March 31, 2015
MIRS News Service – Lansing, MI

The third poll released on Proposal 1 in the last week shows essentially the same thing — the May 5 road funding ballot question is in bad shape.Today it was EPIC-MRA showing Proposal 1 losing 24 to 66 percent. When the exact ballot language was read to 600 voters between Saturday and Monday, support dropped even further — 21 to 69 percent.
2015 Ballot Proposal 15-1 May 5th“I don’t think the ads are connecting at all and I don’t know if there’s anything they can do to change that,” said Bernie PORN of EPIC-MRA. “They’re starting to change up some of the messaging. I got a robo-call the other day that talked about the economy, job creation and education in addition to the roads.”I think they’re trying to spread it out, but I don’t think the safety and danger approach is connecting with voter. And if it’s not believable, that’s a problem.”EPIC-MRA asked the question as part of their regular survey for clients, but no particular client purchased this question, Porn said.

Of those who said they were going to vote “yes,” 48 percent they were doing so because “road repair is needed.” Another 14 percent said “funding is needed.” Ten percent liked that more education funding was being raised and five percent said it was because it’s the “only plan available; no Plan B.”

For those who said they were going to vote no, 32 percent said they were against a tax increase, that taxes were already too high. Eighteen percent said there was too much in the proposal and 13 percent feared “wasteful government spending.” Another 9 percent said they didn’t trust Michigan government or Gov. Rick SNYDER.

Seven percent said the funding was not needed and that there were other ways to fund the roads. Five percent said they didn’t think the roads would get fixed.

As for the crosstabs, Porn said, there’s a little less opposition among Republicans, but he said he’s seeing 60 to 70 percent opposition across the board.

“There’s not a lot of optimism for people who are supportive to find in the crosstabs,” Porn said.

Despite the public polling, John WALSH, Snyder’s┬ádirector of strategy, said this morning at Michigan Association of Counties conference that the administration remains optimistic about Proposal 1 and thinks it’s going to pass.

“. . . (Y)ou never know. It will be close. It will be very, very close,” Walsh said. “Something about raising a $1 billion in taxes makes people nervous.”

Walsh said the proposal was important to both improving roads and economic development.

“If we can get it passed,” Walsh said, “I think we can look at a much brighter future for roads and perhaps our state.”

Paul MITCHELL, of the group Coalition Against Higher Taxes and Special Interest Deals, said that while he’d rather be on his side of the poll numbers than on the other side, he and his group are not going to stop what it’s doing to educate voters and listening to their frustrations.

He said he continues to hear from residents that they don’t like “all this other extra stuff” in the ballot proposal when it’s all supposed to go to roads.

“We’re going to continue to put time, energy and money into this,” Mitchell said. “We need to make sure Proposal 1 is defeated and we’re insisting the Legislature fix the roads in a responsible manner.”

However, Roger MARTIN, of Safe Roads Yes!, said polling ballot questions is “very difficult” to do accurately. He noted that Michigan history is “filled with ballot proposals” that polls predicted would perform one way, but the opposite occurred.

For example, Proposal 1 of August 2014 (the personal property tax repeal) was polling as low as the low 30 percent range, but passed with 69 percent support, Martin said. Proposal 5 of 2012 (the two-thirds supermajority proposal) was passing in the low 70s about five weeks out from Election Day, but failed with about 66 percent voting no.

Proposal 1 of 2004 (the additional public votes for new gaming ventures) was in the upper 30 percent range about a month out from Election Day. It passed with 55 percent of the vote.

“We have a full month to go,” Martin said. “The first phase of the campaign is about to end, and we will be shifting to phase two. Ultimately, what this will come down to is turnout. If the people and organizations who support Proposal 1 turnout and vote, we will win.”

On Thursday, MIRS and Target Insyght released a poll showing the initiative losing 36 to 55 percent on the question. Once the ballot language was read to them, support dropped to 28 to 63 (See “Prop 1 Opposition At 55% In New MIRS Poll,” 3/26/15).

The next day, John YOB‘s Strategic National released numbers showing Proposal 1 losing 28 to 61 percent (See “Prop 1’s Road Safety Message Having ‘No Impact’ With Half Of Voters,” 3/27/15).

The live poll has a margin of error of 4 percent. Twenty percent of those who participated in the survey were called on their cell phones.

Snyder’s favorable number is at 46 percent in this poll while his unfavorable is at 39 percent. On his job performance, 47 percent gave Snyder a positive rating. Another 49 percent gave him a negative rating. The MIRS team talks about the future of Proposal 1 in this week’s MIRS Monday podcast.

Progress Michigan Survey Shows Voters Feel They’re ‘Paying Their Fair Share’ 

A Proposal 1 survey Progress Michigan conducted through a Google Consumer Survey found only 23 percent support the initiative, while 43.7 percent of the 2,876 Michigan residents surveyed between Mar 16-19 said they would vote no. Another 33.3 percent were undecided.

However, Progress Michigan spotlighted that among those who said they were going to vote no, 39.4 percent said it was because the “middle class already paying their fair share in taxes.” Another 19.4 percent said corporations should pay more to fix the roads and 14.1 percent said they didn’t have enough information.”Unfortunately, in December the legislature opted to kick the can down the crumbling road rather than making the tough choices their constituents put them in office to make,” said Lonnie SCOTT, executive director of Progress Michigan. “We hope the Legislature understands their constituents expect a comprehensive solution that involves asking wealthy special interests to pay their fair share.”