Democrat Mark Schauer is inching closer in his campaign to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.
Schauer is still trailing the governor with 39 percent of likely voters, compared with 42 percent for Snyder, the Detroit News reports. The results of the poll of 600 potential voters by the bipartisan public relations firm Lambert, Edwards & Associates were released exclusively to the Detroit News.
The report said that although Snyder has increased public education spending $1 billion during his three years in office, 53.8 percent thought education spending had declined, while only 18 percent said it had risen.
Even among his Republican base, Snyder is fighting the perception that he’s cut spending for public education, with 34 percent saying state school aid has declined. Only 27.5 percent of Republicans said it had increased, and 35 percent were unsure.
That’s could be a problem for the governor, T.J. Bucholz, senior director of public affairs for the firm conducting the poll, told the newspaper.
“They are going to be on the road trying to convince voters that they have increased education funding to the highest level since ’09, and while that may be true, it’s not what the voters believe right now,” he said.
Schauer, a former congressman from Battle Creek, has been running an ad paid for by the Democratic Governors Association that blast Snyder’s record on public education, saying he cut direct aid to schools by nearly $1 billion during his first year in office.
Snyder said the majority of the $470-per-pupil cut in 2011 resulted from the expiration of one-time federal aid of $300 per student. He also said he put money into different areas of education, including teacher retirement payments, the newspaper said.
Though the poll results don’t reflect Snyder’s actual record on education spending, “the poll confirms what parents and school leaders have been saying for a while: We need to invest in the classroom and schools,” William Mayes, Michigan Association of School administrators, told the newspaper.>>> Read more poll results on The Detroit News.