Debbie Stabenow (D-inc): 51 (50)Does ad man Fred Davis have the same relationship to Republican candidates as Acme Corporation has to Wile E. Coyote? Davis's ads have a lot of gee-whiz out-of-the-box appeal ... but as soon as they get deployed, they just blow up in the user's face. In the 2010 cycle alone, we watched Carly Fiorina and Dino Rossi plummeting down into box canyons trailing smoke to the tune of a slide whistle, thanks to "Demon Sheep" and "Tennis Shoes" respectively, but now Davis is getting an earlier start this cycle, with his jaw-droppingly racist Super Bowl ad having exploded all over Peter Hoekstra. There was pundit consensus (even among Republicans) that Hoekstra's ad did him more harm than good, but the question was whether that would translate into long-term damage in the polls.
Peter Hoekstra (R): 37 (41)
Undecided: 12 (9)
Debbie Stabenow (D-inc): 50 (--)
Clark Durant (R): 33 (--)
Undecided: 16 (--)
Short answer: Yes, at least according to PPP's new sample. (Now, maybe its effects will wear off over the months as the ad fades down the memory hole, but it's a terrible way to make a first impression.) Debbie "Spend-it-now," who previously led by an average of 7 over PPP's last three polls of the race, now leads by 14. While Stabenow isn't setting the world on fire, with 47/41 approvals, Hoekstra managed to drive his favorables down from 31/30 last July to 28/38 now. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they were familiar with Hoekstra's ad, and of them, only 16 percent said it would make them more likely to vote for him while 45 percent said it would make them less likely.
This should be heartening to charter school entrepreneur Clark Durant, Hoekstra's main opposition in the GOP primary, but PPP finds him in even worse shape, trailing Stabenow by 17 and sporting 8/24 faves (but that has mostly to do with his lack of name rec ... PPP didn't poll him in July, so we don't know whether he's actually improved his position since then). The poll of the Republican primary doesn't look any better for Durant: Hoekstra leads him 42-9, with 6 for Scotty Boman, 4 for Gary Glenn, 2 for Randy Hekman, 1 for Peter Konetchy and Rick Wilson, and 0 for Chuck Marino.