Archive for March, 2015

Proposal 1 Opposition At 55% In New MIRS Poll


After months of discussion and three weeks of advertising, 55 percent of likely Michigan voters remain opposed to the May 5 road funding proposal, according to a new poll commissioned by Michigan Information & Research Service Inc. (MIRS) and conducted by Target Insyght.

The opposition number mirrors findings of an April 2014 Target Insyght survey conducted for MIRS that found 55 percent opposed to dedicating a one percent increase in the state’s sales tax for a permanent road funding fix.

“Nothing has changed, we still have about 55 percent of voters that are leaning no on this ballot proposal,” said Ed SARPOLUS, of Target Insyght. “So after a year, the priority for voters of solving the road funding problem is not there.”

Sarpolus contends the door isn’t closed on the possible passage of Proposal 1 with five and a half weeks remaining, but the campaign may need to sound different messages through different messengers to achieve success on May 5.

“It comes down to who the messenger is and solving their credibility problem,” Sarpolus said. “It’s also not just about TV, it’s about grass roots. They have to get the coalition activated at the grass roots level. Right now the Governor is the only messenger. He’s like a quarterback that shows up for the game, but there’s no team. He needs a team around him to get the message out.”

The number of those opposed rises to 65 percent after poll participants were read the actual ballot language. Those supporting the proposal after the ballot language was heard dropped from 36 percent to 29 percent.

The survey of 700 registered voters was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday and included voters who indicated they’re likely to vote on the May 5 proposal. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.64 percent.

The first question the survey posed was “based on what you know, read, seen, discussed or heard about the statewide ballot proposal to provide additional money for roads and if the election were held today” how would you vote? In response, 36 percent say they’d vote yes, 55 percent no with nine percent undecided.

After being asked their initial reaction and then read the ballot language, participants were then provided a longer explanation of what the proposed constitutional amendment would do including restrictions on school aid fund usage, changes in sales tax application to fuel purchases and alterations to how the state taxes diesel fuel and gasoline.

Following the longer explanation, 28 percent said they supported the proposal, 63 percent said they were opposed with nine percent undecided.

The MIRS/Target Insyght survey also questioned voters whether they’d seen commercials supporting or opposing the May 5 road funding proposal.

A total of 72 percent said they’d seen television or heard radio ads supporting the proposal. Some 21 percent said they’d seen television or heard radio ads opposing the proposal. Interestingly, the cross tabs show that 51 percent of those that indicated they had not been exposed to any messages about the proposal — for or against — would vote yes.

Among independents, 66 percent are opposed to the plan. Democrats appear to be the most receptive, with 45 percent saying they plan to vote yes and 44 percent planning to vote no.

Women are more likely to support the plan (38 percent) than men (33 percent). On a regional basis, the Traverse City region appears to be the most inclined toward the plan. A total of 49 percent of Traverse City media market registered voters indicated they were a yes vote, while 43 percent were no when first asked about the plan.

On the first question, the Detroit and Flint media markets had 58 percent of voters opposed while the Lansing media market had 47 percent opposed and Grand Rapids had 53 percent opposed.

Question wording and results can be downloaded here.

Cross tabs can be downloaded here.

Could All Four Michigan Living Governors Sell Prop 1?
In reviewing the findings of this week’s survey for MIRS, Sarpolus argued that a new messenger or messengers might be needed to close the deal. His argument that Gov. Rick SNYDER will only go so far with voters and that a trusted Democrat, in particular, would be helpful in generating more support.

“In Southeast Michigan, you could have (Detroit Mayor) Mike DUGGAN or Macomb County Executive Mark HACKEL because they’re very credible in their communities. (Executive) Brooks PATTERSON in Oakland County.”

MIRS asked, could former Gov. James BLANCHARD be convincing?

“I think there are people in the UP that still love Governor Blanchard,” Sarpolus said. “He’s not as active as he used to be around the state.”

MIRS then asked, what about all four living Michigan governors coming out in support — would that move the needle?

“That would be great, that would be helpful,” he said. “Let me explain how important that is. If you look back to ’94 [Proposal A] there was a message, ‘We must do this.’ Having four governors, bipartisan from many decades, then you’re going to have a unified message that, ‘We have to do this.'”

Will Congressman Dan Benishek Break His Term Limits Pledge?


It’s the question political observers in the 1st Congressional District are asking. Will U.S. Rep. Dan BENISHEK (R-Crystal Falls) break his self-imposed pledge to serve only three terms in Congress and run for re-election in 2016?

Benishek can’t make the argument his words were taken out of context. First, there’s his own press release where he clearly states, “I am happy to tell voters I strongly favor term limits. Three terms and you’re retired seems about right to me.”

But second of all, term limits was “part of his stump speech,” remembers “Trucker Randy” BISHOP, who ran for the 37th Senate District seat in northern Michigan in 2010 at the same time Benishek was running for his first term in Congress.

“I was on stage with him at numerous events where this came up as an issue,” Bishop said. “And these weren’t gotcha questions or anything like that. He brought it up.”

