Republican challenger Dick DeVos hammered Granholm for the state's economic struggles and tight job market. But the Democratic incumbent pointed an accusatory finger toward Bush and voters apparently agreed, as Granholm prevailed even among those who said they were financially losing ground.
Voters in Nov. 7, 2006’s election gave Bush a negative job review by nearly 2-to-1. About four in five of those voters backed Granholm and Stabenow, who defeated Republican Mike Bouchard.
``I don't blame Granholm. It's not her fault. Bush is the problem,'' said Meredith Blodgett, 26, a janitor from Howell.
The poll of 2,074 Michigan voters was conducted for AP and television networks by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International. Results were subject to a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, higher for subgroups.
Support for Granholm and Stabenow was broad and deep, extending to nearly all age and income groups. They rolled up solid majorities among women but also prevailed with men, although by smaller margins, and won among parents of children under 18. They received about nine in 10 black votes and slender majorities of whites.
The crucial swing voters—moderates and independents—went heavily for the two Democrats, who even raided their opponents' traditional base of support, getting nearly a quarter of self-described conservatives.
A 4-to-1 majority took a dim view of the economy and more than half said the job situation where they lived had worsened the past couple of years. But Granholm and Stabenow won comfortably among such voters, including those who said they were making just enough money to stay afloat, and were especially strong with those falling behind.
Not surprisingly, Granholm and Stabenow carried organized labor, a traditional Democratic stronghold. But they also got more than half the votes of people from non-union households.
Ellen Martin, a 55-year-old retired English professor from Grosse Pointe Woods, praised Granholm's efforts.
``Frankly, the governor of a state, Republican or Democrat, cannot change the economy that much,'' Martin said. ``They just plug holes.''
But Granholm's economic record was a turnoff for Pat Hyand, 63, an ice cream wholesaler from Grosse Pointe, who said he voted for her in 2002 but ``wouldn't do it again if my life depended on it.''
“I voted for DeVos because he's a businessman,'' Hyand said. ``The state has to be run like a business. That's what it is—a large business.''
Nearly four in five voters described the war in Iraq as at least somewhat important. Most backed Stabenow, who ran especially strongly among those who said it was extremely important. She won in a landslide among the majority who opposed the war and favored withdrawing at least some U.S. troops.
The war is “the most stupid thing our government has done since Vietnam,'' said Mark Gustafson, 68, of Traverse City, a retired community college teacher. ``It's based on lies.''
Stabenow prevailed among the three in four voters who said health care was very or extremely important. Bouchard was favored by those who didn't consider it important, but fewer than one-quarter of the voters felt that way.
One key segment of the Republican base that stuck with DeVos and Bouchard—barely—was ``born-again'' or evangelical Christians. DeVos and Bouchard also won among those who attend religious services more than once a week.
Granholm was the runaway winner in large cities and also took rural areas and small cities, while the suburban vote was about even.
Democrats question results in 2 crucial state Senate districts
By DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press Writer
LANSING (AP): After Republicans declared a 21-17 victory in the fight for control of the state Senate, Democrats on Wednesday questioned voting irregularities in Oakland County and Saginaw-area districts.
State Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer said a large number of absentee ballots were torn during a vote count in Oakland County's Bloomfield Township and had to be duplicated by hand. A count of absentee ballots in nearby Troy lasted until 7 a.m. Wednesday, Brewer said.
State Sen. Mark Schauer, a Battle Creek Democrat who led his party's fight for Senate control, said there were irregularities in both Oakland County and the Saginaw area, where votes also were counted until the early hours of Wednesday.
``We have some serious concerns about the final outcomes and are reviewing all of our options,'' Schauer said.
Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, a Wyoming Republican, called Schauer a ``sore loser'' and denied there were irregularities.
``The election is over folks. It's time to govern,'' Sikkema said.
In Oakland County’s 13th Senate District, former Republican state Rep. John Pappageorge led Democrat Andy Levin, son of U.S. Rep. Sander Levin and nephew of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, by 776 votes with all precincts reporting. Pappageorge had 56,990 votes and Levin had 56,214.
In the 32nd Senate District covering much of Saginaw and Gratiot counties, GOP Rep. Roger Kahn led Democratic Rep. Carl Williams by 520 votes. Kahn had 46,313 votes and Williams had 45,793 with all precincts reporting.
It remained unclear late Wednesday whether Levin or Williams would request recounts. Both seats are currently held by Republican incumbents who must leave office because of term limits.
If Democrats were able to win the two districts, there would be a 19-19 tie in the Senate, and any tie votes could be broken by Democratic Lt. Gov. John Cherry.
Overall, Democrats lost one seat from their current 22 in the 38-member chamber. But Green Party candidates may have hurt the chances of Levin and Williams in razor-thin races.
Kyle McBee got 3,118 votes, or 3 percent, in Oakland County. Lloyd Clark received 2,326, or 2 percent, in the Saginaw race.
“Those guys could have potentially cost us the election,'' said Tom Lenard, spokesman for Senate Democrats.
Republicans have controlled the Senate since 1984, after Democrats lost their majority when two Democratic senators were recalled for voting for an income tax increase.