Which way in Michigan?

In early August, I ended a post about four Michigan congressional races (MI-1, MI-5, MI-7, and MI-9) by speculating that “in a pretty good Republican year, the party picks up two Michigan seats. In a ‘wave’ election, it picks up three; and in a blowout of historical portions, four.” With election day almost upon us, let’s take another look at these races, plus one that wasn’t on my radar in August.
MI-1 is currently held by Bart Stupak who is retiring. Republican Dan Benishek has maintained a small lead throughout the campaign. In the last poll I found, he was up 42-40. A conservative third candidate was pulling 8 percent. Some of that margin may fall Benishek’s way on election day. Both Nate Silver and Larry Sabato prefer Benishek’s chances in this race. I think it will be a Republican pick-up.
MI-9 is held by Gary Peters. His challenger is Rocky Raczkowski. This has been nip-and-tuck in the polls. A recent EPIC/MRA poll had Peters up 48-43. However, EPIC/MRA has its detractors and a new poll by Great Lakes Strategies shows Rocky ahead by the same numbers. Both Silver and Sabato see Peters as the favorite, but in light of the new poll, perhaps it should be considered a toss-up (I don’t believe Sabato is using the toss-up category in his final predictions). With the Republican gubernatorial candidate holding a 17 point lead in this district, I’d probably bet on Rocky.
MI-7 is held by Mark Schauer. The challenger is Tim Wallberg. Two recent polls have Schauer ahead by 7 points. However, I’ve heard that internal polling has the race basically even, and both Silver and Sabato see Wallberg as the favorite. The Repubican gubernatorial candidate is strong in this district, but Wallberg’s Republican backing reportedly isn’t as solid as it could be. This is a race I wouldn’t bet on.
MI-5 is held by Dale Kildee. The challenger is John Kupiec. Kildee has been ahead in every poll I’ve seen, although one recent poll has Kupiec within 4.5 points. Silver and Sabato see it going Democratic. However, John Fund sees the real possibility of an upset. The district, which includes Flint, is economically depressed, and Kildee is 81 years old. Even so, I think I’d bet on Kildee to hang on to this seat.
Since I wrote my August post, MI-15, held by John Dingell, has come into play. In early October, a poll showed him trailing challenger Rob Steele. But last week, an EPIC/MRA poll had Dingell leading Steele 53-36. Silver and Sabato see Dingell holding the seat, and that’s how I would bet.
So the over-under on Michigan pick-ups looks to me like 2.5.


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