Why Senator-Elect Gary Peters won: Michigan’s Purple Split Ticket Party Voters

Photo Credit – WZZM.com

Michigan is a Purple State full of split ticket voters. In a say it loud from the rooftop scenario again: Michigan is a Purple State fill of split ticket voters.

 For a Statewide or Federal candidate to win during a general election, the potential office holder must appeal broadly to Michigan’s deeply blue, light blue, purple, purple-red and deeply red counties. Senator-Elect Gary Peters knew full well how to ride the five colors in the Crayola crayon box called Michigan, and won.

Let’s examine the numbers shall we:


Unofficial Numbers from the Michigan Secretary of State website as of November 5, 2014

 Gary Peters (D): 1,702,460 or 54.58%              Terri Lynn Land (R): 1,288,126 41.37%

Peters received about 414.334 votes more than Land gained statewide. 

Now let’s look at the County Split. Michigan has 83 Countries in total which are a mix of the five colors in the Crayola Crayon box — despite the Red and Blue appearance on the map below.

Photo Credit – Google/ Michigan Election Senate

Observing the mitten and bunny shape in appearance parts of Michigan, Senator-Elect Peters nearly split a mix of blue, light blue, purple, purple red and light red counties. When Democrats win Statewide in Michigan, a Purple state at best, the generally map looks like this.

Need more proof. 

Let’s compare Senator-Elect Peters win via the numbers, to former Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) two wins in 2002 and 2006.

Granholm’s 2006 victory statistical data as an Incumbent Governor:

Jennifer Granholm (D)  2,142,513 or 56.3%                           Dick DeVos (R) 1,608,086 or 42.3%

For Granholm’s 2002 victory, the data was much closer. One important notation is before Granholm’s win over Dick Posthumus (R), Michigan had a Republican Governor for twelve years prior named John Engler.

Jennifer Granholm (D) 1,633,796 or 51.4%                      Dick Posthumus (R) 1,506,104 or 47.4%

The margin of Granholm’s 2002 victory was smaller 4.0% over the former Governor’s 2006 victory of 14% over Amway Founder and Right to Work for Less legislation cohort Dick DeVos.

However, some patterns are clear in Granholm’s and Peters’ victories.

First, is the winning candidate usual gains over 50% of the vote in Michigan. Two, the minimum standard for victory in Michigan in a Statewide election is about 1.6 million or above votes. Three, the candidate must appeal outside of the traditional deep blue areas of S.E. Michigan into the light blue, purple, purple/red countries in the rest of Michigan.

Still not sold on the analysis.

Fine, let’s examine the recently re-elected Gov. Rick Snyder’s road to victory in 2010 and 2014.

Let’s start with Snyder’s 2010 race where the Governor campaigned as “One-Tough Nerd” and a “Moderate Republican” to have cross-over appeal to split ticket Democrats and self-described Independents.

 Rick Snyder (R) 1,874,834 or 58.11%                   Virg Bernero (D) 1,287,320 or 39.90%

In 2010, the Snyder campaign strategy worked. Many self-described Democrats voted for the Republican candidate over Democrat Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero by 584,514 votes, or a 18.21% margin.

However, notice how Snyder beat Granholm’s 2002 victory total by about 200K votes. Eight years later in 2010, Bernero underperformed in his lost compared to Posthumus by 218,784 votes.

Some state voters stayed home in 2010, in similar to many other areas across the country. Yet, the data suggest if a first time Statewide prospective candidate for office appeals to the Michigan Crayola Crayon box mix of shades of blue, purple and red voters and countries, they will win.

And if they do not, or worse the campaign message fails to gain Split Ticket voters of Michigan, the below action will occur.

Photo Credit – Google/Michigan Election Governor 2014


This sea of red map is Michigan’s mitten and bunny shaped areas as they voted for the 2014 Gubernatorial race.

Notice the difference between the Governor’s Race Map and the U.S. Senate Race Map for Gary Peters. Specifically the map has plenty more red and a lot less blue.

Now let’s pivot to examine the numbers between Rick Snyder’s reelection quest and challenger former Congressman Mark Schauer (D) attempt to unseat a Michigan Governor vying for a second term.

Unofficial Numbers from the Michigan Secretary of State website as of November 5, 2014

Rick Snyder (R) 1,605,034 or 50.95%                  Mark Schauer (D) 1,476,904 or 46.83%

A couple of data points immediately stand out. 

First, Schauer lost to Governor Rick Snyder by 4.1% points similar to the same percentage, Granholm won over opponent Posthumus in 2002.  Second, the split between the two candidates was 128,130 votes or approximately 286,204 voters in Michigan split their ballots to vote for Senator-Elect Gary Peters instead of Mark Schauer.

If a clear examination of the data does not confirm again, that Michigan is a Purple state, it is unknown what will solidify facts of this Great Lakes Blue state reality.

The facts are the following:

*To win statewide candidates must create a split ticket vote in Michigan at the ballot box. Peters did so effectively in 2014, he won. Snyder was effective at this in 2010 and 2014, however to a lesser amount on his second reelection quest; he won. Granholm pattern in 2006 was similar to Snyder’s victory in 2010, and the close nature of Granholm’s win in 2002 by the numbers nearly mirrored Snyder’s 2014 win. Voters split their tickets in Michigan and this is a reality.



*The Michigan Democratic Party of gaining “new” of “disaffected” voters from 2010, barely worked in 2014. In fact, it appears these voters might seem to have existed in Michigan regardless, as if one was to compare the numbers of Granholm/Posthumus 2002 race and Schauer/Snyder 2014 contest, they are very similar in nature.

*The issue appears to be while Senator-Elect Gary Peters Campaign worked well at gaining split ticket voters, Mark Schauer’s campaign did not. Congressman Peters recent 2012 hotly contested 14th Congressional District was victorious against a sea of Democratic candidates in an area redistricted by Republicans in the U.S. House. 


Also, one would not be giving Peters campaign the credit it is due on the successful win without highlighting the Candidate lives in Oakland County — home of the famous “Reagan Democrats”.


*The only way to slightly the impact of split ticket purple party voters is a robust election turnout of Michigan’s largest city of Detroit approximately 300K registered voters, who primary vote for Democrats when and IF they vote.


*On Tuesday Detroit’s voter turnout was
31.41% or less than 32% of the total potential voters in the primarily Democrat stronghold. Nearly little to no movement, percentage wise, took place in voter turnout from November 2, 2010 General Election were only 31.40% or registered voters hit the polls. The Michigan Democratic Party managed to increase turnout in Detroit by only .01% from 2010 to 2014 General Elections.

State Democrats have much work to do before the 2016 Elections where Statewide a slim opportunity to take over the majority of the chamber exist or to gain some seats at best.

Unless a 360 degree view based on Michigan’s historical statewide candidate voting history is done on why Gary Peters won while other Statewide Democratic candidates with the exception of the State Board of Education and one Michigan Supreme Court pick up — lost; the bloodbath seen on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 will continue.



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