Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder begins his reelection bid with a positive, if lukewarm, job rating, according to a new poll released Wednesday that shows that voters' perception of the state's direction have turned around during Snyder's term.
Overall, 51 percent of voters rate Snyder's job performance as "excellent" or "pretty good," according to the poll, conducted by EPIC-MRA in Lansing. Forty-eight percent give Snyder a negative rating of "just fair" or "poor."
Snyder earns positive marks from a third of Democrats, nearly three-fourths of Republicans and 45 percent of independents. But 54 percent of independents give him a negative rating.
Moreover, a closer look at Snyder's job rating shows that his support lacks depth, as the majority of his positive grades come from respondents who say his performance is "pretty good." Only 9 percent say he's doing an excellent job, while 42 percent choose "pretty good." In comparison, 31 percent said he was doing just a fair job, and 17 percent think his performance has been "poor."
Voters' ambivalence about Snyder is evident in other measures in the poll. When voters were asked to choose between Snyder and a generic Democrat, Snyder led by 5 percentage points, 41 percent to 36 percent, with 23 percent undecided. Just 36 percent of respondents said they would vote for Snyder initially, with another 5 percent admitting they would lean toward voting for him.
Snyder maintains an advantage when it comes to likability, however. Fifty-five percent say they have a favorable impression of him, versus 32 percent who view him unfavorably. Snyder's favorable rating is equal to President Obama's in the state, the poll shows, but here, again, Snyder's support lacks depth. Just 19 percent describe their opinions as "very favorable," while Obama's "very favorable" rating in the state is more than twice that, 40 percent.
The technocratic Snyder -- he won a fractious GOP primary in 2010 on the strength of his campaign slogan, "One Tough Nerd" -- has tried to avoid more contentious issues, like the Republican push to make Michigan a "right-to-work" state, an issue which earns mixed poll results. But the poll also shows right-to-work is a low priority for voters when compared with jobs and education, an argument which might dissuade the GOP from considering it in the lame-duck legislative session between now and the end of the year.
The poll was conducted Nov. 27-29, surveying 600 active voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.