In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.
Friday, March 12, 2010
My Side vs. Your Side
Everybody knows Michigan is a divided state. There are "us' over here and "them" over there where Lake Michigan hit the shoreline of a culturally different part of the state. And Michigan voters have not exactly fallen in love with the last two guys from "that" side of the state who ran for governor. In fact nobody remembers Dick Posthumus. You do remember Dick DeVos but you also remember you didn't much like him. Now comes a guy from as West Michigan as you can get, Pete Hoekstra of Holland. He's running for the GOP nomination for governor and doing quite well even though he is not from over "here." Yet the popular wisdom suggests he won't win because Southeast Michigan voters will decided the outcome. A prominent GOP pollster, researcher and campaign consultant who does not have a dog in the hunt offers a different take…a decidedly different take. This source, who wants to remain anyomous, argues that only 700,000 or so voters will show up for the GOP primary next August. And 60% of those folks live outside the immediate Detroit-Metro media market of 13 counties. Hoekstra has a base of voters in West Michigan from St. Joe to Ludington. In fact he calls it Fortress Hoekstra and if he can just get his folks on "that" side of the state to hold the fort, he can win…so his theory goes. And the theory just got a huge kick in the pants. West Michigan voters may turn out in unusually high numbers in August because there are two open Congressional seats in play. Hoekstra and Vern Ehlers are not running for Congress and a host of Republicans are. That means it will be a very competitive primary and GOP voters may come out of the woodwork. And while they are voting for two new Congressman, they may hang around long enough to also vote for the guy with the Dutch name. Presto-change-o, Hoekstra wins. The Cox campaign begs to differ. It contends that the Detroit media market is 46% of the voting population while the so-called "Fortress' is only 22%. Do the math Cox-ittes argue. Nonetheless at this read, it is Hoekstra who has the lead and Cox is in third place. Yet the advertising war has yet to begin, and once it does, look for the numbers to be volatile especially since Hoekstra is low on dough.