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Prop 2 Leading, Still Under 50%; 34% Undecided

September 25, 2018

Voters are supporting the redistricting reform ballot question, Proposal 2, at less than 50 percent when voters read the actual ballot language and asked to indicate how they’d vote, according to new polling commissioned by MIRS and Governmental Consulting Services Inc. (GCSI).

Creating a 13-member commission to handle the decennial congressional and legislative district drawing process is currently supported by 43 percent of likely voters, according to the 800-person sample taken Sept. 11-14 by Target Insyght. Another 23 percent were opposed, with 34 percent undecided. 

The MIRS/GCSI poll is the first survey to read to respondents the language that voters will confront in the voting booth on Nov. 6. Prior polls used other descriptions to inform those being polled. A poll conducted for the Detroit News and WDIV by the Glengariff Group had Proposal 2 at 38 percent support, 31 percent opposed and 31 percent undecided. 

The Target Insyght voter sample included 16 percent aged 18-34, 22 percent aged 35-49, 25 percent aged 50-60 and 37 percent aged 61 and older. The partisan breakdown was 38 percent Republican, 46 percent Democrat and 9 percent Independents. 

“What we know from the experience of other states that have passed redistricting reforms is that the more people know, the more likely they will be to support Proposal 2,” said Elizabeth Battiste, a Voters Not Politicians spokesperson. 

“We feel confident that when voters hear our message that voters should pick their politicians and not the other way around, undecideds will vote yes. 

“Our campaign is spreading this message to voters across Michigan. We believe that given the choice between our current system, where politicians draw lines in secret to benefit themselves or a political party, or our solution, which will put citizens in charge of drawing lines in open meetings and prohibit maps that benefit a certain politician or party, voters will vote YES on Proposal 2.” 

Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution, which had been trying to defeat Proposal 2 in the courts, is not actively running a public relations campaign against the proposal, although most Republican operatives are opposing it. 

Voters were presented with the following question: 

Create a commission of 13 registered voters randomly selected by the Secretary of State: 4 each who self-identify as affiliated with the 2 major political parties; and 5 who self-identify as unaffiliated with major political parties. Prohibit partisan officeholders and candidates, their employees, certain relatives, and lobbyists from serving as commissioners. Establish new redistricting criteria including geographically compact and contiguous districts of equal population, reflecting Michigan’s diverse population and communities of interest. 

Districts shall not provide disproportionate advantage to political parties or candidates. Require an appropriation of funds for commission operations and commissioner compensation. Should this proposal pass? 

When just the title of the Proposal 2 was read, 43 percent were in support, 24 percent were opposed and 34 percent were undecided. On a partisan basis, 64 percent of Democrats support Proposal 2, as do 34 percent of Republicans. 

Another 39 percent of Republicans are opposed. Among Democrats, only 16 percent are opposed. 

“Without education or promotion, these ballot proposals don’t stand by themselves,” said Ed Sarpolus, president of Target Insyght. “Similar proposals in the past, where we used promoter words, or biased words in, they pass 50 percent. But if you read the ballot language, they don’t pass.” 

Sarpolus is quick to say the poll results on Proposal 2 shouldn’t be interpreted as suggesting they can’t pass, just that without support and education, they won’t pass based on the official ballot wording. 

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