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Does Michigan roads Proposal 1 have a prayer? Campaigns say turnout key in unique election

LANSING, MI — Michigan roads Proposal 1 is polling badly, but supporters and opponents both say the unusual nature of the May 5 ballot measure makes the outcome difficult to predict.

“It’s a cliche, I guess, but the only poll that matters is the one that’s taken on May 5, and we continue to focus on turnout,” said Roger Martin, a spokesman for the Safe Roads Yes campaign, which is supporting the ballot proposal.

“This is such an anomaly of an election. We’ve never done in this state, that I can remember or find, a single-issue May off-year election. Ever. So who’s going to turn out on May 5? Who the heck knows?”

Ask around, and it’s not hard to find strong opinions on Proposal 1. Some people simply can’t stand the prospect of a nearly $2 billion tax increase. Some are mad lawmakers even put it on the ballot. Most are fed up with the state of Michigan roads.

Will those strong opinions propel voters to the polls even if there are no candidates or other issues on the ballot? Will the complex nature of the ballot question itself scare people off once it’s actually staring them in the face?

“The polls are not indicative of the outcome. We have no way of knowing who’s going to turn out in a special election,” said Adam de Angeli, executive director of Concerned Taxpayers of Michigan, one of four opposition groups fighting the measure.