Michigan Archive:

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Tuesday Primary Review

Posted by RBH

Clearly we know about the biggest news of the night. Despite all the advantages of incumbency, Joe Lieberman was unable to win the primary tonight. Lawmakers who had either supported Lieberman or had stayed neutral are also turning their support to Ned Lamont. Including Evan Bayh and Hillary, and more people will likely speak up soon.

When it comes to the effects of a Lieberman candidacy in November. I still think that people overrate his chances in November. Money just doesn't come out of nowhere. And Lieberman will need money in order to help himself out in November. While Ned Lamont would need some help to get himself on solid ground, he'll also get a lot of things which he did not have for today.

Joe Lieberman's main source of new money will likely come from people who are donors to Republican candidates. The Republicans will be the ones supporting Lieberman, and money that could have went to Shays, Johnson, or Simmons, will be going to Lieberman. That's only a subtle favor, not any sort of big victory for the Democratic candidates running in those districts.

But I'd rather armwrestle Hulk Hogan than get into a money war with the Republicans. There's legitimate reason for concern when it comes to the Democratic challengers in all the purple districts.

I would certainly hope that Joe Lieberman rethinks his plan to run as an Independent, but I'm not expecting a change in his plans for September and October. I would also hope that those people who gave money to Joe Lieberman and who disapprove of his independent candidacy would ask for a refund or return of their contribution.

As for the other races, here are the highlights:

Colorado: Jeff Crank and Doug Lamborn are the frontrunners in CO-05. The winner faces Jay Fawcett. Ed Perlmutter defeats Peggy Lamm in CO-07.

Georgia: Hank Johnson defeats Cynthia McKinney in GA-04. Expect Cynthia to release the official list of people "to blame for Johnson winning" soon, odds are that "Republicans" will top that list. Ha Ha.

Michigan: Joe Schwarz loses to Tim Walberg. Mike Bouchard looks like the winner in the Republican Senate primary. Knollenberg wins 69-31.

Missouri: Lots of Democrats voted, Lots of Republicans voted, but there weren't a lot of close federal races. Over 80% of precincts are in. Akin rolls over Parker (87-13). No word on who'll face Akin, but the frontrunners are Charles Karam and George Weber. Alan Conner, who spent $246K to try and win the MO-04 nomination, lost by 22 points to Jim Noland, who hasn't filed with the FEC, and who has lost three straight elections to Ike Skelton. Noland's wife suing Conner was probably not helpful to Conner's campaign. This should tell you that there's some things that money can't buy. Sara Jo Shettles and Duane Burghard were both uncontested in their primaries to face Sam Graves and Kenny Hulshof. They also outpolled their opponents. Although in the case of MO-09, that's not exactly a feat of strength, but it's a pretty good sign. And yes, I just gave the longest writeup to my own state. I have the keyboard here, after all.

Any night where three incumbents go down is a night of pretty big activity. It should be a sign that being an incumbent in November is not going to be a pleasant thing.

That's my analysis of the night's events. I'm sure that one of the regulars (who isn't on vacation) will have something to say as well.

Posted at 01:43 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, August 07, 2006

CO, CT, GA, MI, MO: Tuesday Primary Election Preview

Posted by RBH

Here's the rundown of the elections which will likely produce news tomorrow.

Starting off first in Colorado where the biggest races are the Republican Primary in the 5th District and the Democratic Primary in the 7th District.

In the 5th district race, the winning Republican will likely face Jay Fawcett (who is the frontrunner in his primary). From a short combing though Google News, we find that Doug Lamborn has the Club for Growth supporters with him, Hefley supporters are apparently supporting Crank. Basically the entire primary could end with the winner recieving a very low percentage of the vote, under 40%, maybe under 35%. But right now, the winner is anybody's guess. I should note that Anderson (who is running as pro-choice, which means "pro-choice compared to other Republicans), Bremer (Paul Bremer's brother), and Rayburn (retired Air Force General) are all wildcards and they could get a surprising number of votes.

In the 7th district, the favorite to face Rick O'Donnell appears to be Ed Perlmutter. Ed has had a pretty solid lead in SurveyUSA polls over Peggy Lamm. But then again in an election like this, surprises will occur.

