The Michigan Senate race is the six article in what will be a succession of articles containing expanded analysis relating to the PPD 2014 Senate Map. As is the case with Iowa, the state of Michigan was chosen for purposes of relevance and timing, as it represents the clear rightward shift we now see on the 2014 Senate Map, which is more favorable to the Republican Party than the national political landscape.
Unsurprisingly, because that’s what Democrats do, Michigan Democrats have quickly settled on an establishment candidate, Rep. Gary Peters. From the beginning, Peters was the Democratic establishment’s candidate of choice, and the lack of a competitive primary has allowed him to build up a formidable war chest.
Rep. Peters was supposed to win the Michigan Senate race and succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin fairly easily, but as a recent MLive.com article begrudgingly observed, “Peters could end up on the losing end of a big upset in Michigan politics.”
Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land was the first big Republican name to enter the contest, and is proving to be a nightmare for Peters.
Unfortunately for the GOP, Rep. Mike Rogers opted out of the race, as I thought him to be more than a formidable challenge. Rep. Justin Amash and others had been weighing the race, but when Land decided to run for the open seat, she discouraged competition with her ability and willingness to self-fund with her own money. Land has also hired political consultant John Yob, who is a sharp political mind with a line tapped in to the conservative grass roots.
So, why could the Michigan Senate race end in “a big upset” in November, and rated a “Toss-Up” on the PPD 2014 Senate Map?
Gary Peters, who is a former banking executive with a notoriously dull personality, said this: “If you’re covered and you like your insurance, you can keep it.” Except, of the 6 million Americans who saw their health insurance plans cancelled due to the Essential Health Benefit Standards mandated by ObamaCare, at least 225,000 of them were Michiganders. As of November 30, just 6,847 Michigan residents have selected a plan, though those numbers include those who may or have may not yet paid their first premium.
Gray Peters is behind in the PPD average of Michigan Senate race polling against Land and 48 percent of Michiganders disapprove of ObamaCare, while just 34 percent approve, according to a December PPP survey. A survey conducted by LE&A/Denno Research in mid-November found a statistical tie, with Peters ahead by just 1 point. Their latest poll finds Peters ahead 40 to 37 percent, but they are the only polling firm who have found Peters leading in 2014.
Even if we go back to 2013, we still find just one Inside Michigan poll showing Peters ahead of Land by 5 points in October, and a September EPIC-MRA survey that again showed a 1-point margin for Peters.
Aside from the temporary damage done by the partial government shutdown, there seems to be a legitimate rightward shift following the Detroit bankruptcy, as polling before the ObamaCare rollout still showed a very, very close race.
The latest Harper Polling survey found Land beginning to break away, but more recent surveys are again showing a bit of a tighter race. In the state’s political landscape, she is well-positioned to pull off an upset.
Cook PVI was D+4 in 2010 when the Republican Party saw massive gains in the state and Rick Snyder drew considerable support from Democrats and independents, giving him an overwhelming margin of victory. In 2014, the Cook PVI for Michigan is again D+4, which puts the state above the average statistical 83 percent chance of victory threshold in the PPD model.
In fact, Gov. Snyder is also holding a lead in his reelection bid, which has Democrats quite concerned, leading them to contemplate whether or not they should write-off the gubernatorial race in hopes that Michiganders will split their tickets.
Except for ex-Republican Sen. Spencer Abraham serving one term in office following a win in the 1994 Republican Revolution, Republican Senate candidates haven’t performed very well in Michigan over the past 30 years, which should’ve have made even a lackluster candidate like Peters the favorite.
This will be one of the closest watched races for PPD. Democrats did begin the general election with a slight advantage before the failed rollout of ObamaCare and the Detroit bankruptcy, because Republicans have only won 1 of the past 12 Senate races in Michigan, and that was in 1994.
But 1994 was also the last time the Michigan Senate race was for an open seat, and the national political environment is far more favorable to the Republican Party following the recent developments. With the failed rollout of ObamaCare and Gov. Snyder truly polling strong, which was the case before the ObamaCare revelations immediately following the bankruptcy, a strong Republican candidate like Land could have a real shot at making modern history.
View Polling Below Or Return To PPD 2014 Senate Map
|Poll||Date||Sample||Land (R)||Peters (D)||Spread|
|PPD Average||2/5 – 4/9||—||40.5||38.5||Land +2.5|
|Mitchell Research||4/9 – 4/9||1460 LV||44||38||Land +6|
|PPP (D)||4/3 – 4/6||825 RV||36||41||Peters +5|
|MRG (R)||3/24 – 3/28||600 LV||40||38||Land +2|
|LE&A/Denno Research (D)||3/9 – 3/10||600 LV||37||40||Peters +3|
|EPIC-MRA||2/5 – 2/11||600 LV||41||38||Land +3|
|Rasmussen Reports||1/14 – 1/15||500 LV||37||35||Land +2|
|Harper (R)||1/7 – 1/8||1004 LV||44||36||Land +8|
|PPP (D)||12/5 – 12/8||1034 RV||42||40||Land +2|
|LE&A/Denno Research (D)||11/12 – 11/14||600 LV||36||37||Peters +1|
|Inside Michigan Politics||10/29 – 10/29||794 LV||38||43||Peters +5|
|EPIC-MRA||9/7 – 9/10||600 LV||37||38||Peters +1|
|LE&A/Denno Research (D)||7/23 – 7/24||600 LV||39||39||Tie|
|PPP (D)||5/30 – 6/2||697 RV||36||41||Peters +5|
|Mitchell Research||3/19 – 3/21||571 LV||32||33||Peters +1|
|Harper (R)||3/9 – 3/10||1744 LV||29||21||Land +8|
(Note: PPD Averages are calculated using a weighted model that rates pollsters on performance, as well as includes only the most recent polling in order to identify up-to-date swings missed by aggregations that include stale surveys. Polling table will be updated, as well as commentary.)