A new Michigan poll conducted by Denno Research was released on Monday. The results of the poll show Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) up by 3 points over Terri Lynn Land in the state’s US Senate race. Land and Peters are running for the seat that will be vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin. 40% of voters prefer Peters at this point, compared to 37 % for Land, the state’s former Secretary of State. 22% are still undecided.
This is a reversal of fortune in the race. The previous five polls all had Land up. Last month’s EPIC-MRA poll showed Land up by three points. January’s Harper poll had Peters down by 8 points. This poll is the first one to show Peters with a lead and represents a six-point swing for the Democrat.
It would appear that Peters jumping up in the polls coincides with the Koch-backed SuperPAC Americans for Prosperity running an extremely dishonest ad last month targeting Peters and his support for the Affordable Care Act. The ad, featuring a woman claiming that Obamacare is unaffordable and potentially life-threatening to her, was lambasted by fact-checkers for being untruthful and greatly exaggerating the woman’s plight. The truth came out that the woman’s premiums had actually been cut in half, she was able to keep her same doctor and, due to a cap on out-of-pocket expenses, she would actually save $1,200 a year due to the ACA.
The level of mendacity in the ad made national headlines and emboldened Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to call out the Koch brothers during remarks on the Senate floor recently. Instead of apologizing for the outright lies in the ad, AFP instead tried to shame and criticize Reid and Democrats for picking on a woman with cancer. In fact, they even double-downed and ran another ad featuring her, but this time with her claiming the plan just doesn’t work for her and making sure not to say it is ‘unaffordable.’ At the same time, a conservative meme started making the rounds that the Koch brothers are not overly influential in politics and that unions outspend the Kochs during elections. This, of course, has been proven false.
It appears that the anti-ACA ads by AFP in Michigan are actually having a reverse effect and are now hurting Land. Trying to push the envelope and highlight a false Obamacare ‘horror story’ has backfired on Republicans and provided Peters with a boost. The fact that AFP is unapologetic and still trying to push the ‘Obamacare is bad and needs to be repealed’ narrative shows how utterly dense they really are. It also shows they have no real strategy. They are going to ride this one-trick pony, in Michigan and elsewhere, all the way to the finish. Win or lose.