A new report from Public Policy Polling (PPP) of Raleigh, NC, shows Democratic U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow has taken her biggest lead yet in the four polls conducted by PPP on the Michigan U.S. Senate race dating back to December of 2010. She now leads former U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra by 14 points, 51-37, and has an even wider 17-point advantage over Clark Durant at 50-33. In three previous polls, Stabenow led Hoekstra by an average of just 7 points and on the most recent one, in July, her lead was 9%.
What’s interesting, according to PPP, is that Stabenow’s approval numbers have barely moved over the last six months. But Hoekstra’s numbers have plunged. In July his favorability/unfavorability rating was narrowly positive at 31/30. Now he’s dropped a net 11 points to a -10 spread at 28/38. There have only been minor shifts in his numbers with Democrats and Republicans, but with independents his numbers have flipped from +10 (33/23) to -10 (29/39).
Hoekstra’s wounds appear to be self-inflicted. His controversial, racially-charged Super Bowl commercial has clearly hurt him. PPP’s survey said 54% of Michigan voters were familiar with it, and within that group, 45% said it made them less likely to vote for him compared to only 16% who considered it a positive and 37% who said it didn’t make a difference to them either way. Independents were heavily turned off by the ad; Hoekstra’s gone from leading with them by 6% in July to trailing by 4%.
PPP says Hoekstra remains the overwhelming favorite in the Republican primary. He’s at 42% to 9% for Clark Durant, 6% for Scotty Boman, 4% for Gary Glenn, 2% for Randy Hekman, 1% each for Peter Konetchy and Rick Wilson, and 0% for Chuck Marino.
Do you still think the feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive,” Pete?