Hoekstra’s Racist and Xenophobic Ad Backfires: Trails Stabenow By 14 Points Now

Feb 14, 2012
4:46 pm

It was a story that ran around the Super Bowl, when GOP Michigan candidate for US Senate Peter Hoekstra (who "approved" of the message) ran the following ad during the local broadcast of the NFL gala event:

Add a few racist images on the website that was mentioned on the ad, and yeah, Hoekstra crossed a line.

Looks like Michigan voters have spoken, well at least in the latest polls, that now shows Hoekstra trailing US Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) by 14 points in state that has had its share of economic issues the last few years. This is what PPP reports:

Debbie Stabenow's taken her biggest lead yet in 4 polls of the Michigan Senate race PPP has conducted dating back to December of 2010. She now leads Pete Hoekstra by 14 points, 51-37, and has an even wider 17 point advantage over Clark Durant at 50-33. In 3 previous polls Stabenow led Hoekstra by an average of just 7 points and on the most recent one, in July, her lead was 9.

What's interesting is that Stabenow's approval numbers have barely budged at all over the last 6 months. Over the summer we found her at 46/40, and now she's at 47/41.  But Hoekstra's numbers have taken a turn for the worst.  In July his favorability was narrowly positive at 31/30. Now he's dropped a net 11 points to a -10 spread at 28/38. There hasn't been a big shift in his numbers with Democrats or Republicans but with independents his numbers have flipped from +10 (33/23) to -10 (29/39).

Hoekstra appears to have been damaged by his controversial Super Bowl ad. 54% of voters in the state were familiar with it, and within that group 45% said it made them less likely to vote for him compared to only 16% who considered it a positive and 37% who said it didn't make a difference to them either way. Independents said they were turned off by it and he's gone from leading with them by 6 points in July to now trailing by 4 points.