Snyder Challenger in Michigan Says Voters May Not Know Him, But Know He 'Helped Save Auto Industry'

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.) built his so-called “Grand Bargain” that moved Detroit through the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history on the backs of retired Motor City police, firefighters and other city workers.

So said Mark Schauer, a former congressman and Democrat who wants to make Snyder a one-term governor, on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown show with Chuck Todd on July 15.

“He is cutting pensions for police officers, firefighters, city retirees who are now paying more for healthcare,” he said.

Schauer spoke with the confidence of a political underdog who has pulled into a tie with the incumbent.

A few hours before his live shot on Daily Rundown, an NBC News-Marist poll was released showing Schauer had pulled into a virtual tie with Michigan’s governor.

The poll had Snyder leading Schauer by only 46-44 percent with a margin of error of 3.3 percent.

This is the second poll to be released in July that shows Schauer has made up a lot of ground. The Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling survey of Michigan voters released July 1 showed Snyder and Schauer tied at 40-40.

What a difference half-a-year can make. At the beginning of 2014, the Democratic-leaning LE&A/Denno Research poll had Snyder in the lead by 14 points.

If it wasn’t for independent voters, Schauer would have blown by Snyder this time.

The NBC-Marist poll shows Snyder holding a 14-point lead among independent voters, the same people who made the difference in 2010 when Snyder beat GOP primary opponents trying to out-Tea Party each other.

That field included former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who two years later was later defeated in a Senate race by Democrat Debbie Stabenow after running a TV ad featuring an American-Asian woman speaking “pigeon-English.”

Snyder easily won the November 2010 gubernatorial election, coasting to victory over the mayor of Lansing, Mich., Virg Bernero.

However, Snyder has more going for him than weak opposition.

His job-approval rating was 49 percent in the NBC-Marist poll. By comparison, only 25 percent of registered voters in Michigan view Schauer favorably, and 53 percent are either unsure of who he is or have never heard of him.

Snyder also has this going for him: Michigan’s unemployment rate went down from 11 percent in January 2011 to 7.5 percent in May 2014.