After redistricting, Biden would have narrowly won the Slotkin district in 2020 by less than 1 point. The poll, conducted in mid-June by GOP polling firm Cygnal, found that nearly 63% disapprove of Biden’s term, while only 36% approve.
The generic ballot is also a warning sign for Democrats. Voters favored a Republican candidate over a Democratic candidate by 11 points, 50% to 39%.
Slotkin performed better, though not better enough to take the lead: in a head-to-head in the poll, she received 44% of the vote to Barrett’s 46%. Barrett, an Army veteran, was elected to the Michigan House in 2014. He jumped to the state Senate in 2018.
Slotkin, who previously worked at the Defense Department and the CIA, came to Congress during the 2018 Democratic wave, ousting Representative Mike Bishop from a seat Donald Trump held by 7 points four years earlier. She won re-election in 2020 by 4 points, defeating an underfunded candidate with 51% of the vote.
She is a prolific fundraiser and had over $5.5 million deposited at the end of March. Barrett had nearly $400,000 in cash.
The fact that Barrett’s research found him in a close contest with Slotkin – his advantage is within the margin of error – is notable because the holder has a significant name ID from two battlefield runs. Barrett, though a state legislator, has a much lower profile.
The survey was conducted via live calls and SMS on behalf of Barrett and the NRCC from June 14-16. The sample size was 400 likely voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.
Slotkin has emerged as a critic of her party since her candidacy in 2018. She was one of several Democrats to vote against the Speaker of the House. Nancy Pelosi‘s initial return to the position of spokesperson. She is also one of a group of endangered House Democrats who have relied heavily on a national security record to attract undecided voters.
She will also have a huge cash advantage to advertise against Barrett over the summer and fall. The poll is just a snapshot in time, but it does indicate that Democrats are entering a bleak midterm environment with limited time to change their perspectives.
The president’s party typically loses ground two years after his election, and Democrats are bracing for a difficult midterm cycle. Republicans, for their part, hope to capitalize on Biden’s unpopularity by vying for the seats he held by large margins in 2020.