Moving on to Connecticut.

The big race is between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont. It appears to be a pretty big deal. Basically the results could go either way, although Lamont is going into the election with a 6 point lead in the latest Quinnipac poll. I'm pretty sure that this race will be the top attraction, and also the one race which does not require a long explanation.

In Georgia, the big election is between Cynthia McKinney and Hank Johnson in the 4th district. McKinney had a plurality last time, but for this election, it could go either way.

In Michigan, the biggest race will be in MI-07 between Congressman Joe Schwarz and Tim Walberg. Schwarz is under fire from the right in this campaign and could be on the way out of Congress. The likely Democratic nominee is Sharon Renier. In other races, I'm expecting Keith Mike Bouchard to win the Republican Senate primary and I wouldn't be stunned if Patricia Godchaux got around 1/3rd of the vote in her primary against Congressman Joe Knollenberg.

In Missouri, no major races will occur in the primaries. The closest primary race will probably be in MO-02 between Akin and Sherman Parker, and that's probably not due to be close at all. Claire McCaskill and Jim Talent are expected to cruise over their unknown opponents.

So, on this election day, there's one more question: What Races Are You Interested In?

Posted at 11:48 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Colorado, Connecticut, Democrats, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Netroots, Republicans | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

MI-Gov: Granholm Cruising

Posted by DavidNYC

A new poll from Michigan-based EPIC/MRA on the gubernatorial race there between Dem incumbent Jennifer Granholm and Republican businessman Dick DeVos ("active" voters, Oct. in parens):

Granholm: 58 (53)
DeVos: 35 (30)
Undecided: 7 (17)
(MoE: ±4%)

The usual caveat applies to these early polls: Granholm's challenger is largely unknown. DeVos hasn't been able to gain any traction - his d/ks are in the low 60s and have remained unchanged since early July. That will probably eventually change, and the race will tighten. Fortunately for Granholm, she remains popular - 64-29 favorability rating and good job approval numbers as well. (The poll breaks those down into five categories, so they can't be neatly summarized, but they decidedly tilt in Granholm's favor.)

One thing which mystifies me is this "right direction/wrong track" stuff. What I mean to say is that I never know what to make of it, in any poll. Is it an important question? Does it signify anything? I'm at a loss, especially because of the numbers here. Only 23% of respondents said they felt the state was on the "right direction" while 61% said "wrong track." How come, then, majorities support the incumbent governor as to all the other questions? Any thoughts?

Posted at 12:14 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Michigan | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, October 06, 2005

MI-09: A Challenger for Knollenberg

Posted by DavidNYC

I clicked on over to Our Congress just now and saw a posting from a Dem challenger, Rhonda Ross, in Michigan's 9th CD. I have to admit, I have never even heard of Joe Knollenberg (the GOP incumbent), but one thing in the diary popped out at me:

Votes In MI-09:

Kerry - 178,141
Bush - 184,858

That's pretty seriously close. Yeah, I know, jerks like Chris Shays can survive for years (but hopefully not much longer) even in districts which vote for Dems for president. So the presidential vote is not necessarily the ultimately predictor of the lay of the land.

Which is why I flipped over to Superribbie's comprehensive list of House races to target to get a better feel for things. Turns out, MI-09 was fairly high on the list, at 34. Obviously, Superribbie's methodology is not perfect (no one's ever is), but until someone comes up with something demonstrably better, that's what I'm going to go by for now. And it looks to me like Knollenberg is at least somewhat vulnerable.

So I'm glad to see we've got a challenger for this race. Obviously, this isn't an endorsement of Ross, and it's very possible that others are already in the running against Knollenberg, or are at least considering it. But it's good that at least one challenger (that I am presently aware of) is getting the jump on Knollenberg. If you want to make them sweat, you've got to start early, and Ross is definitely doing that by getting in the game more than a year in advance.

But at the very least, I can urge you to go take a look at her post on Our Congress and check out her website. While the latter could use a bit of work, I do like the fact that she has a link on the left side labeled simply, "I OBJECT." Reminds me a bit of of Emil Zola's everlasting "J'ACCUSE." There's a whole hell of a lot to object to these days, that's for sure.

