The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is not a political story, per se. It’s a man-made catastrophe affecting real people and endangering a real community. Families who have to fear the water coming out of their tap in their own home probably couldn’t care less about election results, talking points, or the latest pitch from a public-relations agency.
When you’re worried about your safety and that of your children, politics must seem very small.
That said, Flint’s crisis isn’t a natural disaster; it’s a disaster that was imposed on the city by politicians. It’s difficult to separate politics from the scandal because it was the decisions from political officials that created the crisis in the first place.
And with that in mind, the Detroit Free Press reported yesterday on the results of a new EPIC-MRA poll of Michigan residents, which is the first statewide survey since the public at large first became aware of the Flint disaster (thanks to my colleague Laura Conaway for the heads-up).
Gov. Rick Snyder’s popularity and job approval numbers have plummeted as a result of the Flint drinking water catastrophe, with 69% of those surveyed saying the Republican governor has handled the crisis poorly. […]Overall, when more than just the Flint drinking water issue is considered, only 39% say Snyder is doing a good job as governor and 58% say he is doing a poor job, according to the poll of 600 likely voters, made available exclusively to the Free Press, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), and statewide media partners.
Snyder, who was re-elected to a second term in late 2014 with 51% of the vote, had a 45% approval rating last summer. His favorability ratings are also now underwater.
Most Michigan voters, who also elected a Republican-led legislature in the last cycle, are not, however, eager to see the governor forced from office. The same poll found that 29% of those surveyed want Snyder to resign, while 61% do not.
As additional details come to light about culpability in this scandal, that number may yet change.
Of course, all of this coincides with last night’s town-hall meeting in Flint, which Rachel hosted, and which I really hope readers took the time to watch.
If you missed it – or if you want to watch it again – here are the links to the segments (there’s also a dedicated page):