Land Fall Burying GOP Hopes for Michigan Senate Seat

Terri Lynn Land is losing friends faster than the kid who tells the teacher what everyone else was doing while she was out of the room.

The latest Public Policy Polling survey shows the Republican’s favorability has dropped a net 28 points since December. Before the Christmas presents were unwrapped, 34 percent of Michigan voters surveyed by PPP liked Land, 23 percent did not.

Those numbers have crashed to 32 percent viewing Land “favorably” and 49 percent on the other side of the popularity fence.

Rep. Gary Peters (D), fighting Land for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Carl Levin (D), is far from the most popular kid on campus, but he has more friends than Land.

Public Policy Polling puts his favorability index at 35 percent favorable to 36 percent unfavorable.

However, in the numbers that really matter, Peters is leading Land by the widest margin thus far in the campaign, 43 percent to 36 percent overall. Third-party candidates combine for 7 percent of the vote.

It hasn’t been this good for Peters since October 2013 and the debate over the federal government shutdown.

Even if voters don’t care much for Peters as a man, they like his stand on the issues. The PPP survey shows support in Michigan is very strong for raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour and repealing right-to-work legislation.

Both issues have strong support among blue-collar Democrats in Michigan and help Peters make his populist case, even though he became a millionaire as a stockbroker.

It isn’t just the Democrat-favoring Public Policy Polling survey that shows Land is flailing and failing. A survey conducted for the Detroit News and WDIV-TV shows Peters has a 10.5-point lead over Land.

The poll was conducted Sept. 3-5, the days when outside PACs for both candidates launched multi-million-dollar TV and radio advertising campaigns that rained a blitzkrieg of attack ad bombshells on Michigan voters.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, for instance, was on the air day and night tying Land to the Koch brothers and petroleum coke pollution in Detroit. The ad’s narrator said she should be forced to live in the neighborhood affected by the filthy “petcoke” cloud that hung for a time over the Detroit River and then blew into downriver neighborhoods.

The Land campaign has been hitting back by arguing that Peters owns nearly $20,000 worth of stock in an oil company based in France that operates half a dozen petcoke plants in the United States.

The narrator of that TV ad says, “For Washington’s Gary Peters, $19,000 is a little bit of stock, and a lot of hypocrisy.”

Land also issued a statement attacking Peters for his investment in the company, Total S.A.

“Congressman Gary Peters should immediately sell his $20,000 investment in petcoke, the very substance he tells voters is polluting Detroit and the substance that is the nexus of false attack ads launched by national Democrats like Senator Harry Reid and California billionaire Tom Steyer,” Land said in a statement.