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NMU alumnus weighs in on races, proposals

Pollster’s predictions

October 18, 2012
By JACKIE STARK - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Each of the six proposals to appear on Michigan ballots Nov. 6 will likely fail, according one Northern Michigan University alumnus and professional pollster.

That was one of many predications made Wednesday afternoon by Steve Mitchell, an Ishpeming native and chairman of Mitchell Research & Communications Inc., a Michigan-based national public relations and consulting firm.

Mitchell said, according to the latest polling, each ballot proposal's supporters number under 50 percent, and when undecided voters are factored in, all the proposals are likely to fail.

Article Photos

Steve Mitchell

"When in doubt, people vote 'no,'" Mitchell said, adding that it is also much easier to get people to vote "no" in most elections. "People will walk 10 miles in a blizzard to vote 'no.' They'll walk 10 miles in a blizzard to vote against somebody. They will not walk across the street on a nice sunny day to vote for someone or to vote 'yes' on something."

Mitchell discussed many races that area voters have a stake in, including the tight race for Michigan's 1st Congressional District - which pits incumbent Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, against challenger Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard.

The two ran against each other in 2010 when long-time representative Bart Stupak retired from congress. Back then, Mitchell said, Benishek won handily with an 11-point margin.

This year, however, Mitchell said the latest polls show the race is shaping up to be much closer, though he did say Benishek will likely edge out his opponent once again.

Mitchell said the district is largely Republican and that since 1966, no member of the U.S. House of Representatives has failed to gain re-election in this district.

"This congressional district has a history of re-electing whoever they elect the first time," Mitchell said. "And they keep hanging onto them until they want to finally retire from politics."

Though Mitchell declared winners in every local race he discussed Wednesday, there was one race he said he was totally unable to predict the outcome of - the race for president of the United States.

"This is one of the closest elections that we may ever see," Mitchell said. "(The close polling numbers are) indicative of the fact that we may well not know who the next president of the United States is going to be until Wednesday, Thursday or until some state like New Hampshire counts all of its absentee votes to determine who is going to be the next president. So, this is an exciting time for those of you who love politics."

In other Michigan races, Mitchell predicted that:

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.



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