Poll: Michigan’s 7th District voters favoring Democratic candidates, but Slotkin-Barrett race tight

Where voters in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District stand ahead of Nov. 8

FILE - A person drops off a mail-in ballot at an election ballot return box in Willow Grove, Pa., Oct. 25, 2021. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are crucial swing states that allow mail-in ballots but give local election offices very little if any time before Election Day to process them. Election workers inability to check signatures, addresses and get the mailed ballots ready for counting ahead of time means many of the those ballots may not be counted on Election Day. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) (Matt Rourke, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – Voters in several Southeast Michigan counties appear to be favoring Democratic candidates for the upcoming election, according to a new WDIV/Detroit News poll, but the numbers are fairly close.

Results from a survey of Michigan voters in the state’s 7th Congressional District conducted between Oct. 18-20, found that voters are favoring Democratic incumbents Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Rep. Elissa Slotkin for the upcoming general election. The numbers are tight, however, with GOP gov. candidate Tudor Dixon attracting more Republican voters in the area. The congressional race could also become a tossup.

The newly-drawn 7th Congressional District includes Clinton, Shiawassee and Ingham counties, most of Eaton and Livingston counties, and part of Oakland County.

Find more: Decision 2022 coverage here

Here are some of the key findings from this portion of the survey:

Whitmer leading Dixon

  • Democratic Gov. Whitmer is leading GOP opponent Dixon by 11 points, with Whitmer securing 51.2% of the vote and Dixon securing 40.2% of the vote.
  • 5.5% of voters are undecided, while 3.1% of voters are choosing a third-party candidate.
  • Whitmer is leading both among men and women, though the lead margin is slightly larger among women.
  • Whitmer is strongly supported by “strong Democratic” and leaning Democratic voters, as expected. She is also attracting a significant number of independents -- 69% -- from this district.
  • Dixon is strongly supported by “strong Republican” and leaning Republican voters. She has secured 91.7% of strong Republican voters in the area, and 55% of leaning Republican voters.
  • 52.2% of voters in this district view Whitmer favorably, while 41.6% view her unfavorably. Independent voters have a widely favorable view of the gov., while leaning GOP voters have a 29.6% favorable view of her.
  • 32.4% of voters in this district view Dixon favorably, while 49.8% of voters view her unfavorably, the poll shows. 13.1% of voters have no opinion of Dixon, while 4.2% of these voters have not heard of her. Independent voters have a 66.2% unfavorable view of Dixon.
  • Dixon appears to be securing more of her base Republican voters following the debate with Gov. Whitmer, but still struggles among leaning Republican and Independent voters.

Slotkin leading Barrett

  • In the congressional race for the 7th district, Democratic incumbent Rep. Slotkin leads against Republican opponent Tom Barrett by nearly 6 points, with Slotkin securing about 47% of the votes, and Barrett securing 41.3% of the votes.
  • 8.2% of voters remain undecided, while 3.6% of voters have chosen the Libertarian candidate.
  • Slotkin is strongly supported by strong Democratic and leaning Democratic voters, and has47.5% of the Independent vote.
  • Barrett is supported by strong Republican and leaning Republican voters, and has 30.5% of the Independent vote.
  • Poll results show 45% of undecided voters are Republican, compared to 22% of Democratic voters who are undecided. So, if Barrett secured all undecided Republican voters, Slotkin would only hold a 2.5 lead, and the race could become a tossup.
  • Slotkin holds a significant lead among women voters, while Slotkin and Barrett are supported by similar percentages of voters who are men.

Abortion dominates voter motivation

  • Abortion continues to be the largest motivating factor for voters in the district.
  • On a 10-point scale, voter motivation is at a 9.6 in this district.
  • 31.8% of voters identified abortion and women’s rights as their primary motivating factor encouraging them to vote in general election.
  • 23.5% of voters identified inflation and the cost of living as their primary motivating factors.
  • 47.6% of women voters said abortion was their primary motivating factor, compared to 28.1% of men who identified the same factor.
  • 23.1% of women voters said inflation was their primary motivating factor, compared to 24% of men.
  • 59% of voters said they oppose the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade that protected the right to an abortion nationwide. 31.2% of voters agree with the decision.
  • A majority of leaning Republican women voters disagree with overturning Roe, and are showing more support for Democratic candidate Slotkin.

Stance on proposal 3

  • Survey participants were given this description of proposal three: Proposal 3 would amend the state constitution to establish a new individual right to reproductive freedom, including right to make all decisions about pregnancy and abortion, allow state to regulate abortion in some cases, and forbid prosecution of individual exercising established right. This amendment would establish a new individual right to reproductive freedom, including right to make and carry out all decisions about pregnancy, such as prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion, miscarriage management and infertility. Allow state to regulate abortion after fetal viability, but not prohibit if medically needed to protect a patient’s life or physical or mental health. Forbid state discrimination in enforcement of this right, prohibit prosecution of an individual or a personal helping a pregnant individual for exercising rights established by this amendment. Invalidate state laws conflicting with this amendment. (This is the exact wording of the ballot proposal.)
  • A majority of voters in this district (50.5%) support proposal 3, while 34.6% oppose the proposal.
    • 43.8% of voters identified themselves as a “definite yes” for the proposal, while 32.4% were a “definite no.”
  • The proposal is primarily supported among strong Democratic voters (85%), leaning Democratic voters (90%), and Independent voters (55.9%).
  • Notable, 44% of leaning Republican voters support proposal 3. 72.3% of strong Republican voters oppose the proposal.
  • 14.1% of voters were undecided about their stance on the proposal.

Absentee voting

  • 44.3% of voters in this district said they plan to vote absentee, while 55.7% said they plan to vote in person on Election Day.
  • 60.6% of strong Democratic voters plan to vote absentee, compared to 33.6% of strong Republican voters.
  • 37.8% of strong Democratic voters plan to vote in person. 66.4% of strong Republican voters plan to vote in person.
  • 28.3% of Democratic voters reported already turning in their absentee ballot, compared to 14.4% of Republican voters.

Nation on “wrong track”

  • Majority of voters in this district (68.6%) believe the nation is on the wrong track.
  • A majority of voters (49.5%) believe the state of Michigan is on the wrong track, compared to 41.4% who believe the state is on the right track. Democratic and Independent voters were among those who believe the state is on the right track.

Stances on Biden, Trump

  • Voters in this district have a 38.1% favorable view of President Joe Biden, compared to a 51.2% unfavorable view.
  • Most of the support is among strong Democratic and leaning Democratic voters. 0% of strong Republican voters had a favorable view of Biden.
  • Former President Donald Trump has 32.7% favorability among these voters, compared to a 56.4% unfavorable view.
  • 72.6% of strong Republican voters had a favorable view of Trump, alongside 63% of leaning Republican voters. 0% of Democratic voters had a favorable view of Trump.

Methodology

The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted a survey of November 2022 likely general election voters in Michigan’s Seventh Congressional District. The 400 sample, live operator telephone survey was conducted on October 18-20, 2022 and has a margin of error of +/-4.9% with a 95% level of confidence. 25% of respondents were contacted via landline telephone. 75% of respondents were contacted via cell phone telephone. This survey was commissioned by the WDIV Local 4 News and the Detroit News.

Map of Congressional District 7 in Michigan

A map of the 7th Congressional District in Michigan as of 2022. (Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission)

Click here to view maps of Michigan’s political districts.


About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.