Inside and outside of Oakland

Is latest poll a signal of tough times for incumbents?

  Republican challenger Rocky Raczkowski has the lead over first-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Gary Peters in the 9th Congressional District, an independent weekly tracking poll released Wednesday indicates.

  The automated poll conducted Sept. 13 of 300 likely voters in the 9th Congressional District has Raczkowski at 45 percent and Peters at 40.7 percent with 10.3 percent undecided.
  The poll was conducted by The Rossman Group in partnership with Team TelCom.
  Kelly Rossman-McKinney, chief executive officer and founder of the Lansing-based Rossman Group, said Raczkowski is benefiting from the sour mood of voters toward Congress.
  “It’s no secret that Democrats have been gaining ground in Oakland County over the past decade,” Rossman-McKinney said in an e-mail. “But Congressman Peters has some work to do if he wants to make sure the anti-incumbent mood sweeping the country doesn’t sweep him out of office after just one term.”
  Dan Farough, spokesman for Peters, questioned the validity of the poll because it was automated, has a high margin of error and a small sample size.
  “A lot of people are doing polls now, some done well and some not done well,” Farough said. “One thing we do see consistent in every poll is that the more voters learn about Rocky Raczkowski the more troubled they become. Raczkowski’s support for privatizing Social Security and putting corporations and special interests ahead of small businesses and middle-class families are not the sort of policies Oakland County voters want in their representative.”
  The 9th Congressional District represents Pontiac, Lake Angelus, Auburn Hills, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Orchard Lake, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy, Clawson, Royal Oak, Berkley, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, and the townships of Southfield, Waterford, West Bloomfield, Oakland and part of Orion.
  The poll also looked at the races for governor, secretary of state and attorney general.
  In the race for governor, 400 likely voters polled statewide  gave Republican businessman Rick Snyder a 51.3 percent to 31.8 percent lead over Lansing mayor and Democrat Virg Bernero with 17 percent undecided.
  Voters polled also indicated they preferred Republican Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson over Democrat Jocelyn Benson of Wayne County for secretary of state by a 42.3 percent to 28 percent margin with 29.8 percent undecided.
  In the attorney general’s race, Midland Republican Bill Schuette led Democrat Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton of Genesee County 40.3 percent to 31 percent with 28.8 percent undecided.
  The 9th Congressional District is one of the battleground districts in Michigan this year.
Located entirely within Oakland County borders, Peters of Bloomfield Township defeated a long-term incumbent Republican congressman in the 2008 election and Republicans want the 9th District Congressional seat back.
  Raczkowski of Farmington Hills won a four-way Republican primary in August to get the GOP nomination.
  “This poll reflects the fact that Gary Peters said one thing and does another,” Raczkowski said. “From Obamacare to the stimulus to tax cuts, Gary said one thing to middle-class families in Oakland County and then goes to Washington, D.C., and votes the other way. Voters want a candidate with a rock-solid commitment to cut taxes and stop spending so our economy can start creating jobs again.”
  The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percent.
  The Rossman Group has been tracking the statewide races weekly, said Josh Hovey of the Rossman Group, but have added additional questions each week.
  Hovey said additional questions have asked voters whether they support making Michigan a right-to-work state, preferences for the state supreme court and now their preferences in the 9th Congressional race.
  “It’s not clear whether we’re going to do the 9th again,” said Hovey, adding that voters may be asked about other high-profile congressional races in future polls.

  Contact Charles Crumm at 248-745-4649, charlie.crumm@oakpress.com or follow him on Twitter @crummc.

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