UPDATE: This is why I love the comment boards. Apparently, there are two other candidates in MI-09. So it's only fair that I suggest you check them out, too: Steve Reifman, whose website is here, and John Ashcraft, whose website will apparently be here.

Posted at 01:59 AM in Michigan | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, July 11, 2005

MI-Gov: Ted Nugent Running for Governor

Posted by Bob Brigham

Even though he lives in Crawford, Texas, Ted Nugent is looking to run for Governor of Michigan. Via Political Wire, we have his platform:

``To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release. I want 'em dead. Get a gun and when they attack you, shoot 'em.''

It looks like he's running on the Nancy Grace platform.

Posted at 11:40 AM in 2006 Elections - State, Michigan | Technorati

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Fowler Done: Chairman Brewer Next?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

From the Detroit Free Press:

People who said they were familiar with the situation told the Free Press that national party activist Donnie Fowler and Michigan campaign officials notified national party leaders they needed an extra $2.5 million on the last weekend before the Nov. 2 vote.

They said they would have to curtail the state campaign if the money wasn't forthcoming, used lax accounting practices and were so disorganized that several campaign vans turned up missing, said the Democrats, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Fowler and Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer vigorously disputed those charges Monday, which they said were part of an effort by party rivals to undermine Fowler's DNC candidacy.

That should serve as the death blow to a Fowler DNC candidacy that was, if you listen to him, picking up steam. But will the fallout end there?

ASDC Chairman Brewer, who personally kicked Jerome and Matt Stoller out of the ASDC sponsored candidate Q&A, is running for Chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party. He has already has the endorsement of Governor Granholm. The election takes place February 19th at the state party convention.

Governor Granholm's Opinion Form

Posted at 01:16 PM in DNC Chair, Michigan | Technorati

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Michigan State Democratic Party - An Interview

Posted by Tim Tagaris

The communications director for the Michigan State Democratic Party answered my questions this morning.  You can find the exchange in the extended text portion of this post.  I will not provide commentary on the exchange, but would love your feedback. 

There is also an opportunity for follow up with the Chairman of the state party, Mark Brewer.  Chairman Brewer is the man who tossed Jerome Armstrong and Matt Stoller from the closed session Q&A with DNC candidates in Orlando last weekend.  So, what questions would you like to see asked?

Finally, following up on Bob Brigham's revelation that 3/4 of state party websites do not have blogs, I emailed each one of them last night offering assistance in getting off the ground.  I have already received some interesting and encouraging emails.  Check back later for the email and responses.  There will be some changes.

My Q&A with Jason Moon, communications director for the Michigan State Democratic Party can be found in the extended entry.

The questions (in italics) were submitted via email.  The interview took place with the backdrop of Jerome & Matt's expulsion from the closed Q&A.

1.) Is the displeasure in the blogging community understandable?

It is unfortunate that those bloggers who were asked to leave feel offended.  They were credentialed as press and therefore treated as press.  We apologize for any confusion.

The Chairman and the ADSC are seeking substantial reform and change at the DNC, focusing it on building the grassroots structure of the Party in every part of every state rather than continuing as a D.C.-based, paid consultant-driven organization.  We would appreciate the blogging community's support of those shared goals.

The Chairman would be willing to be interviewed by bloggers and talk further about these needed reforms.

2.) Was the Chairman aware of the contributions (financial, community organizing/activism & otherwise) Matt Stoller and Jerome made to the Democratic Party for the last two years?  If he was, would that have made a difference?

He is aware of the contributions of the blogging community generally, but not the specific contributions of Matt and Jerome.  We appreciate their help and look forward to working with them in the future.

3.) Jerome and Matt say that they made it clear they were invited guests of Governor Dean and Simon Rosenberg, was the Chairman aware of that?  If he wasn't, would it have made a difference?

He was not aware of their invitations and because they checked in as press they were treated as press.

4.) They also said they had promised not to write anything about the Q&A.  In light of their activism and obvious partisanship, was that considered when the decision was made to toss them from the Q&A?

No, this meeting was a closed to the press between the ADSC and leaders within the Democratic Party.  There was never an option for any "off the record" coverage for people credentialed as press.

