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Posted on Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 4:10 p.m.

Rick Snyder surges past Mike Cox in gubernatorial race, new poll finds

By Staff

By John Agar | The Grand Rapids Press

Ann Arbor venture capitalist Rick Snyder is surging in Michigan's gubernatorial race.

Snyder, who’s touted his credentials as a “nerd” and “job creator” in high-profile TV ads, has vaulted to second place among likely Republican voters, according to new poll.

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Rick Snyder

"One thing is clear from this poll and other polls: the more voters learn about Rick, the more likely they are to support him,” Snyder campaign spokesman Jake Suski said.

Snyder, with 18 percent, now trails only U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who has 28 percent, according to a poll conducted March 3-5 by Denno-Noor Research in partnership with The Rossman Group and The Perricone Group.

Support for Attorney General Mike Cox (12 percent) and Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard (8 percent) is waning. 


Grand Rapids Press graphic

A poll conducted last month by EPIC-MRA found Hoekstra at 27 percent, Cox at 21 percent and Snyder at 12 percent. Before he started airing ads, Snyder was consistently polling in the 3 percent range.

On the Democratic side, state House Speaker Andy Dillon's 13 percent led Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero's 11 percent, according to the Denno-Noor poll. Some 56 percent of likely Democratic voters were undecided.

Hoekstra and Snyder showed gains in popularity among Republican voters since November.

"It's very, very early. The only guy that has advertised thus far is Snyder," said Bill Rustem, president of Public Sector Consultants in Lansing. "Consequently, his numbers are going to go up. The first goal is name recognition ... . It's moved his name recognition up from almost zero. Advertising does that for you."

Hoekstra, who has been on news programs as the ranking Republican of the House Intelligence Committee and as a critic of President Barack Obama, is "still riding that wave," Rustem said.

He didn't know why Cox's numbers dropped from 15 percent in November to 12 percent now.

"It's a little surprising that Cox is as low as he is, to be honest with you."


Grand Rapids Press Graphic

Cox's campaign gave the poll little credence. Spokesman Nick De Leeuw said polling was flawed because the candidates' titles were included when 600 people, who said they would vote, were polled. He also alleged that The Rossman Group is a consultant for Dillon's campaign.

The Rossman Group denied working for Dillon, and said Cox's camp was upset by negative questions posed in the November poll.

"Frankly, it's a nonsense poll," De Leeuw said. "Polls go up and down, and they continue to go up and down. People are recognizing that Mike Cox plans to cut government spending, and get jobs back. Mike Cox is one of the hardest-working guys I've ever met."

The poll covered numerous issues facing Michiganders. Among opinions:

• 55 percent believed that a new governor would be able to turn around the state's economy, while 23 percent are doubtful.

• 61 percent oppose holding a constitutional convention to rewrite the state's Constitution. Lansing political observer Bill Ballenger, in his Inside Michigan Politics newsletter, noted the two most recent votes on the issue failed significantly. In 1978, 77 percent of voters turned it down. In 1994, 72 percent said no.

Hoekstra spokesman John Truscott acknowledged that Snyder, former president of computer maker Gateway Inc., had gotten a boost with advertising spending. But Hoekstra is raising funds and has added staff.

"We're not going to spend what Rick Snyder is spending," he said. "We have enough to do what we need to do."

In ads, Snyder has called himself a “nerd” with a record of boosting the economy

Of those polled, 32 percent were in favor of a candidate describing himself as a nerd, with 30 percent said they were less likely to vote for such a candidate.

Of those who identified themselves as "strong Republicans," 30 percent sided with Hoekstra, 15 percent with Cox and 13 percent with Snyder, Denno said. reporter Nathan Bomey contributed to this report.


Matt Kaz

Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 11:38 a.m.

In a recent radio ad of Snyder's that I heard, it says that he "started reading Fortune Magazine at age 8." Just what I've always looked for in a governor;) Give me a break.


Thu, Mar 11, 2010 : 5:35 p.m.

@snapshot You have that right. As long as we, the people, continue to vote either Republican or Democrat we are only choosing different heads of the SAME beast. One party bends you over and the other one...well, they don't exactly give you hugs and kisses now do they? Wake up people and vote BOTH parties out! Before it's too late, if it isn't already. So this guy is a Republican, a venture capitalist. Who's interests do you suppose he will be serving after he gets elected? Really. Same thing with the rest of them too!


