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Schauer’s Credible Credibility Issue Dominates Tortoise vs. Tortoise race in Michigan

Is the no-name Dem challenger gaining ground on GOP governor? (For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)

by
Rod Kackley

Bio

July 16, 2014 - 1:21 pm
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Mark Schauer, the Democrat trying to unseat Mich. Gov. Rick “One Tough Nerd” Snyder, has a credibility problem in the eyes of Sandy Baruah, the chief executive of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“He (Mark Schauer) has no substance. He is making stuff up and has no value,” Baruah told longtime Michigan political reporter Tim Skubick in an interview for his MiLive column.

Those two sentences might not seem like much in many races, but in Michigan’s gubernatorial contest between the tortoise and the tortoise — a Republican who describes himself as a Tough Nerd and a Democrat who could spend a day shopping at the mall without being recognized —they rang as loudly as the Marine Corps DI waking up recruits in the movie Full Metal Jacket.

Still, there are more than three months to go before the first Tuesday in November, and a recent voter survey from Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling shows Schauer’s name recognition and voter favorability ratings are improving.

The PPP survey released July 1 also shows Schauer has pulled into a tie with Snyder.

Credibility might not be as much as a problem for the former congressman from Battle Creek, Mich., as discoverability.

Schauer continues to be relatively unknown to nearly half of voters in the state. Forty-nine percent have no opinion about him, according to the PPP survey. Those who do have an opinion are pretty closely split. Twenty-seven percent see Schauer favorably, but 24 percent don’t like the Democrat.

Yet, the undecided voters don’t like Snyder even more, giving him a 16/68 approval rating. But they don’t like President Obama either, rating him at 30/59.

Overall, Michigan doesn’t care for Obama. Even though he won the 2008 and 2012 elections in the Wolverine State, voters have grown weary of him and it doesn’t seem that Schauer will be able to ride his coattails in November as a member of the Class of 2014.

The PPP survey, and remember PPP leans Democratic, shows only 43 percent of Michigan voters approve of the job Obama’s doing, compared to the 52 percent who disapprove.

But the Snyder camp is not resting easy. Through the voices of surrogates like Baruah and Bobby Schostak, the chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, the Snyder campaign is hitting the credibility issue, while Snyder does what Snyder supporters say the tough nerd does best — run the state of Michigan.

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