so he’s been the most popular politician in Indiana.

    Let me amend my previous remarks. A “regret” poll that shows such a large swing in such a short period means something. Perhaps it means that Snyder is on the wrong path politically with his confrontational stance towards the unions. But it doesn’t mean anything in terms of his political future.

  43. I think the house was Democratic most of his tenure.  That makes a huge difference, too, IMO.  I don’t think that someone like Christie would be as popular if he could just ram anything he wanted carte blanche.  His appeal seems to lie in the way he is able to manipulate the NJ Dem legislature into chasing its own tail around and look foolish.

  44. It does raise the question of how well he’d do in some of the Midwestern states since it’s quite easy to place the blame for this on him, as he used an executive order, if it is in fact still an issue in 2012.  

  45. in a good fiscal point after the extreme budget cuts to K-12 education. What a great governo and to say the state Democratic party is devoid of ideas is really beginning to push the line.

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