Back in the summer, Virg Bernero got a roar from a partisan crowd of 3,500 when he was introduced as the next governor of Michigan at the Michigan Education Association’s rally June 24 at The Capitol in Lansing.
But as it turned out, Bernero may not have been the sweetheart candidate of the union members after all, according to a researcher of teachers’ unions.
The GOP’s Rick Snyder won the race for Governor when he got 58 percent of the vote. Bernero, the Democratic Mayor of Lansing, got 40 percent of the vote on Nov. 2.
Mike Antonucci, director of the Education Intelligence Agency in California, said that just 52 percent of the certified MEA members (teachers and other professionals who hold some type of credential) voted for Bernero.
Antonucci said only 39 percent of the education support members (custodial and non-teachers) voted for Bernero. That percentage was just below the general electorate.
The results may also signify the MEA membership is less partisan than the union leadership. A 2005-06 National Education Association survey found 45 percent of teachers under 30 classified themselves as conservative and 63 percent of teachers age 40 to 49 classified themselves as conservative.
“This is useful information for reform-minded leaders encountering the union's scorched-earth defense of unsustainable benefits and unacceptable outcomes,” wrote Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, in an e-mail.
Doug Pratt, MEA spokesman, didn’t return an e-mail to verify the MEA voting breakdown on the gubernatorial election.