As a recognized Michigan pollster and the official pollster of Fox 2 Detroit TV for 2014, I have issued this pollster report card highlighting the 2014 Michigan elections.
On Election Day November 4, 2014, we issued a press release on a poll conducted Monday night, November 3, 2014 saying that Governor Rick Snyder and Mark Schauer were in a statistical tie in the race for governor. The subtitle part of the release said … Snyder 48% – Schauer 47%. We showed the actual number as Snyder 48.1% and Schauer 47.4%. We had all three third party candidates getting about 1% of the vote. The Monday poll showed Snyder’s margin increasing from +0.2% the night before.
We went on to say in the release the following: “At the end of the survey, voters were asked to name which candidate they would vote for if they had to make a choice without the option of being undecided. In that question, Snyder led by 2 percent (49%-47%).” Realclearpolitics.org used that percentage as our final projection … Snyder +2%.
In the press release we also reiterated our final percentages for U.S. Senate, attorney general and secretary of state from a survey conducted Sunday night.
Here is our report card based on 99% of the vote:
Race Projected Margin Actual Final Margin Difference
Governor Snyder +2% Snyder +3.9% +1.9%
U.S. Senate Peters +12% Peters +13.4% +1.4%
Attorney General Schuette +8% Schuette +8% None
Secretary of State Johnson +7% Johnson +10% +3%
Based on a poll we conducted three weeks ago, we also projected Michigan Supreme Court Justices Brian Zahra and David Viviano along with Richard Bernstein would win their elections to the Supreme Court. All three won.
The 2014 election was the fourth “wave election” in the last five election cycles. Only 2012 was not.
Wave elections break at the end and they break to one party. This election broke heavily for Republicans and led to the GOP gaining 7 U.S. Senate seats as of 5 AM Wednesday morning and the likelihood that they will end up winning 9 seats after the Louisiana run-off and final results in Alaska are tallied.
The GOP also gained another 12 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, taking their total to 242, one of the largest margins since World War II.
This election was a complete repudiation of President Obama and his polices and it spread beyond federal offices to state houses across the country. It is the reason many gubernatorial races, such as that in Michigan, broke heavily on Tuesday in favor of Republican candidates like Governor Rick Snyder.
Our polling showed a close race on Monday night, with Snyder leading +2%. He won with a margin of 3.9%. This type of gain was seen across the country. Here are some examples of gains by GOP gubernatorial candidates comparing the final Realcleapolitics.com poll averages to the actual final results:
Race RCP Final Average Actual Final Margin Difference
Michigan Snyder +2.0% Snyder +3.9% +1.9%
Wisconsin Walker +2.2% Walker +5.7% +3.5%
Georgia Deal +4.6% Deal +7.9% +3.3%
Illinois Rauner -0.8% Rauner +4.8% +5.6%
Maine LePage +1.4% LePage +3.8% +2.4%
Maryland Hogan -9% Hogan +10% +19.0%
Florida Scott -0.4% Scott +1.2% +1.6%
Some who read my press release yesterday might be thinking our polling was wrong. The final results show that is not the case. The final Snyder margin increased from our final projection of +2% and his win was not as narrow as we thought it might be. Michigan was like other states across the United States where the Republican wave helped GOP gubernatorial candidates win by larger margins than the polling showed they would. The wave also helped the Michigan GOP increase its margin in the state house to a record tying 63 seats and 27 state Senate seats.
Obviously, the only way candidates can take advantage of waves like this is to run strong campaigns that put themselves in a position to win. Then the wave pushes the winning margins out further than anticipated as we saw in Governor Snyder’s win.
Let me reiterate how proud I am of my team, led by James Lower, that helped me provide such accurate poll data to Fox 2 Detroit and all those that heard of our results!