Hackel leads exec poll
FROM THE MACOMB DAILY
By Chad Selweski, Macomb Daily Staff Writer
If the race for Macomb County executive was a boxing match, they might mercifully stop the fight now, nearly a year before the contest is completed.
A countywide poll has found Sheriff Mark Hackel pounding the competition by a 10-1 margin. The poll of likely 2010 voters gave Hackel support from 54 percent of respondents while the other potential Democratic candidates trailed badly: county Treasurer Ted Wahby garnered just 5 percent and state Rep. Fred Miller registered 4 percent backing.
"Hackel definitely has support across the board. He has great name identification and people like him," said pollster Dennis Denno, who conducted the survey.
The poll by East Lansing-based polling firm Denno-Noor was commissioned by former prosecutor Carl Marlinga. Surveying the 2010 political landscape, Marlinga learned that his backing for the executive post was just 9 percent, but he is preparing for a 10th District state Senate race where the survey found overwhelming support.
Macomb Circuit Judge David Viviano, who was included in the poll based on speculation that he could be the leading Republican candidate for executive, notched a mere 6 percent in the survey. Another 23 percent of respondents were undecided some 11 months before the November 2010 election.
No viable Republican candidate has emerged for the contest to determine Macomb's first elected executive. Viviano said he has no interest in seeking the executive office.
In fact, Viviano pointed out that he is ineligible to run for executive because of a state constitutional provision that prevents nonpartisan judges from seeking a partisan office for one year after they step down from the court.
Hackel, who is expected to announce his candidacy soon, could not be reached for comment about the poll results.
Wahby, who is seeking input on an election strategy from business owners and supporters, is expected to announce his decision whether to run before the end of the year. The St. Clair Shores Democrat is hoping to capitalize on his business and government experience as treasurer, a longtime banker, and a St. Clair Shores mayor and councilman.
"It (the poll) doesn't mean anything until you start campaigning," said the 79-year-old political veteran. "The complexion changes in a campaign."
Miller, 36, a Democratic state representative who represents Mount Clemens and a portion of Clinton Township, has hinted that he is ready to run. Miller is on a trade mission to China and could not be reached for comment.
Voter support on Nov. 3 for the Macomb County charter paved the way for the election for Macomb's first executive, with a primary in August 2010 followed by a November general election.
Hackel, 47, a Macomb Township Democrat, has widespread support among all voters, according to the poll. He is the overwhelming choice among all age groups, women, men, Democrats, Republicans, independents and in all geographic sections of the county. In addition, his name recognition far exceeds his potential opponents, which indicates he could snag a majority of the undecided voters.
The sharpest distinction in the poll was among young voters. While Hackel enjoyed 80 percent support among the electorate under the age of 35, his opponents barely registered among those in the 18-34 age group. In fact, Wahby's name was not recognized by a single voter in that demographic category.
The telephone poll of 400 likely voters was conducted Nov. 19-23 and has a margin of error plus or minus 5 percentage points.