Thu, Mar 11, 2010 : 9:57 a.m.

This is nothing but good news for the battered state of Michigan. Fumbleing politicians, lawyers and cops have isolated the highly skilled workforce from growing the job market. Hoekstra and Alma Weaver are just more of the same professional policians looking for fame and fortune.


Thu, Mar 11, 2010 : 9:44 a.m.

81Wolverine wrote a good comment. The rest has to do with rural versus city. Fear of change is not a reason to vote for one person or the other. Michigan needs to hire strong leaders based on qualifications and not party affilations. Voters need to study contenders. It takes co-operation to run a government.


Thu, Mar 11, 2010 : 7:39 a.m.

I din't even know about the hotdogs. So I won't vote!

Dr. I. Emsayin

Thu, Mar 11, 2010 : 7:32 a.m.

How badly do we need Cox in the governor's seat?


Thu, Mar 11, 2010 : 1:35 a.m.

I remember last spring when he opened his office downtown, he had what seemed like a party outside, alongside complementary hot dogs. When I asked for a hot dog, the vendor said only friends of Rick can get one, thing was, none of Rick's fancy friends were eating hotdogs. Come to find out, I was no friend of Rick and got no hotdog which I am sure eventually got thrown out. While I almost always vote democrat always, I think Michigan needs a fiscal republican, which is why my vote will be going to Mike Cox. Rick needs to retire to Bermuda and leave politics behinds, cause any smart politician knows that it's not the votes of the elite that win elections, it's instead the majority, which are regular people that eat hot dogs. Needless to say, he lost my vote long ago, hes a rich man looking to have a retirement job, he has no idea what average means, hes a nerd, a superficial one at that.


Thu, Mar 11, 2010 : 12:43 a.m.

Why bother looking into Snyder's past? We elected a President of the United States without looking into his. Oh I forgot, he wouldn't open his past so anyone could look into it. It's time for a businessman and not another politian!


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 11:41 p.m.

Cox is not the story. Where are the comments on the differentiators between Snyder and Hoekstra?

David Briegel

Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 9:58 p.m.

Atticus, can we help you pack? fishnuts, now he's sure to lose!

Duane Collicott

Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 9:49 p.m.

Keep it up, Rick. We need adults back in charge after all these years of unemployed Michigan citizens being blown away to other states.


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 7:19 p.m.

If Mike Cox does become governor, he can move into the Mahogany Mansion in Detroit and hold forgetful parties.


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 7:09 p.m.

Out with the old, in with the new, whether Republican or Democrat. Neither party cares about YOU! let's cast off the good old boy network and elect the new guys on the block. If there isn't an old school guard to stifle the creativity and good intentions of the newly elected then we just might get something worthwhile accomplished.


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 6:41 p.m.

Rick, Keep the surge coming, you've got my vote. At least we won't get "blown away" in another 4 years if you get elected!!!


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 6:30 p.m.

Right now Snyder is the best person running for Michigan. This state MUST have someone as governor who understands business and "gets it". Jennifer doesn't. Previous administrations and the current one have let this state's business environment decay into the state of unemployment and ruin it is today. Obviously, the incompetent, infighting state legislature has to take their share of the blame too. The only way out of this mess is to encourage and nurture new & existing businesses in the state that will add jobs and increase the tax revenues. Everything falls into place when you do that. Forget about quibbling and squabbling over outdated labor agreements and laws that don't work for us any more. Managing and building the economy of Michigan is far and away the #1 issue that all voters should be evaluating at the polls.


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 5:18 p.m.

If Rick can remember what phone Co. he used 3-4 years ago He is a step ahead of MIKE already Mike and KK what a team- Lets have a party no one will ever find out TRUST ME


Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 5:11 p.m.

How about some serious reporting on Snyder's history, which, after some initial success, is hardly a picture of "job creation"--not in the US, anyway. Look it up and report on it.

Atticus F.

Wed, Mar 10, 2010 : 4:55 p.m.

If Mike Cox becomes governer, I'm moving to California.