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La Liga de Las Americas

Michigan governor’s race is close in latest poll

AP Political Writer

(AP): A poll released June 21th shows the race is close between Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Republican challenger Dick DeVos.

Forty-six percent of 600 likely voters said they would vote for DeVos, while 44 percent said they would vote for Granholm. Ten percent were undecided.

Governor Jennifer Granholm

The poll came out on the same day that DeVos released a 65-page action plan he says would turn around the state’s economy. The Michigan Democratic Party, meanwhile, planned to launch a second television ad Thursday promoting what Granholm is doing to create jobs.

The poll by Lansing-based EPIC-MRA was conducted June 13 through Tuesday for The Detroit News and television stations WXYZ in Detroit, WILX in Lansing, WOOD in Grand Rapids and WJRT in Flint. It had a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

A poll conducted June 5-9 by EPIC-MRA had DeVos with 48 percent and Granholm with 40 percent. Both the Granholm and DeVos campaigns said then other polls showed the race much closer. A May poll by EPIC-MRA had DeVos at 46 percent and Granholm at 45 percent.

DeVos said Wednesday that the eight-point spread in the earlier poll appears to be an aberration.

“This is more consistent with what we have seen in the other polls that have been published,'' he said of the new poll. “It seems that (earlier) result may have been slightly overstated.''

The Ada businessman added that the poll shows his campaign to unseat Granholm remains on schedule.

“The pattern has been we have been continuing to do well, continuing to make great progress right on plan,'' he said.

Granholm campaign spokesman Chris De Witt said the latest poll shows the race continues to be close and said voters are unhappy with the policies of Republicans such as President Bush.

“Polling has consistently shown that the people of Michigan understand that it's the Bush economic policies that Dick DeVos supports that have caused the economic problems here in Michigan. Governor Granholm is working to improve our economy, and people understand that,'' De Witt said.

In the latest poll, 40 percent faulted the Republican president and his national economic policies for the problems of the Michigan economy, while 24 percent faulted the governor and her policies. Seventeen percent blamed both equally, 16 percent blamed neither and 3 percent were undecided. In the earlier poll, 44 percent faulted Bush while 21 percent faulted the governor.

The new Democratic ad attempts to get at that discontent. It talks about a new $700 million engine plant in Dundee open last fall that's a partnership between DaimlerChrysler AG, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co.

``When Chrysler and two other automakers wanted to build a new plant to manufacture engines, the choice was between Michigan and other states. Jennifer Granholm took action, made Michigan's case, and won,'' says the announcer in the 30-second ad.

``The plant's being built here, bringing 300 high-paying Michigan jobs. George Bush's trade policies are hurting Michigan, but they can't stop Jennifer Granholm. She stood up and fought back, and put Michigan first.''

DeVos campaign spokesman John Truscott took issue with the ad.

``I think people know that leaders take responsibility and don't blame others. The fact is, we're losing thousands more jobs than we're gaining,'' he said.

The ad is intended to show that Granholm, despite the state's high unemployment rate, is doing what she can to put Michigan residents to work. Her job approval rating remains below 50 percent in the latest poll, with 41 percent giving her a positive rating, 58 percent giving her a negative rating and 1 percent undecided. Those are similar to her numbers earlier this month.

DeVos on Wednesday promoted his own plan for revitalizing the economy to editors and reporters at the Detroit Free Press and to The Detroit News editorial board.

The plan includes many policies he already has announced, such as wanting to eliminate the Single Business Tax and replace at least some of it with different corporate taxes, cutting off welfare benefits after four years, ending Granholm's Cool Cities program that gives grants for urban improvements, and offering merit pay for teachers.

He also said he wants to eliminate income taxes on families making $14,000 or less and increase funding for higher education by considering a switch to per-pupil funding.

Both papers reported on their Web sites that DeVos did not offer specifics on what a replacement for the Single Business Tax would look like or was vague on some of the other details for how his plans would work.

The DeVos campaign declined to offer it to other media outlets or release it on his Web site until Thursday morning.

Editor’s Note: Kathy Barks Hoffman heads the Lansing AP bureau and has covered Michigan politics since 1986.






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