Denno Research Survey Cited in WSJ
Wisconsin's Scott Walker may not be the only Republican governor facing a recall election this year.
Credit: By Allysia Finley
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Wisconsin's Scott Walker may not be the only Republican governor facing a recall election this year. Unions are also organizing a campaign to boot Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
At issue is the emergency manager law that Mr. Snyder signed last year, which allows state-appointed receivers in financially distressed cities to usurp city leaders and break labor contracts. Unions and community activists are challenging the law in court as well as mounting a referendum for the November ballot.
Regardless, the recall's organizers say that "you must chop the head off the beast and slay the dragon before you start rebuilding the village," as activist Marty Townsend put it recently. "If you try to rebuild the village while the dragon is still around, he will just burn the village to the ground again." In other words, even if their lawsuit or referendum succeeds, they believe the governor is likely to tweak the law rather than scrap it.
The group's recall effort fell about 300,000 signatures short in September, and they may have just as much trouble collecting the 800,000 voter signatures necessary to put Mr. Snyder on the ballot this year. One reason they've struggled to drum up support is that Mr. Snyder's law, unlike Governor Walker's collective bargaining reforms, have thus far only affected public workers and city officials in a handful of insolvent cities like Benton Harbor and Pontiac.
The law is most virulently opposed by most blacks, who make up a majority of all the affected communities and see racial undertones in the governor's attempt to impose fiscal reforms on predominantly black cities. A Detroit Free Press/WXYZ poll in January found that 45% of state voters would vote to overturn the law. However, 65% of blacks would reject it, and blacks will likely be out in force in November to re-elect President Obama.
Even so, there are a number of factors working to Mr. Snyder's advantage. For starters, Michigan's unemployment rate, which was 11% when he took office, has fallen to 8.8%. A recent poll by Denno Research found that 56% of voters think that the state's economy is turning around, up from 42% in June. The governor's approval rating has also risen to a lukewarm 35% from a chilly 28% last summer, and his negatives have declined by nine points.