Morris offers new bogus poll numbers

Ambassador Bridge-Paid Poll Finds 48% Back Second Span

MIRS News

Close to 48 percent of Michigan voters would rather see the Ambassador Bridge build a second span over the Detroit River as opposed to the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) based on polling released today by Dick MORRIS, the Bridge’s hired gun.

The survey of 504 Michigan residents conducted over the past weekend was quickly thrashed by NITC supporters as a “13-question push poll” for stating as fact statements that Canadian and Michigan officials say are grossly inaccurate.

But Morris said he believes he “goes out of his way” to give supporters good wording on certain parts of the polls. The results, he said, are proof that the Ambassador Bridge’s television ads are working and that the public has decided overwhelming to oppose the bridge.

Morris wouldn’t go into the amount of money the Ambassador Bridge has spent on television ads, but did say they were running across the country in February and have been running statewide in recent weeks.

Exactly 47.8 percent said they would support a “privately owned extra span on the Ambassador Bridge. Another 30.2 percent said the backed a “new bridge owned by Canada and Michigan.”

“The public has decided overwhelming to oppose (the NITC). When you have something of this magnitude, where it approaches two-to-one, it’s a massive public rejection,” Morris said.

Asked if he felt the questions were 100 percent accurate, Morris said, “I think they are accurately descriptive of the point of view of each side.”

Tom SHIELDS of the Marketing Resource Group said the Morris 13-question “push poll” continues to “test the lies” told by the Ambassador Bridge folks.

“The questions that are accurate are the gender and party voting behavior questions,” he said. “Repeating the lies do not make them true. There are no Michigan taxpayer dollars being used for the construction of this bridge no matter how many times and how much money the Ambassador Bridge spends to repeat it.”

Reporters quizzed Morris about the poll’s wording starting with Question No. 2, which reads: “There are discussions now of building a new bridge to connect Canada and Michigan near Detroit. One proposal is for a new bridge paid for by the Canadian and Michigan governments. The other is for an additional privately owned span on the Ambassador Bridge entirely financed by private money. Which would you prefer . . . ?”

During today’s press availability on the poll inside the Governor’s Room at Karoub Associates, reporters questioned whether Michigan taxpayers would ever be in position to pay nothing. Legislation designed to create the public/private partnership needed to set up the managing authority for the bridge specifically relieves the state from being on the hook for one cent.

“It’s factually wrong,” said one reporter covering the event about some of the poll’s language.

“If you say so,” Morris said. “My understanding is different.”

Question 13 asks, “Supporters of the government bridge have proposed paying 10 percent of the cost of the bridge to the Detroit community, where the bridge will be built to provide golf courses, swimming pools and community centers. In view of this, would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose building the government bridge.

Reporters asked where Morris got this information. He said all of the aforementioned projects have been part of past community benefits projects. If NITC proponents want to take golf courses, swimming pools and community centers out of the equation “that’s fine,” but prior proposals have included such projects, Morris said.

NITC supporters have commissioned two polls on their project, including one asked by Bill BALLENGER for Inside Michigan Politics. That poll showed 66 percent support for the NITC as opposed to 23 against, Shields said.

A February statewide poll done by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce one week after the Governor’s State of the State address, showed that 89 percent of the respondents say they support the plan to build a new bridge to supplement the 81-year-old Ambassador Bridge. Nearly 70 percent (69) said they strongly favor it.

The poll question explained to voters that it would be built at no cost to Michigan taxpayers and that $2 billion in matching federal funds would be used for road construction and maintenance statewide