New Republican Gov. Rick Snyder remains popular in Michigan, and Democratic President Barack Obama also gets high marks in a new News 10 Voice of the Voter poll released Thursday.
The poll shows 53 percent have a favorable opinion of Obama, who in the same poll in late-October only a 46 percent favorable rating and a 50 percent unfavorable rating in a state that could prove crucial to his 2012 re-election hopes. This month, 40 percent had an unfavorable opinion of Obama and 7 percent were undecided.
The president's job rating also improved, but remains below 50 percent. This month, 45 percent gave him a positive job rating while 54 percent gave him a negative one, with 1 percent undecided. Last October, the split was 39 percent positive to 60 percent negative, with 1 percent undecided.
Snyder, who has been in office less than a month, is viewed favorably by 59 percent of voters and unfavorable by only 8 percent. Asked how they'd rate the job he's doing, 38 percent gave him a positive rating, 15 percent a negative one, and 47 percent were undecided.
The poll of 600 of likely voters was conducted Saturday through Monday, less than a week after Snyder delivered his first State of the State address. It showed 43 percent of likely voters think Michigan is moving in the right direction, while 34 percent think it's on the wrong track and 23 percent are undecided. Those numbers, while still reflecting the strain of Michigan's troubled economy, are a decided improvement from Democrat Jennifer Granholm's most recent years as governor.
"After 70 percent or more saying that Michigan has been off on the wrong track for the past couple of years, there has been a remarkable turnaround on this key measure of public opinion," EPIC-MRA's Bernie Porn wrote in his polling memo.
Voters apparently are feeling better about the state after hearing Snyder's plan for reinventing Michigan. Fifty-six percent said they approved of what Snyder said in his Jan. 19 address, while 39 percent were undecided and 5 percent disapproved. How Snyder will balance an estimated $1.8 billion budget shortfall and pay for an expected rollback in business taxes won't be known until he releases his 2011-2012 budget proposal in mid-February.
Only 30 percent say the Michigan economy is getting stronger while 50 percent say it's staying about the same. Seventeen percent think it's getting weaker.
Last October, 39 percent thought the economy would improve over the next six to 12 months, 43 percent thought it would stay the same and 12 percent thought it would get worse. Six percent were undecided in October, compared to 3 percent this month.
Both the January and October polls had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.