A new poll of likely voters in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District shows that Democrat and first-time candidate Dr. Matt Longjohn starts the general election campaign just 5 points behind 32-year incumbent Fred Upton,despite being largely unknown. More important, when voters hear balanced profiles of both candidates, with Upton’s profile based on language from his own website, Longjohn vaults into a commanding 11-point lead. This poll shows that while the electorate here remains conservative and still leans slightly toward the Republicans, the environment is much more favorable to Democrats than might be expected. Barack Obama is much more popular than Donald Trump, and the Republican health care bill –which Upton authored –is extremely unpopular. Moreover, as evidenced by the impressive movement outlined above, voters are hungry for an independent political outsider, like Longjohn. This poll clearly shows that Matt Longjohn has an extremely strong chance to flip this seat for Democrats –if he has the resources to get his message out to voters, which is much easier in this relatively inexpensive district than in many more-expensive suburban seats around the country.
KEY SURVEY FINDINGS:
- The environment is friendlier for a Democrat than it has been in years; Upton’s GOP Healthcare bill is very unpopular. While the likely electorate in the district is still quite conservative (46% conservative vs. just 28% liberal), Republicans have only a modest 3-point lead on the generic ballot (43% to 46%). Moreover, while Donald Trump won this district by 8 points, he is now 9 points underwater on personal favorability (43% favorable vs. 52% unfavorable). Former president Barack Obama is much more popular (55%/43%). More troubling for Upton, the “health care bill that Republicans in Congress tried to pass last year,” which was authored by the incumbent, is extremely unpopular (31% favorable vs. 49% unfavorable).
- Upton’s standing is mediocre, leads by only 5 despite huge name ID advantage. For such a long-term incumbent, Upton’s standing is only mediocre at 42% favorable to 40% unfavorable. But his 82% name ID is much higher than Longjohn’s 30% name ID (22%/8%). This 50-point name ID advantage does boost Upton to a 5-point lead (44%-49%) in a two-way ballot (when Stephen Young is included, Upton leads 41%-47%-3%).
- Longjohn’s strong profile boosts him to an 11-point lead in the informed ballot. After voters hear balanced profiles of both candidates, with Upton’s based on language from his own website, Longjohn moves from 5 points down to 11 points ahead (53% to 42%),a remarkable shift of 16 points in the net vote margin. This is due in large part to independents who start the race dead even (43% Longjohn to 42%Upton) but move decisively to Longjohn after hearing both profiles (59% to 30% in the informed ballot).
ABOUT THIS POLL: Global Strategy Group conducted a live telephone survey of 500 likely midterm voters in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District from August 24th to 29th, 2018. The margin of error for the overall electorate at the 95% confidence level is +/-4.4%. Care has been taken to ensure the geographic and demographic divisions of the expected electorate are properly represented based on historical turnout.