5.) Matt Stoller claimed the Chairman seemed to "relish" kicking the bloggers out of the room.  Is that an appropriate choice of words?

No, he simply stated that all credentialed press, including bloggers, would have to leave the Q&A portion of the Candidate Forum.

6.) What about the fact that anyone could have walked in from off the street into the Q&A and then written or blogged about the event?  Did you just take everyone at their word?

This was a meeting between the ADSC and leaders within the Democratic Party which required all in attendance to be credentialed with the ADSC.  No one could have walked in from the street.

7.) How is feedback registered and taken into account?  Who reads the feedback and is it ever acted upon?  Examples?

Feedback is registered at are website and taken into account by the Chairman.

8.) How do you feel the blogs contributed to the Democratic effort in 2004, and what is their role in the future?

Blogs were an important part of the revitalization of the grass/netroots efforts in the Democratic Party.  In the future blogs will become even more important source for news and opinion.

9.) Is there anything you want to add?

We understand the importance of Bloggers and the Internet.  This year the Michigan Democratic Party offered Internet voting for its Presidential Caucus and we understand the importance of the web as a fundraising, messaging, and organizing tool.  We apologize if we angered any of the bloggers who were present in Orlando, but we treated them as if they were with the press because they have the same influence anyone else in the media.

Posted at 02:22 PM in Michigan | Comments (10) | Technorati

Monday, December 13, 2004

"I'll have to look into that"

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I figured if bloggers were kicked out of the Association of Democratic State Chair's (ADSC) Q&A for being "press," I might as well act like a journalist.  So, this morning I picked up the phone determined to talk to someone at the Michigan Democratic Party, where the head of the ADSC, Mark Brewer, sets up shop.

I placed the first call at 8:45 A.M. and the Communications Director, Jason Moon, was not in yet.  I left a message explaining my past role on the Jeff Seemann campaign, that I am currently a blogger on SSP, and wanted to ask him a few questions about Orlando for a piece I was going to write today.  When I didn't get a call back for three hours, I tried again.  This time, he answered.

He indicated that he hadn't heard my message yet.  I explained who I was and what I was doing and just jumped right into it.  I asked if he was aware that there is something of a mild uproar in the netroots about the bloggers getting kicked out of the candidate Q&A?  Jason responded with one word, "yes."

I had every intent of making this a peaceful exchange, so I started out easy.  I asked about the mechansim the state party uses to collect and register feedback on-line.  He responded that there was a link on the website.

At this point, I suspected that he wasn't too interested in taking the time to talk with me.  I decided to jump right into it while I had him on the phone.

Me: Did the Chairman know that the bloggers were the invited guests of Governor Dean and Simon Rosenberg?

Jason: I'll have to look into that

Me: They said they had promised not to write anything about the Q&A, did that make any difference?

Jason: I'll have to look into that

Me: What about the fact that it was an open meeting, that anyone off the street could have attended and then returned home to blog about -- and in fact, did blog about?

Jason:  They did?  Where?

Me: I would have to find an exact link. (Point of fact: A Kos diarist blogged about attending the open and closed session)

Me: Was the Chairman aware of the contributions Jerome and Matt have made to the party in terms of community organizing and netroots fundraising?

Jason: I'll have to look into that.

Me: Why were the bloggers kicked out.

Jason: The meeting was closed to credentialed press, and they had press credentials.

I wasn't getting anywhere with Jason this morning.  I asked him to "look into that" and I could give him a call later.  He immediately asked me to send him the link of where someone blogged about the "closed" Q&A.  I took his email address and was on my way.

So, I emailed Jason.  I said that I would have to pore over my links to find the information he sought.  I included in the email a list of 10 questions that I had about the event.  Some difficult, some decidedly simple.  As a former press guy, I know that emailing in questions makes it easier -- so I decided to give him a break.  I also offered my assistance in helping them set up a blog, to register immediate feedback and allow them to communicate directly and organize activists in Michigan.

I also emailed that we were all on the same team here, want what is best for the Democratic party, and this would be a good opportunity to smooth things over.  So far, it is an opportunity he has failed to respond to.  No email -- no phone call.  I have since followed up with another call, but only got through to voice mail.  I will try again tomorrow, but I am not holding out much hope.  It's unfortunate.

