MI-Gov: Tossup Territory

EPIC-MRA for Detroit News/WXYZ-TV (5/18-21, “people”)


Debbie Stabenow (D): 49

John Cherry (D): 14

Robert Ficano (D): 5

Alma Wheeler Smith (D): 2

George Perles (D): 2

Andy Dillon (D): 1

Don Williamson (D): 1

Undecided: 26

Peter Hoekstra (R): 27

Mike Cox (R): 26

Terri Lynn Land (R): 19

David Brandon (R): 2

Tom George (R): 1

Undecided: 25

(MoE: ±4.9%)


John Cherry (D): 36

Peter Hoekstra (R): 33

John Cherry (D): 36

Mike Cox (R): 35

John Cherry (D): 34

Terri Lynn Land (R): 35

(MoE: ±4%)

The Michigan Governor’s race still looks to be our toughest blue-state gubernatorial retention in 2010. Lt. Gov. John Cherry has the inside track toward the Dem nomination, but he’s polling about even with the three likely GOPers. Probably our best shot here would be for polarizing Rep. Peter Hoekstra to emerge battered from a Republican primary over AG Mike Cox and SoS Terri Lynn Land (by consolidating his base in the conservative western part of the state), letting Cherry narrowly win the general… which is what this poll forecasts happening.

The weirdest thing about this poll is undoubtedly the presence of Sen. Debbie Stabenow. I haven’t heard about her having an iota of interest in jumping into the Governor’s race (although she could do so without danger, as she isn’t up for re-election until 2012). Interestingly, she would crush in both the primary and general if she did have any interest in heading back to Michigan. (In hypothetical generals, Stabenow beats Hoekstra 44-35, Cox 43-35, and Land 44-35. Good news, actually, because those are the same numbers the GOPers put up against Cherry, indicating that the GOP may have a ceiling and the electorate has a Dem lean, but that people who haven’t heard of Cherry yet are reluctant to commit to him.)

Robert Ficano, who polls third in the Dem primary, is the Wayne County Executive; he too hasn’t taken any visible steps toward running. (The poll also looks at general matchups with Ficano; he loses to Hoekstra 35-34, Cox 37-30, and Land 37-30.) Andy Dillon is the term-limited state House Speaker, who has been visibly interested in the Governor’s race; however maybe he’ll take a look at his 1% share and think about moving over to the MI-11 race (which he’s already declined, but, against vulnerable Rep. Thad McCotter, seems likelier to have a happy ending for him).

Results for Cherry are a little better than a poll conducted for Inside Michigan Politics in early March, which had Cherry trailing Cox 41-34 and Land 39-34 (Cherry/Hoekstra wasn’t polled). This earlier poll had Oakland County Exec L. Brooks Patterson winning the GOP primary over Cox, Hoekstra, and Land, 22-17-15-12, but Patterson has since said he won’t run. Maybe Cherry’s visibility has increased in the last few months, but mostly that just seems to be a difference in the composition of the two samples.

17 thoughts on “MI-Gov: Tossup Territory”

  1. this time 2006 Granholm looked like our most vulnerable incumbent governor.  Now, granted, that could be daylight and dark, but it could also be an indication that maybe Michigan is shaping up to be something like New Jersey, and as bad as the area around Detroit looks I can’t say I blame them.

  2. Cherry has a chance. Color me surprised.

    No one knows him, so it must be party ID kicking in there.

    He’s an upstate figure, and he better have a plan for winning over Detroit voters because if it’s close, Detroit proper is going to make the diff for him.

    Any MI elected official connected to Wayne or Oakland County is a crook, Cox included. L. Brooks Patterson has always had a very questionable racial “outlook,” and Robert Ficano, the former Wayne County sheriff, looked the other way for years while the former and now-deceased Wayne County exec, Ed McNamara, basically became a millionaire while making on paper $150,000 a year, and Bernard Kilpatrick, the former Detroit mayor’s father, also lined his own pockets with kickbacks, etc.

    Andy Dillon’s prob is that he looks like a former beatnik liberal activist, something that works for whatever reason in blue-collar Redford just west of the D, but won’t work statewide.

    Stabenow’s campaign slogan is (in a high-pitched shrill) JOBS!, JOBS!, JOBS!, so I would have to think that the poll is basically registering her name ID not any particular interest of a gubernatorial candidacy of hers. Although, she has publicly harbored interest in the Lansing statehouse for twenty years now. So if she did run, I wouldn’t be necessarily surprised, but it would def be a slight to Lt. Gov. Cherry. Would she appoint him to her seat if she were to win?

  3. But I am encouraged by the position Cherry is in right now. The GOP in Michigan will be defined for the next several months by the Bishop-led Senate and its single-minded quest to obstruct…ANYTHING.  

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