Free MIRS' Minute Update For Monday, Feb. 24, 2014
Governor Rick Snyder
36% Committed To Re-electing Snyder
A survey of 600 Michigan voters show 36 percent of voters are "definitely committed" to voting to re-elect Gov. Rick SNYDER this November while 25 percent will "definitely vote to replace him" and 20 percent are "looking for someone else." 

Another 19 percent said in the automated survey conducted Feb. 18-20 by Target Insyght that they are uncertain about what they want to do. 

The MIRS-commissioned poll of 35.6 percent Republicans, 39.3 percent Democrats and 25.1 percent independents also found that 43.1 percent feel Snyder is the problem solver he claimed to be when he ran for election four years ago "completely" or "most of the time." 

Another 30.9 percent felt Snyder's problem-solver moniker was "sometimes accurate," 21.1 percent responded that the description was "almost never accurate." 

MIRS also found that 41.7 percent of voters feel like Snyder fits his "non-politician" claims "always" or "most of the time." Another 26.3 percent say Snyder "sometimes" fits the description and 21.9 percent said he never does. 

The numbers tell pollster Ed SARPOLUS of Target Insyght that the incumbent's support is "soft" in that 73 percent of Republicans are "definitely committed" to him and that without unified Republican support he can't depend on the independents to carry him through. 

In the head-to-head question, Snyder leads Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark SCHAUER 46.8 to 38 percent, which Sarpolus found striking since the incumbent still isn't cresting over 50 percent in any poll. Last week's EPIC-MRA poll had Snyder up 47 to 39 percent (See "Snyder, Land Still Up; $10 Minimum Wage At 60%," 2/13/14). 

"With the right candidate, Snyder is beatable," Sarpolus said. "You take out partisanship, he can't depend on the independents to carry him through." 

Schauer spokesperson Zack POHL said considering how the middle class and seniors have "taken it on the chin" from Snyder it's no surprise that only 36 percent are definitely supporting him on Election Day. 

"After spending more than $1.25 million on TV, he still can't get above 50 percent in any poll," Pohl said. "If the Governor thinks that makes him the 'comeback kid,' he's in for a rude awakening on Election Day." 

The good news for Snyder is that 51 percent of independents give him a positive job rating along with 82 percent of Republicans, Sarpolus said. His overall job rating of 49 percent is essentially identical to the number of voters voting for him over Mark Schauer. 

Snyder can also see good news that his favorable number is at 53.4 percent (43.1 percent unfavorable) while Schauer's unfavorable number is at 28.4 percent (36.6 percent) despite having no negative TV thrown at him. 

The poll comes after the Democratic Governors Association has run $1.5 million in TV advertising against Snyder. 

"Since Gov. Snyder took office, more than 220,000 private sector jobs have been created, education funding has gone up every year and the state's $1.5 billion deficit is gone," said Snyder campaign manager Kyle ROBERTSON. "Michigan is coming back and we look forward to sharing this message in the coming months." 

Snyder still leads among independents (47%-15%), white voters (52%-36%), males (49%-37%), women (45%-39%) and all age groups, but one. 

Schauer leads Snyder among 50-to 60-year-olds 54 to 40 percent. Among this age group, 37 percent said they want to replace Snyder and 54 percent gave him a negative job rating. This is the age group most directly impacted by his push to make pension income subject to the state's income tax. 

Sarpolus said Schauer must build more name recognition and improve his favorable ratings. Even after the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) ads, "35 percent still don't have a clue about Mark Schauer" and only 37 percent give him a favorable rating when asked how they feel about him," he said. 

On the questions of whether Snyder is a non-politician or a problem solver, the Governor was unable to crack 50 percent with those who think he meets those descriptions most or all of time. The lone exception is Republicans, 25 percent of whom said Snyder was a problem solver all of the time and 48 percent said "most of the time" for a combined 73 percent. 

Snyder Up Big In 1st, 7th Districts
Snyder may not be cresting over 50 percent statewide, but in the competitive 1st and 7th Congressional district, the Governor is leading Schauer 53 to 28 percent with his re-elect number being at 44 percent, eight points higher than his statewide average of 36 percent. 

In the combined Democratic congressional districts (5th, 9th, 12th, 13th and 14th), Schauer leads Snyder 45 to 39 percent. In the strong Republican Congressional Districts (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th and 11th), Snyder is up 50 to 37 percent. 