Benishek hasn’t publicly tipped his hand one way or the other. His campaign team’s standard response has been that’s it’s focused on the current term as opposed to the future, a sign that the issue (at the very least) is not settled in his mind.

Early signs seem to point toward “Dr. Dan” running for a fourth term. The American Action Network (AAN), a self-proclaimed center-right organization is spending $30,000 on Traverse City broadcast buy to run an ad 175 times thanking Benishek for fighting for a “conservative agenda” in Congress.

MIRS has learned national Republicans would prefer a re-election bid considering 2016 is a presidential year and the prospects of a female Democratic nominee would make the swing 1st District significantly more competitive if it were open. Michigan Republican Party Chair Ronna RomneyMcDANIEL was asked today on Off the Record today whether Benishek should run for a fourth term, but she said it was a decision the member of Congress must make.

What little history Michigan has seen with self-imposed congressional term limits has not shown political repercussions.

Former U.S. Rep. Pete HOEKSTRA said initially he would only serve six terms, but broke that pledge, running and winning in 2004, 2006 and 2008 without a primary challenge (See “Hoekstra Will Seek Re-Election,” 12/19/02).

The only other recent self-imposed term limit pledge came from former U.S. Rep. Nick SMITH, who served only the six terms he pledged to serve from 1993-2004.

Northern Michigan political consultant Dennis LENNOX, however, said the blue-collar residents of the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula may not be as forgiving.

“This is a conservative, God-fearing, gun-loving, family-centered district,” Lennox said. “Even the Democrats, many of whom are Catholic, are socially conservative. This would be a very bad part of Michigan to break a term-limits pledge.”

Lennox said he supported Benishek in 2010 and didn’t offer a position on whether Benishek should run for a fourth term or not. However, he did predict that if he does, the question would not be if he has a primary, but how credible the primary is.

Sen. Tom CASPERSON (R-Escanaba) would likely run for the 1st if Benishek were not to run again, but it’s very unlikely he would challenge his personal friend in a primary.

It’s not clear about the other top-tier Republican rumored to be considering the seat — former state Sen. Jason ALLEN, who lost to Benishek by a mere 15 voters in 2010, although Up North political observers doubt he’d primary Benishek.

If neither of them run, several current House members would bring instant credibility to a run, such as Rep. Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering), term-limited Rep. Ed MCBROOM (R-Vulcan) and term-limited Rep. Pete PETTALIA (R-Presque Isle), being three of them.

Benishek is in the politically tricky position of not being particularly loved by either the district’s Tea Party leaders or the “establishment,” but is generally acceptable to both. His campaign staffer, JesseOSMER, was recently re-elected as the chair of the Republican Party’s 1st Congressional District amid a competitive race, which shows some political strength.

This is despite Benishek not being known for hitting a large number of Lincoln Day dinners or engaging in the chicken dinner circuit.

His tolerable center-right voting record likely won’t shake loose any high-dollar donors in either Michigan or Washington D.C. to fund a primary challenger, noted one observer.

The filing deadline is still more than a year away, as another observer noted, so Benishek’s perception in the district could significantly change for the better or the worse in the meantime.

Either way, expect the Democrats to make a play for Benishek. If the incumbent runs, expect the breaking of the term limit pledge to play a central theme in a campaign, MIRS is told.

“We think Dan Benishek is one of most vulnerable members in the country,” said Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Lon JOHNSON. “He’s gone to Washington and been part of the partisan gridlock that has done nothing for the people of his district. He said he’d serve three terms. We’ll see if he’s a man of his word or not.”

The Hill reported this week 2014 nominee Jerry CANNON, who lost 52 to 45 percent in a good Republican year, is taking a serious look at another run. Rep. Scott DIANDA (D-Calumet) is also a possibility, but it’s unlikely there would be a competitive primary, MIRS has learned.

Cannon’s military and law enforcement background had appeal with voters. Meanwhile, Dianda in 2014 had the most conservative record of any Democrat in the state Legislature since MIRS started tracking annual voting records in 2003.

Dianda’s 63 percent conservative ranking was higher than that of 24 Republicans and only two percentage points off the 65 percent posted by Casperson in the Senate.

ACRP Monthly Meeting; Monday, March 16th, 7:30 pm – 9 pm,…come join us!!!

Alden Parade SmallerCome join us this Monday night,….March 16th, 2015, 7:30 pm – 9 pm at the Forest Home Township Hall, 321 N. Bridge Street, Bellaire, MI;  (click on this link for driving directions from your location;

Post State Convention Report

Election of two (2) new ACRP Co-Vice Chairs,…Kim MacMaster and Jim Gurr have volunteered to serve as Co-Vice Chairs.

Discussion of upcoming Ballot Proposal on May 5th to raise the Sales Tax and new Percentage of Wholesale pricing of Gas and Diesel Fuel.  Come and bring a friend,…see you there!!!



  • Next Monthly Meeting; Monday, May 13th, 2024, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Location; Torch Lake Twp. Hall

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