Michigan Governor Latest to Shoot Himself in the Foot


In 2010, Republicans swept the table, electing a whole slew of new governors and state legislators. Since then, however, they’ve seemed bound and determined to use their newfound power to make themselves as unpopular as possible. This month’s case study is Michigan governor Rick Snyder, who was behind last week’s sneak attack that turned Michigan into a right-to-work state. PPP finds that Snyder’s approval ratings have plummeted:

We now find Snyder as one of the most unpopular Governors in the country. Only 38% of voters approve of him to 56% who disapprove. There are only 2 other sitting Governors we’ve polled on who have a worse net approval rating than Snyder’s -18.

….There’s not much doubt that it’s the right to work law and his embrace of other actions by the Republican legislature that are driving this precipitous drop in Snyder’s popularity. Only 41% of voters in the state support the right to work legislation, while 51% are opposed to it. If voters got to decide the issue directly only 40% of them say they would vote to keep the law enacted, while 49% would vote to overturn it. This comes on the heels of voters overturning Snyder’s signature emergency managers law last month. The simple reality is that Michigan voters like unions- 52% have a favorable opinion of them to only 33% with a negative one.

Dave Weigel gets the analysis right: “This is the problem with something perceived as a ‘power grab.’ Voters, who don’t typically obsess over process, get angry about it. Democrats learned that in 2010, when a number of their endangered, to their confusion, faced voters angry about the constitutionality of a health care mandate and the state funding included in early versions of the deal.”

The fact that Snyder’s policies are broadly unpopular is bad enough. The fact that he and his fellow Republicans seem to be flouting the rules of fair play in order to pass them makes it even worse.

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