By Susan Demas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Susan J. Demas, IMP Publisher, 517-420-6779, firstname.lastname@example.org Dennis Darnoi, Revsix Analyst, 248-763-3655, email@example.com Amanda Stitt, Change Media CEO, 517-420-2833, Amanda@changemediagroup.com
State Rep. Gretchen Driskell (D-Saline) would oust U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) if the 7th Congressional District election were held today.
Driskell, who announced last month she would run in 2016, holds a 5-point lead over Walberg, which is just within the margin of error, in a new Inside Michigan Politics/Revsix/Change Media poll. Driskell had 42% and Walberg had 37%, with 21% undecided.
The survey was +6 Republican -- 30% Democrats, 36% Republicans and 34% Independents. IMP rates the district as having a 52.4% GOP base.
“The results are somewhat surprising, given the fact that Tim Walberg is a well-established, four-term incumbent, and Gretchen Driskell is unknown in big swaths of the district. But Walberg has faced tough elections before, and he’s been able to count on help from big-name groups like Club for Growth,” said Susan J. Demas, editor and publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.
The MI-7 is in south-central Michigan, encompassing Hillsdale, Lenawee, Branch, Jackson, Eaton, Monroe and Washtenaw counties.
"In the next Congress, Tim Walberg stands to be the second most senior Republican in the Michigan delegation and its a safe bet that he will use every advantage of incumbency to get re-elected. Yet, these numbers show what astute political observers already know, namely Michigan's 7th Congressional District can be a competitive battleground. In a presidential year, and with the right candidate and the right strategy, Democrats have a real opportunity to win this seat,” said Dennis Darnoi, Director of Analytics and Research for Revsix.
Driskell’s main advantage is with Independents, which she won 46% to Walberg’s 27%. Both candidates won 66% of their respective party bases.
"The 7th district has a large block of independent voters, and Driskell is in a strong position with these voters. While this may seem surprising, Driskell has an advantage because she has not had significant funds spent attacking her, and is helped by her standing as a former mayor of Saline. The odd dynamic in this district is that there is a large block of sporadic voting independents and a significant likely voting conservative base making this one of the most volatile districts in the country," said Amanda Stitt, CEO of Change Media Group.
IMP/Revsix/Change Media also polled a rematch between Walberg and his 2014 opponent, former Rep. Pam Byrnes (D-Lyndon Twp.). The incumbent held a 5-point lead against Byrnes, 43%-38%, with 19% undecided.
Revsix is a data and analytics firm in Pontiac. Lansing-based Change Media provides digital consulting to candidates, organizations and businesses. IMP is the most nationally-cited political newsletter in Michigan and was founded by Bill Ballenger in 1987.
The automated survey of 422 likely 2016 general election voters in the MI-7 was done on March 13 through 16 and has a margin of error of 5%. Full questions are below.
IMP/Revsix/Change Media MI-7 Poll
March 13-16, 2015
Hello, I am conducting a brief survey for Inside Michigan Politics, Michigan’s premier political newsletter. Your responses are confidential. This survey should only take two minutes of your time and your opinions are important. So let’s get started.
1) Are you planning on voting in the November 2016 General Election for President and U.S. Congress?
Press 1 for Yes 96%
Press 2 for No 4% (TERMINATE IF NO)
2) In the race for the 7th Congressional District, if the Democratic candidate for Congress was Democrat Gretchen Driskell and the Republican was Tim Walberg, who would you support?
Press 1 for Driskell 42.0%
Press 2 for Walberg 37.1%
Press 3 for undecided 20.9%
4) In the race for the 7th Congressional District, if the Democratic candidate for Congress was Pam Byrnes and the Republican was Tim Walberg, who would you support?
Press 1 for Byrnes 38.0%
Press 2 for Walberg 42.6%
Press 3 for undecided 19.4%