I don't blame Chairman Brewer for not knowing who Matt & Jerome are.  I also believe that most people would understand if throwing them out was a simple misunderstanding that given more time to sort things out and gain understanding would have played out differently.  I really just wanted to give them a vehicle to get their story out in the medium that is most displeased with the events that took place.  No hatchet job, that is the last thing on my mind.  Just an "open Q&A." 

I don't know what overtures, if any, they have made toward Jerome, Matt, and the blogosphere as a whole.  What I do know is that not reaching out or offering an explanation of some kind about the "mild furor" would be real evidence that they still don't get it.  I hope I am wrong.

Posted at 07:45 PM in Michigan | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Two More Gallup Polls (MI & WI)

Posted by DavidNYC

Gallup hits two midwestern states. First up, Michigan (registered voters, no trendlines):

Kerry: 50
Bush: 43
Other/Undecided: 7
(MoE: ��4%)

Nader gets a point here, in case you were curious. Gallup's notoriously right-leaning likely voter model doesn't help Bush much here - with LVs, it's 50-44. The jerky boys at CNN think that a six-point gap with a four-point MoE means the race is "too close to call." Time for some basic math lessons (though virtually all the media is guilty of this flawed reasoning).

And here's a bit of welcome turn of events: RVs oppose Michigan's gay marriage-banning amendment by a margin of 51-44. I have no idea if either side has done any advertising on this issue, so this figure may jump around a bit by Nov. 2nd.

It's a good news-bad news set of polls, so now I'm gonna give you the bad news, in the form of Wisconsin (registered voters, late August in parens):

Kerry: 45 (49)
Bush: 50 (46)
Other/Undecided: 5 (5)
(MoE: ��4%)

I never base my beliefs about where a state will head on a single poll - but an eight-point swing kinda sucks. As we get further and further from the RNC, I'm less inclined to believe in any kind of bounce, especially since national polling hasn't shown much of one. The conventional wisdom says that WI and IA are our two most vulnerable blue states, and this poll certainly doesn't seem to disprove that.

So what happens if we lose WI? Well, assuming nothing else changes, Florida would rescue us, and Ohio would also, just barely - we'd get 270 EVs on the nose that way. If we lose both WI & IA and win FL... then we're again back to 270. This analysis excludes NH, which most observers believe will turn blue this year. An unlikely but possible way to win without WI & IA would be to take NH, NV and OH, for a landslide win with a whopping 272 EVs. I'll take it.

Posted at 12:12 AM in Michigan, Wisconsin | Comments (20) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Rasmussen Polls for MI & MO

Posted by DavidNYC

More polls from Rasmussen that were taken before, during & after the GOP convention. The first is for Michigan (likely voters, August in parens):

Kerry: 48 (50)
Bush: 44 (45)
Undecided: 4
Other: 4
(MoE: ��5%)

Favorability ratings are Kerry at 54% and Bush at 49%.

And Missouri (likely voters, August in parens):

Kerry: 42 (44)
Bush: 48 (49)
Undecided: 7 (4)
Other: 2 (3)
(MoE: ��5%)

I almost hesitate to post this poll, as the sample was collected over a two-week period - but you can judge its validity yourself. For some reason, Show Me State Democrats aren't cottoning to Kerry - he gets 74% of the Dem vote, while Bush gets 90% of the GOP vote.

Posted at 04:17 PM in Michigan, Missouri | Comments (10) | Technorati

Thursday, July 01, 2004

SUSA Michigan Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

Obviously, there haven't been enough polls around here today... anyhow, I don't usually post Survey USA polls - not because I don't approve of their methodology (which some people complain about), but mostly because Polling Report doesn't carry them. Anyhow, SUSA has a new poll in MI (PDF), with numbers that oughta be pleasing (5/31 - 6/2 trendlines in parens):

Kerry: 51 (47)
Bush: 41 (43)
Other: 6 (7)
Undecided: 2 (4)
(MoE: ��4.1%)

I don't have much to say, except that this is the first time we've seen Kerry with a lead this big since early April. (And that was also SUSA.) Most of the other outfits have shown a much closer race, though if the undecided break for us (as they are traditionally believed to do for the challenger), then Michigan looks pretty good for us.

