(WXYZ) - If the election for Michigan governor were held today, the race would be too close to call. For the first time since he announced his candidacy more than a year ago, Democrat Mark Schauer is leading Republican incumbent Rick Snyder, 45 to 43 percent. Twelve percent aren't sure how they would vote.
The latest EPIC MRA Poll was released exclusively to WXYZ-TV 7, the Detroit Free Press and our statewide media polling partners in Lansing, Flint and Grand Rapids.
The 600 sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.0 percent which makes the fight for Michigan's top political job a statistical toss-up.
Bernie Porn, president of the Lansing polling firm that commissioned the survey, explained the turn of events this way. "Schauer has become better known to voters over the last several months, and Snyder's recent problems and bad publicity is suppressing the Governor's support." Porn then added, "I'm surprised that Snyder is no longer in the lead in a state where the economy is improving but many of the problems he faces are of his own making. It is rare for a sitting governor to be trailing in the polls."
Schauer, a former state legislator from Battle Creek, has been slowly chipping away at Snyder's lead. In our exclusive WXYZ-TV 7/Detroit Free Press poll from May 2014, Snyder was in front 47 - 38 percent. In our July survey, Snyder's lead had slipped to 3 points, 46 - 43 percent.
When respondents were asked to rate Snyder's job performance in our recent August survey, he received a negative rating of 59 percent and a positive rating of 40 percent.
Only 1 percent were undecided. In July, Snyder earned a 55 percent negative rating and a 44 percent positive rating.
As for Michigan's economy, 46 percent now believe it is headed in the right direction, 41 percent say it is on the wrong track.
The final election is in November so there is plenty of time for voters to see a lot more twists and turns in the polling numbers.
The EPIC MRA survey was conducted August 22 - 25. Twenty percent of the likely Michigan voters who responded did so via their cell phones.
VIEW POLL BELOW:
Overall, would you say that things in Michigan are generally headed in the right direction, or, have things pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?
46% Right direction
41% Wrong track
Now, I would like to read the names of several political figures. For each one, please tell me if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of that person.
Barack Obama - Total Favorable: 47% Total Unfavorable: 48%
Rick Snyder - Total Favorable: 45% Total Unfavorable: 46%
Mark Schauer - Total Favorable: 26% Total Unfavorable: 21%
Overall, how would you rate the job being done by Barack Obama as President -- would you give him a positive rating of excellent or pretty good, or a negative rating of just fair or poor?
59% Total Negative
40% Total Positive
30% Pretty good
21% Just fair
Overall, how would you rate the job Rick Snyder has done as Michigan’s Governor – would you give him a positive rating of excellent or pretty good, or a negative rating of just fair or poor?
57% Total Negative
41% Total Positive
33% Pretty good
29% Just fair
Thinking about the economy in Michigan, do you believe Michigan’s economy...
64% Has already bottomed out and is starting to improve
22% Is at the bottom but is not yet getting any better
11% Has not yet bottomed out and will still get worse