Yesterday, online ads began running in support of Rick Snyder’s 2014 reelection bid. And, tomorrow, a one-minute television spot will begin airing in select Michigan media markets as well. (According to the Detroit Free Press, it will likely be running in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Lansing and Traverse City.) As this is a full 13 months prior to the election, and, as Snyder has yet to formally announce his re-election plans, folks are understandably puzzled. Many, it would seem, feel as though it means he’s in serious trouble. Among those who share this opinion is BJ Neidhardt, campaign manager for Snyder’s Democratic rival Mark Schauer. Neidhardt has said the television ad buy, which is completely unprecedented for an incumbent this far in advance of an election, is proof that Snyder is “running scared.” While I’m tempted to say Neidhardt’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt, seeing as how he’s a political operative working for Snyder’s opposition, the polling data I’ve seen thus far would certainly support his assessment… Here’s a clip from a June 4 report by Public Policy Polling (PPP).
PPP’s first poll of the Michigan Gubernatorial race since Mark Schauer’s official entry finds the Democrat leading incumbent Rick Snyder 42/38. PPP’s polling of this match up over the last six months has been very consistent- in March Schauer also led Snyder by 4 points and in December he had a 5 point advantage.
Schauer’s initial lead has a lot more to do with Snyder than it does with himself. Even after his official candidacy announcement, he has just 38% statewide name recognition. But Snyder continues to be one of the most unpopular Governors in the country with only 40% of voters approving of him to 52% who disapprove. He’s at 40/51 with independents and Democrats (78% disapproval) dislike him a good deal more than Republicans (68% approval) like him.
Schauer’s low name recognition at this point means that things could actually get worse for Snyder. The undecideds for Governor voted for Barack Obama by a 16 point margin, and only 22% approve of Snyder to 64% who disapprove. Those are folks likely to move into the Schauer camp once he becomes better known.
Snyder’s role in the passage of right to work legislation continues to be a big problem for him. Just 40% of voters support that law to 50% who oppose it, numbers that have not seen any improvement since the initial furor after it passed in December. Snyder continues to have issues with his brand, as only 34% of voters now consider him to be ‘one tough nerd’ to 45% who don’t…
If true, it’s absolutely devastating, and goes a long way toward explaining why Snyder’s team, flush with DeVoss money, would set out early to dust off the “nerd” schtick, and attempt to define the debate. (Interestingly, he’s no longer “one though nerd,” as he was during the past campaign, but “one successful nerd.” I guess you loose the ability to use “tough” when you repeatedly cave-in to the pressure of the tea partiers, homophobes and anti-union corporatists who you come up against.)
Here’s the ad, titled “Michigan is Back,” which will begin running tomorrow.
[A much longer version, which includes footage of Snyder snorkeling in a pool for some inexplicable reason, can be found online at OneSuccessfulNerd.com.]
Based on this single ad, which I found to be completely uninspiring, and the polling data noted above, I’m tempted to say that Schauer’s got a pretty good shot, assuming he doesn’t have any skeletons in his closet that cam be exploited during the mud-throwing stage of the campaign, but you never know when something huge might happen. For instance, what if a widely respected elder statesman, someone with true gravitas, like Donald “show me your birth certificate” Trump, were to weigh in on Snyder’s behalf?
Actually, that just happened a few days ago. The opportunistic, sad-haired tea party favorite took to Twitter to say the following.
The Donald’s ridiculous endorsement, as you might expect, was quickly responded to by Schauer.
One hopes that Schauer is as cutting in his ads, which are sure to begin airing shortly… Speaking of which, here’s an idea, if he wants it. It comes from our friend Robert.
“I’d like to see campaign ads run against Snyder stating ‘After four years of that, Michigan needs a Schauer.’ Maybe they could show Snyder making promises and then cut to a shot of a creepy Snyder look-alike in suggestive situations with seedy business interests.”
With a suggestively mispronounced reference to Snyder’s time spent in the company of the “Koch Brothers,” I think it could be really brilliant. Maybe, if they have the budget, they could even work in an appearance by Bill O’Reilly, knocking on the shower door with a loofah.