(Thanks to JoshInPHL.)

Posted at 07:50 PM in Michigan | Comments (3) | Technorati

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Narrow Kerry Lead in MI

Posted by DavidNYC

EPIC/MRA shows Kerry with a small lead in MI (3/28 - 4/01 results in parens - and yes, they are completely identical):

Kerry: 47 (47)
Bush: 45 (45)
Undecided: 8 (8)

Kerry: 45 (45)
Bush: 43 (43)
Nader: 3 (3)
Undecided: 9 (9)
(MoE: ��4)

I admit I'm a bit nervous to see MI this close. Other polls have shown this race to be a bit wider, but not by much. (One SUSA poll gave Kerry a ten-point lead back in April, but that seems to be an outlier.) Given the lousy state of manufacturing jobs and the fact that Michigan's sizable Arab-American population has turned against Bush, I'd expect Kerry to be doing better here. I wonder if Bush's flip-flop on the steel tariffs has now helped him, though.

One piece of good news: Bush's favorability (46-49) and job approval (45-55) ratings both continued to drop and are now hovering, as you can see, below the Mendoza line.

Posted at 04:04 PM in Michigan | Comments (6) | Technorati

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Rasmussen Roundup Redux

Posted by DavidNYC

Speaking of Rasmussen, he's got a bunch more polls out this weekend. DemFromCT over at Kos has the roundup once again.

Kerry's up 5 in MN and 6 in MI. He's down 5 in AR. Oh, he's also (still) up 12 in NJ, for those of you who might be fretting over Quinnipiac's last showing. And here's an interesting detail: In the first poll of South Carolina this year, Kerry's back only 10 points. This is a state Bush won by 16 in 2000. We aren't going to win here, but if Bush remains this far back from his 2000 numbers here, SC could be a sort of canary in the coalmine for what's going to happen to Dubya in other closer states.

Posted at 05:46 PM in Arkansas, Michigan, Minnesota | Technorati

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Michigan: Additional Thoughts

Posted by DavidNYC

Dem uber-analyst Ruy Teixeira (who has graciously linked to this humble blog) points out an LA Times article discussing Michigan's swing state status. Surprise, surprise: The Democratic candidates aren't well-known yet & consequently have low poll numbers. Rove is presumably smart enough not to take solace in this - only 37% of Michiganders want to see Bush re-elected, according to the LAT. (The poll I linked to in the original post put that number even lower, at 33%.)

Based on the state's lousy economic conditions, Matt Yglesias feels pretty strongly that the odds of Michigan going GOP are about as good as seeing 80 degree weather on the Upper Peninsula in February. Bush may have visited Michigan 11 times since taking office, but the Washington Generals played the Globetrotters a few thousand times and they still never won, either.

Posted at 04:15 AM in Michigan | Technorati

Monday, November 03, 2003


Posted by DavidNYC

Bring on the Wolverine State (does anyone actually call it that?):

Electoral Votes: 17 (18 in 2000)

2000 Results:

Gore: 51.28%
Bush: 46.14%
Nader: 1.99%
Buchanan: 0.00% (write-in)

Michigan is yet another state which lost an EV after redistricting, a process which, at present, has inflicted a number of papercuts on the Dems. Look at it this way: If the results of the 2004 election are identical to the 2000 contest, the Democrats would lose by 18 electoral votes, rather than just 4. Put another way, last time, we could have squeaked by if we had carried New Hampshire. This time, we'll need a good bit more than that. And as for Michigan, we definitely cannot afford to lose it. But I don't think we will.

I'll start with what I usually think is the most important issue in any state: unemployment. In Michigan, I think this issue will play a monster role. MI not only now has the fourth-highest unemployment rate of any state in the union (7.4%), but it has also experienced the fourth-largest swing since Bush took office (an increase of 2.8%). And as several people have recently noted, the current jobless recovery is not going to improve this situation. If and when Bush campaigns in MI, I can't but imagine that he'll be confronted by large crowds of angry, displaced workers - that is, if they aren't shunted off to those outrageous "free speech zones". I don't think the reception will be quite as bad as, say, Nixon's when he went to South America in 1958, but it won't be good, and Karl Rove can only insulate Bush so far.

