MI Senate: Republican candidate competitive in Democratic-leaning state

Terri Lynn Land

Could a Republican win the open Senate seat in Michigan? Weeks ago, most political observers would have said this is unlikely, and some may still say that Republicans face an unlikely path to winning what is a Democratic-leaning state.

But new survey by Public Policy Polling shows that, at the very least, Republicans will be competitive. The likely Republican nominee, Terri Lynn Land, holds a small, 2-point lead (42/40) over her likely Democratic opponent, Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI).

In June, Public Policy Polling found that Peters had a 5-point lead, 41/36, over Land.

The reason for the swing is (surprise!) Obamacare. The poll found that 63% voters in the state don’t believe the implementation of the law has been successful. Just 6% describe implementation as “very successful” and 24% say it has been “somewhat successful.”

Overall, 48% of Michigan voters disapprove of Obamacare, while 34% approve of the controversial law, which has caused an estimated 225,000 policy cancellations in the state, as of the end of November.

Land, who served as Michigan Secretary of State from 2003 to 2011, is viewed favorably by 34% of voters, just 23% view her unfavorably. Just 22% have a favorable view of Peters, 21% have an unfavorable view of the Democratic candidate.

Michigan voters aren’t too thrilled with President Barack Obama, who won the state by 9 points last year. His job approval in among voters is underwater, at 47/51.

In the gubernatorial race, incumbent Gov. Rick Synder (R-MI) holds a slim lead, at 44/40, over his likely Democratic opponent, Mark Schauer.

Republicans need win a net-six seats to take control of the Senate when the next Congress begins in 2015. Right now, they’re set to pick up three states — Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia — and they’re competitive in four others — Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. With Michigan seemingly now on the board, though cautiously, Republicans could be stronger in 2014 than previously thought.

The poll comes on the heels of a high-profile economic speech by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in Detroit and increased efforts by Republicans to reach out to minority voters in the financially troubled city.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced his retirement in March. He is one of four Senate Democrats who opted not to run for re-election.

The poll of 1,034 Michigan voters was conducted from December 5-8. The margin of error is +/- 3%.

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