Race Rating Change: Michigan Governor

As a Republican governor in a blue state, Rick Snyder started the midterms as one of Democrats’ prime targets. But while Michigan has been a tossup for much of the cycle, it appears to be slipping from the top tier of opportunities. At this stage, Maine, Pennsylvania and Florida are more likely Democratic takeovers, while Ohio and Michigan make up a distinct second tier of Democratic opportunities. In both cases, Republican governors are presiding over states that Barack Obama won in two presidential contests, but where Democratic challengers have yet to put together the type of campaigns often necessary to knock off incumbents — particularly when the national trend is working against them. Democrats were encouraged when former Rep. Mark Schauer, a Democrat, got into the race in Michigan. Even though he lost re-election in 2010, they felt that the former congressman could be a credible alternative for voters who believe Snyder went too far during his first term, specifically in how he handled Right to Work legislation. In recent polls, Snyder was running ahead of Schauer by various margins. A mid-April automated survey by Magellan Strategies, a GOP firm, had Snyder ahead of Schauer, 45 percent to 42 percent. But an April 24-30 survey by Hickman Analytics, a Democratic firm, had Snyder ahead 48 percent to 37 percent. Snyder’s polling numbers aren’t impenetrable, but he has at least a slight advantage in the race. We’re changing our Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating from Pure Tossup to Tossup/Tilts Republican.