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Is Kid Rock Popular Enough in Michigan to Win?

by Carrie Dann /  / Updated 
Image: Kid Rock
Kid Rock introduces Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Bouchard during a campaign rally at the Royal Oak Music Theater on November 2, 2006 in Royal Oak, Mich. fileGary Malerba / AP file

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WASHINGTON — Kid Rock, the provocative musician who calls himself the “Pimp of the Nation” and peppers his lyrics and political rhetoric with unprintable language, wouldn’t exactly be a typical Senate candidate.

But, at least right now, the rocker’s popularity ratings aren’t dramatically different from other more traditional politicians in his home state of Michigan.

Related: Trump’s Approval Rating Stands Below 40 Percent in Three Key Midwest States

A new NBC News/Marist poll shows that 36 percent of registered voters in Michigan have a favorable opinion of Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie. That's compared to 34 percent who have an unfavorable opinion of him and another 30 percent aren’t sure or haven’t heard of him.

In a mid-July tweet, Ritchie announced that he was considering a run for Senate and verified that KidRockforSenate.com was a legit website. But many observers remain skeptical that he will actually run. Still, some Republican groups are carefully considering whether Ritchie could harness anti-establishment sentiment to unseat Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Stabenow, who has held the Senate seat since 2000, is only marginally more popular, with 39 percent of voters giving her a thumbs up, compared to 32 percent who have an unfavorable view.

And at a net positive rating of +2, Ritchie enjoys a sunnier popularity score than either the state’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, or the nation’s Republican president. Snyder is viewed favorably by 37 percent of voters, while 48 percent view him unfavorably; Donald Trump’s favorability in the Wolverine State is also underwater, at 34 percent favorable, 59 percent unfavorable.

While about a quarter of Republicans aren’t sold on his bid, Ritchie, who would likely not be able to use his stage name on the ballot, may be getting a look from less traditional GOP voters because of his celebrity status.

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He gets a favorable rating from 44 percent of Republicans in the state, while 25 percent of GOP voters say they aren’t fans. But he performs fairly well with independents (38 percent favorable / 30 percent unfavorable), and he appears to be benefiting from his name recognition among younger voters, who view him positively by a margin of 45 percent to 29 percent. Forty-two percent of white voters without a college degree also rate him positively, compared to 29 percent who disagree.

Stabenow gets a positive rating from 61 percent of Democrats in the state, while 14 percent disagree.

But more than half of young voters say they haven’t heard of her or don’t have an opinion.

The NBC/Marist poll were conducted August 13-17. The survey polled 795 voters in Michigan and has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.5 percentage points.

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