Grassroots Midwest

New Poll: Cindy Gamrat Running Second in Special Election for 80th District

Disgraced ex-Representative trails past candidate Mary Whiteford, in statistical tie with Jim Storey

Contact:                                                                                                                                       Susan J. Demas, Inside Michigan Politics Publisher, 517-420-6779, susan@sjdemas.com       Ed Sarpolus, Target Insyght Executive Director, 517-927-9776, esarpolus@gmail.com Joshua Pugh, Grassroots Midwest Director of Communications Strategy, 517-575-7180, josh@grassrootsmidwest.com                                           

According to a new poll released today by Grassroots Midwest, Inside Michigan Politics, and Target Insyght, former nurse and financial consulting firm co-founder Mary Whiteford has a commanding early lead in the special election in Michigan’s 80th House District to fill the vacant seat of ex-Rep. Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell). Whiteford holds the support of 31 percent of likely Republican primary voters. Gamrat is in second with 14 percent. Allegan County Commissioner and GOP operative Jim Storey is just behind Gamrat with 13 percent.

Interestingly, 18 percent of Republican primary voters would support the eventual Democratic nominee over Cindy Gamrat if she were to somehow sneak through the Republican primary field, while 61 percent would support another candidate or simply stay home rather than cast a general election vote for Gamrat to return her the state House.

Gamrat has a favorability rating of 19 percent. Asked what a proper punishment would have been for Gamrat's admitted inappropriate use of state resources, 22 percent said expulsion, and 49 percent said she should have resigned.

"The endorsements of the Great Lakes Education Project and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce have put Mary Whiteford in the catbird's seat headed into the final weeks of the election. For all the talk of a split in the Republican establishment, Jim Storey is still polling slightly below Cindy Gamrat," said Susan J. Demas, editor and publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

Michigan’s 80th District encompasses all of Allegan County, except three townships and the city of Wayland in the northwest. The district has a Republican base of 62 percent, according to Target Insyght data.

"The establishment strikes back as Whiteford and Storey have all the momentum rolling into the special election," said Brian Began, Elections & Research Director of Grassroots Midwest. "It doesn’t appear anyone is buying Gamrat’s victim act, and the force that was the Tea Party is no longer strong with her. Despite early fears that a comeback was possible, it appears those fears will not be realized, as Gamrat quickly fades into obscurity. Gamrat has become just another also-ran in this race. She may pop up from time to time in future debates, but her fifteen minutes is ultimately over."

"Much like Todd Courser, Cindy Gamrat's constituents just plain don't like her," said Ed Sarpolus, Executive Director of Target Insyght. "There is a complete lack of sympathy among Republican primary voters for the alleged persecution Gamrat has been through. Gamrat is able to garner the support of a strong majority of the Republicans who say they like her -- there just aren't nearly enough of them."

This automated survey of 300 likely Republican primary voters in Michigan’s 80th state House district was taken October 6 - 8. The margin of error is 5.7 percent. Crosstabs and demographic data are available upon request.

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IMP (http://insidemichiganpolitics.com/) is the most nationally-cited political newsletter in Michigan and was founded by Bill Ballenger in 1987.

Grassroots Midwest (http://grassrootsmidwest.com) is Michigan's first and only bipartisan grassroots advocacy firm. Our clients include corporations, associations, non-profits, labor unions, and political candidates, and we have a relentless focus on one outcome for our clients: winning.

Target Insyght (http://target-insyght.com) is a strategic consulting, public opinion and market research firm created to offer its clients a full spectrum of professional capabilities.

New Poll: Todd Courser Running Third in Historic Special Election

Disgraced ex-Representative trails candidate Jan Peabody, school board President Gary Howell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                     Contact:                                                                                                                                       Susan J. Demas, Inside Michigan Politics Publisher, 517-420-6779susan@sjdemas.com  Ed Sarpolus, Target Insyght Executive Director, 517-927-9776esarpolus@gmail.com      Joshua Pugh, Grassroots Midwest Director of Communications Strategy, 517-575-7180,josh@grassrootsmidwest.com 

According to a new poll released today by Grassroots Midwest, Inside Michigan Politics, and Target Insyght, Jan Peabody has a narrow early lead in the special election in Michigan’s 82nd House District to fill the vacant seat of ex-Rep. Todd Courser (R-Silverwood), holding the support of 20 percent of likely Republican primary voters. Courser is tied for third with Ian Kempf, with 9 percent. Lapeer County ISD board President Gary Howell is second with 11 percent.

Interestingly, 21 percent of Republican primary voters would support the eventual Democratic nominee over Todd Courser, while 47 percent would support another candidate or simply stay home, should Courser secure the Republican nomination.

Courser has a favorability rating of 19 percent, yet fewer than half of respondents who view him favorably would vote for him.

“The Republican establishment has to be thrilled with these results,” said Susan J. Demas, editor and publisher of Inside Michigan Politics“Tea Party voters are splitting their support between multiple candidates, leaving Jan Peabody alone in first just 30 days out. She’ll have the resources to increase that lead. Peabody came within 300 votes of Courser in the 2014 primary, and already has the support of the Dick DeVos-backed Great Lakes Education Project. I’d look for more big endorsements soon.”

Michigan’s 82nd District encompasses all of Lapeer County, and has a Republican base of 58 percent,  according to Target Insyght data. Because of this, conventional wisdom would suggest that the Republican candidate, whomever he or she should be, will safely win the general election.

However, should Todd Courser somehow defy the odds and sneak through the 11-way Republican primary, Lapeer County Republicans might have second thoughts and take their chance to make history, either by supporting the Democratic nominee or staying home next March.

“Much like the residents of Elm Street and the Campers at Crystal Lake, the Lapeer County Courser monster just won’t go away. It’s the sequel nobody wanted, and it’s coming to a ballot box near you this November,” said Brian Began, Elections & Research Director of Grassroots Midwest. “This is not a conventional primary, but a 30-day sprint. Courser has a steep climb, but should he convince enough of his allies to support him in November, Republicans could again be dealing with a nightmare scenario.”

"The good news for Todd Courser is that everyone's heard of him -- 95% name ID for a former state rep. is unheard of. The very bad news is that no one likes him,” said Ed Sarpolus, Executive Director of Target Insyght. “Courser relentlessly courted media coverage during the scandal, releasing colorful Facebook posts and doing national TV. It's clear that all the attention has come with a price -- Courser now looks unelectable in this field."

Based on analysis of historical data, Grassroots Midwest believes 13,500 will likely vote in the GOP primary -- meaning a candidate could win with as few as 2,000 votes. Between Courser’s loyalists, mischievous Democrats, and the other ten Republican candidates, the risk of Courser sneaking through the November primary seems realistic, if only he could convince more people who like him to actually vote for him. There is clearly a risk of a nightmare scenario for the GOP in this race.

This automated survey of 300 likely Republican primary voters in Michigan’s 82nd state House district was taken September 29-October 1. The margin of error is 5.7 percent. Crosstabs and demographic data are available upon request.

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Inside Michigan Politics (http://insidemichiganpolitics.com/) is the most nationally-cited political newsletter in Michigan and was founded by Bill Ballenger in 1987.

Grassroots Midwest (http://grassrootsmidwest.com) is Michigan's first and only bipartisan grassroots advocacy firm. Our clients include corporations, associations, non-profits, labor unions, and political candidates, and we have a relentless focus on one outcome for our clients: winning.

Target Insyght (http://target-insyght.com) is a strategic consulting, public opinion and market research firm created to offer its clients a full spectrum of professional capabilities.