Now, why is MI's unemployment situation so bad? If you've read the last few entries here on the SSP, you probably know what I'm going to discuss next: steel tariffs. Unlike PA, which is home to a lot of steel producers, Michigan's traditional rust belt industries are heavy steel consumers. I don't quite understand why Detroit failed to put up a fight when Bush first mooted these tariffs over two years ago, but in any case, the automakers (and other allied industries) are in full battle mode now. A new report (PDF) by the Institute for International Economics (a think tank which I understand is non-partisan and also widely respected - but correct me if I'm wrong on this count) states quite clearly that the tariffs are "unambiguously a drag on the U.S. economy" (emphasis in original). Further, anywhere from 12,000 to 43,000 job losses per year can be directly attributed to the tariffs. Now, that may not sound like a whole lot, but if you're a laid-off auto-worker and you're looking for someone to blame, the tariffs look like a very tempting target. I point this out because, while anyone might blame Bush for the sagging economy in general, it's a lot easier to link him to the tariffs specifically.

So you have union members who are pissed off about job losses on the one hand, and executives who are steamed about shrinking profit margins on the other - not a fortuitous mix for Bush. And D-Day on this matter is coming soon: The WTO already ruled that the tariffs were illegal back in June. The US appealed, but most observers expect the first ruling to be upheld. That appellate decision will be released some time in the next month or two. What happens then? Well, either Bush can come into compliance with the ruling and rescind the tariffs (and obviously anger everyone in the steel industry in PA, WV and OH he was hoping to win over). Or he can defiantly thumb his nose at the WTO - and we know that this Administration is not big on international bodies - and keep them in place. Apart from obviously exacerbating tensions with steel users, this might also trigger retaliatory tariffs from a whole slew of nations. In fact, nearly all of our major trading partners are complainants in the WTO proceeding: China, Japan, Korea, and the entire European Union - which now includes a bunch of countries which are supposedly part of the "New Europe" Bush is so fond of. Headlines proclaiming a trade war with 20 of our closest (or formerly closest) allies would be politically embarrassing for Bush in the midst of an election year. (Though of course, a trade spat with France might play well with the GOP base.)

Changing gears, I want to take a quick look at the subject of Michigan's large Arab-American population. While Arab Americans (most of whom are Christian, not Muslim) went heavily for Bush in 2000, the Administration's foreign policy has caused many to do a serious about-face. Zogby estimates that there are 490,000 Arab Americans living in Michigan, a sizable chunk given MI's population of about 10 million. Losing this demographic makes a difficult job that much harder for Bush & Co.

Also, Michigan elected a new Democratic Governor last year, Jennifer Granholm. While she hasn't been around as long as PA's Ed Rendell, and isn't as well-connected (he was the former chair of the DNC, after all), she does seem to be a rising star in the Democratic Party. Her margin was fairly narrow in 2002 (51-48), however, so it's hard to see how this will play out. Apparently, she remains quite popular (60% approval, but down from 70% in August), despite budget woes. Bush, on the other hand, has seen his popularity slip below the Mendoza Line - it's now just 47% in MI. In short, Michigan seems like a good bet to return to the Dem column - perhaps it's even the "safest" of the Dem swing states.

Posted at 09:12 PM in Michigan | Comments (3) | Technorati

Friday, October 31, 2003

Up Next: Michigan

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm going to forge my way through the upper Midwest here, so Michigan is next on our swing state tour. After this region, I'll do the Mississippi River Valley states, then the South, and then the West. I may not stick to this plan precisely, though - but I promise to hit all the swing states (sooner or later). In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on Michigan, please share `em. I'm inclined to think of MI as the safest of all the Dem swing states: It had the lowest percentage of Nader voters (2%) of the group, and the second-widest Gore minus Bush margin (5.14%, after WA). Of course, this doesn't mean MI is safe, so, as always, I'll reserve final judgment until I do a full-bore analysis.

Posted at 02:00 AM in Michigan | Comments (4) | Technorati

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