Five answers to your questions before Tuesday’s General Election

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I don’t consider myself part of a truth squad, nor do I want to be.

In political campaigns, the layers of gray behind “truth” are so numerous that often it’s only those who want to see black and white who see exactly that.

The rest have questions. They want to cut through the talking points and the jargon to get un-sanitized answers. These folks have asked me, as someone who follows this stuff for a living, some questions about the 2022 mid-term election. 

Presuming that typically more than one person has the same question, I thought I’d share those with you today along with my answers.

1. Will Proposal 3 eliminate Michigan’s law requiring any minor seeking an abortion to first receive parental consent? Does it allow younger teenagers to get on hormone blockers without their parents knowing?

The short answer is not explicitly. The language of the proposal does not automatically repeal every law restricting abortion, but it could.

The constitutional amendment could overturn any law that arguably conflicts with an individual’s right to an abortion.

How likely is that? It depends on the attorney you’re talking to. To say Proposal 3 automatically returns Michigan to pre-Dobbs and post-Roe isn’t accurate. It could in time, but that’s assuming every subsequent lawsuit doesn’t overturn existing law. Nobody should assume that.

2. Does Proposal 1 really shorten legislative term limits?

For some it does. For others, it does not. Proposal 1 adds experience in the state House by allowing state representatives to serve 12 years instead of six and then trying for eight more in the Senate.

Under Prop 1, no more serving 14 years combined in both the House and Senate. 

This proposal allows legislators to serve a total of 12 years combined in the House and Senate, but unless redistricting messes with a district, why would anyone switch between the chambers?

Realistically, it put the state House and state Senate on equal footing in terms of experience, ends the shuffling around, but will widen the divide between the two chambers because fewer members will know each other.

3. Why are the polls on the governor’s race so different? One says Whitmer is up 18 points. Another says it’s tied. Whom do I believe?

Polls vary depending on the pollster. They all use varying methods to capture a snapshot of what they feel the electorate will look like on Election Day.

That said, all of the Michigan gubernatorial polls have been consistent on a couple of points:

1. Whitmer is around 49%-53% in support in head-to-head matchups.

2. There are few undecideds. 

The question has been the ability for the pollsters to get Republicans to respond to their polls and to be honest with them. Even when a pollster bends over backward to get these voters, Whitmer is up every single time. 

My best projection is Whitmer wins with 53% or 52%. Anything outside of three points will be a surprise.

4. What surprise should we look out for?

Matt DePerno could be Michigan’s next attorney general. I’d give it a 35% chance. This is more about Nessel than DePerno, whose resume hasn’t been exploited as much as it could have been.

Nessel’s blunt, take-it-or-leave-it personality attracts some and repels others. She’s also taken on issues that have turned some people off, whether it’s her handling of the Flint Water Crisis, prosecuting old Catholic priests, arresting people for violating the governor’s COVID orders or trying to shut down Line 5.

Also, DePerno used his natural political instincts to become the defacto unifier within the Michigan Republican Party. Republicans respect him.

5. Could Tom Barrett defeat U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin in MI-7?

Yes, but it’s less than an even shot. This is a Lansing-based district that is trending the wrong way for Republicans. It’s a 50/50 district, and Barrett is a quality candidate, but the late D.C. money seems to be moving to Paul Junge in the Flint-Tri Cities 8th District, which is becoming much more Trumpy.

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