Michigan Senate Race: Rep. Peters Leads Because of Support From Women

Image: Michigan Senate Race: Rep. Peters Leads Because of Support From Women

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 01:28 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Terry Lynn Land, the GOP nominee in the Michigan U.S. Senate race, leads among men but trails among women, according to a Detroit Free Press poll.

As a result, Rep. Gary Peters, the Democratic nominee in the contest, leads overall 44 percent to 38 percent in a survey of 600 likely Michigan voters, the Free Press said. Peters has a 14 percentage point lead among women. Land, a former Michigan secretary of state, maintained a 5 point lead among men, but they were a smaller portion of those surveyed.

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The poll had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Democrats are hitting hard at Land, saying she supports policies restricting women's access to healthcare and pay equity, the Free Press reported.

Eighteen percent of the respondents said they were undecided in the poll, also done for
WXYZ-TV in Detroit and statewide media polling partners EPIC-MRA of Lansing.

Peters has gained 6 points since a poll in February, when he trailed Land by 41 percent to  38 percent.

"The ads by Peters (and his allies) attacking Land on women’s issues have had more of an impact in terms of the race than the Obamacare attacks on Peters have benefited Land," Bernie Porn, EPIC-MRA’s pollster, told the Free Press.

Some voters polled are also turning against Land because of outside support from groups such as Americans for Prosperity, backed by Charles and David Koch, which have spent millions on ads hitting Peters and other Democratic lawmakers for supporting Obamacare.

"The Koch brothers have put so much money into trying to win over Michigan that anything that has something to do with them I don’t want any part of," Kristin Ratynski, 66, a retired medical assistant and self-described independent voter, told the Free Press.

The poll indicated that Obamacare may not be a factor among Michigan residents. The poll showed 53 percent of voters oppose the healthcare plan, but only 36 percent say it makes a difference in how they vote.

Land leads significantly, by 71 percent to 12 percent, among people who oppose Obamacare, but Peters leads by 78 percent to 12 percent among those who said supporting Obamacare would make it more likely they would chose a candidate. He also lead, by 50 percent to 25 percent among the 35 percent who said the plan makes no difference in how they will vote.

The independent vote, which made up 19 percent of the electorate surveyed, may play a large role in the race, as they were split three ways among Land, Peter and undecided, over how they would vote. And in Peters' home base of Oakland County, he only enjoyed a small lead, of 47 percent to 45 percent, over Land.

Oakland County, north of Detroit, is a target region of both campaigns.

Land led by a larger margin, 58 percent to 25 percent, in her home district, but Peters was ahead, by 54 percent to 30 percent, in three southeastern Michigan counties that comprise the most populated part of the state.

She still has an uphill battle until November. No Republican has won a Senate seat from Michigan since 1994, but the race is getting national attention as Republicans aim to recapture control of the Senate.

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