March 17 2010 12:00 AM

A new poll shows Bernero still trailing Dillon, plus a few other endorsements

Another week, another poll of the gubernatorial race.

Bill Ballenger, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics,
released an early snippet of a poll commissioned by Market Research Group that
shows Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero trailing Speaker of the House Andy Dillon
among likely — that is, hardcore —Democratic primary voters.

According to the poll, Dillon’s got 21 percent, Bernero 9
percent, and state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, D-Ypsilanti, 6 percent. The poll
queried 175 likely primary voters statewide between March 10 and March 15.
Including 133 probable voters along with the 175 — for 308 total — paints
a slightly different picture: Bernero stayed the same, while Dillon dropped to
18 percent, and Smith went up to 7 percent.

But the interesting thing about these numbers, Ballenger
said, is that a gigantic number of voters are simply undecided. When the same
poll was conducted last year and included Lt. Gov. John Cherry and Dillon,
Ballenger said, half of voters surveyed picked a candidate.

This could be good for Bernero, Ballenger said, because that
means there are a lot of votes out there to be picked up.

The poll of likely voters had a margin of error of plus or
minus 7.4 points. With probable voters included, the margin of error was plus
or minus 5.6 points.

In other gubernatorial news, the mayor picked up the
Facebook-announced endorsement of Paul Massaron, a member of the Wayne State
University Board of Governors. Massaron reported he met Bernero at Saturday’s
Buck Dinner — a rather secret fundraiser for social justice and other nonprofit
causes held yearly in an undisclosed location in southeast Michigan — and liked
what he had to say.

In other endorsements, Ingham County Register of Deeds
Curtis Hertel Jr. has thrown his support behind Bernero. Hertel said he was
initially a Cherry supporter, but switched to brand Bernero after Cherry
dropped out. Hertel reported that he is working on a fundraiser for Bernero
hosted by countywide elected officials — time, date and place to be announced.

In campaign stops this week, Bernero at the very least
visited the Allegan County Democrats last Wednesday, plus the aforementioned
Buck Dinner. Bernero has been invited to a Friday gubernatorial forum at the
downtown Lansing Radisson hosted by the Michigan Soybean Association, plus 18
other agri-business associations, but he has yet to RSVP, according to the