Legislature Getting 26% Support 
Twenty-six percent of voters indicated they feel the legislature is doing a good job with 51 percent of Republicans feeling positive about the job the body was doing. 

The Governor has nearly double the positive job rating compared to the Legislature with his 49 percent positive rating.
House Speaker Jase Bolger
House Speaker Jase Bolger
Patterson: Bolger Is 'Shilling' For Insurance Companies

House Speaker Jase BOLGER (R-Marshall) may have a new plan for auto insurance reform, but Oakland County Executive L. Brooks PATTERSON, a key voice in the debate, hasn't budged an inch in his opposition.

And he also hasn't toned down his criticism. 

In an interview Friday -- a day after Bolger unveiled the new plan meant to resolve concerns voiced against a previous reform bill -- Patterson alleged that the Speaker is "shilling" for the auto insurance industry and ignoring the voice of the people (See "Bolger Unveils Auto Insurance Plan With $10M Cap, Premium Drop," 2/20/14). 

"I'm sure Bolger will never admit it, but he's doing the bidding of the insurance industry," Patterson argued. "If the insurance industry wants it, I think almost as a reflex I don't want it." 

Patterson, who survived a devastating car accident in 2012, has been a lead voice in opposition to efforts to change the state's auto no-fault system, which provides lifetime coverage for medical expenses for those catastrophically injured in accidents. 

While Patterson notes that he doesn't receive any funds through the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), he says the proposed changes to the system will "harm some of the most vulnerable people in our society. 

"I think all of us agree the existing legislation, the existing law can be tweaked," Patterson added. "None of us want to do it with a gun to our head." 

In response to Patterson's comments Friday, Ari ADLER, Bolger's spokesperson, said the Speaker's proposal is based on feedback received after the old reform bill,  HB 4612, was introduced. The feedback, Adler said, came from committee hearings and outreach to many, including the public, healthcare providers, insurance companies, and Republican and Democratic legislators. 

"Neither the healthcare providers nor the insurance companies are apparently thrilled with this solution," Adler said. "If the special interests are feeling threatened, the general public should probably feel good about our plan." 

Adler continued, "It seems that having a serious policy discussion with Brooks Patterson is as likely as him receiving the key to the city of Detroit." 

Many Republican House members from Oakland County came out in opposition to the old reform bill,  HB 4612. And some lawmakers have said privately that gaining Patterson's support for a reform effort would be the key to finally getting something done on no fault. 

Asked what he would support to change the current system, Patterson said he wants transparency from the MCCA. Under Michigan's no-fault setup, the MCCA is the nonprofit that reimburses auto insurance companies for medical claims and charges an assessment to companies to cover all the claims. 

"You've got to do away with secrecy," Patterson said. 

Patterson said he would also support a strong fraud provision and changing the composition the MCCA's board. 

Bolger's new plan does include creating a fraud authority and a new MCCA board. It also includes a required 10 percent premium reduction for a minimum of two years. 

Patterson called that reduction a "carrot," and he said rates would go back after the requirement is lifted. 

He added that he's sure the insurance companies will recoup any money they lose. Patterson also emphasize that ballot proposals to change the auto insurance system failed in 1992 and 1994. 

Going forward, Patterson said he would like to see the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault and the Brain Injury Association be brought in to help draft a new reform proposal. 

Patterson said his advice to lawmakers is to "hang tough and stand firm." 
Those Who Influence, Know -- MIRS Readers Know!

You could read a newspaper.  Maybe a political blog too. You might learn something -- but probably not what you need to move the needle on the public policy process. 

People who successfully influence public policy in the State of Michigan begin by subscribing to -- the public policy and political news service overwhelmingly voted "best capitol coverage" eight years running by elected, and appointed officials and the state's lobbying community.  

Are you preparing to work on an issue in Lansing?  Need to find out the arguments for or against a proposal or candidate?  You need access to the wealth of data that comes with a subscription.  
With MIRS you can key word search:- MIRS Capitol Capsule articles going back to 1997- Press releases from around the state going back to 2010- Lead public affairs stories form over 50 newspapers (headlines and lead graphs) going back to 2010- All legislative bills- All legislative bill analysesIf research is your field, you need 

Complete your public policy tool kit, click here to sign up for a FREE three week trial account to!   

Like the Minute but not getting it via e-mail? Sign up by 

To Learn More About Subscribing To MIRS -- Call John Reurink at

Our work and our people are regularly covered in publications around the world.


 Follow us on Twitter