Mackinac Island — Gov. Rick Snyder arrives here Wednesday for an annual policy conference typically focused on his agenda with the lowest job approval rating of his six years in office.
A new statewide poll released exclusively to The Detroit News and WDIV-TV shows 52 percent of likely Michigan voters disapprove of Snyder’s performance as Michigan’s chief executive, while just under 40 percent approve of the job he’s doing. It comes amid a political crisis fueled by the five-month public health emergency in Flint.
Snyder’s job rating is nearly opposite what it was a year ago, when Glengariff Group Inc.’s June 2015 statewide survey showed the Republican governor had a 55 percent approval rating and 39 percent of voters disapproved of his performance.
The May 24-26 poll showed 33 percent of voters strongly disapprove of Snyder’s performance while 9 percent feel strongly that Snyder is doing a good job.
“That intensity is really coming from the strong Democrats where this Flint issue is playing,” pollster Richard Czuba said. “The Flint water issue has turned Democrats forcefully against Snyder, and it’s turned the opinion of independents as well.”
Snyder isn’t concentrating on politics, said Kyle Robertson, executive director of the governor’s Relentless Positive Action political action committee.
“The governor is focused everyday on continuing Michigan’s comeback and making this state a better place for all Michiganders,” Robertson said.
The new telephone survey found 53 percent of independent voters disapprove of Snyder’s performance. In October 2014, Snyder had a 51 percent approval rating amount independent voters, who are credited with helping him win re-election the following month.
“Those independents in southeast Michigan have turned against him,” Czuba said.
The poll also found 33 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of the self-styled nerd governor, putting Snyder close to the political popularity with the leading candidates for president.
About 31 percent of likely general election voters had a favorable opinion of likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, while GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump was viewed favorably by 27 percent of voters, according to the survey.
Snyder, a former business executive, cannot seek another term as governor under voter-imposed constitutional term limits. He will formally kick off the annual Mackinac Policy Conference with opening remarks mid-day Wednesday and then deliver a keynote speech Thursday afternoon to the more than 1,700 attendees.