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Michigan pollster predicts statewide proposals will fail

October 20, 2012
The Daily News


For The Daily News

MARQUETTE - Each of the six proposals to appear on Michigan ballots Nov. 6 will likely fail, according one Northern Michigan University alumnus and professional pollster.

That was one of many predications made Wednesday afternoon by Steve Mitchell, an Ishpeming native and chairman of Mitchell Research & Communications Inc., a Michigan-based national public relations, public affairs, market research, political consulting, political polling, fundraising and consulting firm.

Mitchell said, according to the latest polling, each ballot proposal's supporters number under 50 percent, and even when undecided voters are factored in, all the proposals are likely to fail.

"When in doubt, people vote 'no,'" Mitchell said, adding that it is also much easier to garner "no" votes than "yes" votes in elections of any kind.

"People will walk 10 miles in a blizzard to vote 'no.' They'll walk 10 miles in a blizzard to vote against somebody. They will not walk across the street on a nice sunny day to vote for someone or to vote 'yes' on something."

Mitchell spoke briefly on many races that area voters have a stake in, including the tight race for Michigan's 1st Congressional District - which pits incumbent Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, against challenger Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard.

The two ran against each other in 2010 when long-time representative Bart Stupak retired from Congress. Back then, Mitchell said, Benishek won handily with an 11-point margin.

This year, however, Mitchell said the latest polls show the race is shaping up to be much closer than last time, though he did say Benishek will likely edge out his opponent once again for several reasons.

Mitchell said when President Barack Obama ran in 2008, he won the state of Michigan by 16 points, but only won Michigan's 1st Congressional District by two points, which works in Benishek's favor. He also said that since 1966, no member of the U.S. House of Representatives has failed to gain re-election in this district.

"This congressional district has a history of re-electing whoever they elect the first time," Mitchell said. "And they keep hanging onto them until they want to finally retire from politics."

Though Mitchell declared winners in every local race he discussed Wednesday, there was one race he said he was totally unable to predict the outcome of - the race for president of the United States.

"This is one of the closest elections that we may ever see," Mitchell said. "(The close polling numbers are) indicative of the fact that we may well not know who the next president of the United States is going to be until Wednesday, Thursday or until some state like New Hampshire counts all of its absentee votes to determine who is going to be the next president. So, this is an exciting time for those of you who love politics."

In other races around the state, Mitchell predicted that:

- John Kivela, D-Marquette, will defeat Jack Hubbard, R-Grand Marais, for the 109th District seat in Michigan's House of Representatives.

- Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, will defeat incumbent state Rep. Matt Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine, for the seat in Michigan's 110th District.

- Incumbent Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, will defeat challenger Sharon Gray, D-Rapid River, in the race for Michigan's 108th District.

- In her bid for re-election, incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-East Lansing, will defeat challenger Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland.

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