Keeping Up With The Candidates, Sept. 10

When we last checked in on our heroes, Virg Bernero and Rick Snyder had both pulled off come-from-behind victories over more established candidates to win their respective parties’ nominations for governor.

By the results alone, it seemed that Bernero would have to pull off the same feat to actually win in November, but he had three long months of campaigning to get over the hill.

One month later, and the hill is looking more and more like a mountain. [The Detroit News].

Lansing — Republican Rick Snyder has maintained the lead he built after the August primaries with a 20.3 percentage point cushion over Democratic opponent Virg Bernero and a shrinking pool of undecided voters.

Snyder is ahead of the Lansing mayor 56.2 percent to 35.9 percent among likely November general election voters, according to a Detroit News/Local 4 WDIV poll released Thursday.

The Ann Arbor businessman’s margin is roughly the same as he had in a Detroit News/Local 4 WDIV poll taken just days after the primary. Voters seem to be making up their minds early as the number of undecideds has fallen from 17.8 percent in August to 7.5 percent today.

"I think (Bernero) is in increasingly bad shape — I was shocked to find only 7.5 percent undecided," said Richard Czuba, president of Glengariff Group Inc., which conducted telephone interviews of 600 people statewide Tuesday and Wednesday. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Where the primaries were loaded with people who were either undecided, or being asked about the wrong side of where they were voting (as close to a week before the primary, as many as 35 percent were undecided), the ‘undecideds’ are decidedly decided now, and they seem to like Snyder.

Perhaps more disturbing for Bernero and his supporters as that, even at this stage, many people still don’t even know who he is. And I don’t mean that in a figurative sense in that they don’t know his stance on taxes.

According to the poll, 23.7 percent of people don’t know who he is. That’s higher than the percentage of people who said they have a favorable opinion of him (22.5 percent).

Bill Ballenger suggested to the News that Bernero is going to have to get his hands dirty.

"There’s still two months to go, and the Democrats just launched their big attack ads against Snyder this week," Ballenger said of a TV advertisement launched Thursday by the Michigan Democratic Party that focuses on charges of outsourcing by Snyder during his time at Gateway computers.

"The important thing is they’ve got to tear Snyder down," Ballenger said. "Nobody laid a glove on Snyder in the primary — they didn’t really go after him on outsourcing, and if they did, it was very light.

"Everybody’s waiting to see if this is a replay of 2006 where (Gov. Jennifer) Granholm just tore into (Republican gubernatorial nominee Dick) DeVos over outsourcing jobs, and it worked."

According to another News article, this has already begun.

Michigan Democrats aired a 30-second ad accusing Snyder of mismanagement, sending jobs overseas and profiting from stock options before the company’s shares tanked.

Michigan Democratic Party chairman Mark Brewer said the ad is intended to show voters the truth about Snyder’s record.

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