state of play

Tlaib ahead of potential Democratic challengers in early polling

Tlaib was the top choice for 62% of respondents in a recent poll of her new district, leading among nearly all demographics

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) conducts a news conference at the House Triangle to introduce a financial relief bill for federal workers affected by the partial government shutdown on Thursday, January 17, 2019.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is well-positioned to keep her place in Congress in her new congressional district, according to an early poll of voters in Michigan’s 12th District obtained by Jewish Insider.

The poll, a joint project of the firm Target Insyght and the Michigan Democratic Black Caucus, showed Tlaib with 62% support in the Democratic primary against an array of announced and potential challengers. The survey, conducted last week from Jan 18 to Jan 20, included 600 registered voters within the district who said they planned to vote in the Democratic primary.

Tlaib led among nearly all demographics in the district — 48% support among men, 72% among women, 55% among white voters, 72% among Black voters, 88% among Hispanic voters. She also led among voters of all ages.

Tlaib had the strongest name recognition in the district, with 63% of respondents saying they had a favorable opinion of her, 18% unfavorable and 18% saying they had not heard of her or had no opinion.

Tlaib outpaced all of her potential challengers in a potential primary faceoff — Westland Mayor William came in a distant second with 13% support, followed by Lathrup Village Mayor Kelly Garrett at 6%, Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey at 4%, former state Rep. Phil Cavanagh at 3%, Livonia, Michigan Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan at 2% and former state legislator Shanelle Jackson at 0%; 10% of respondents said they were undecided or preferred another candidate.

The poll had a margin of error of 4%.

Tlaib, Jackson and Cavanagh have announced their candidacies, while the others included in the survey are thought to be considering runs, according to Target Insyght Executive Director Ed Sarpolus. 

In announcing her candidacy to Jewish Insider, Jackson slammed Tlaib and said she was seeking to “calm down some of the antisemitic rhetoric” she accused Tlaib of employing.

Asked for a second choice in a potential primary, 38% of respondents named Tlaib, 18% named Wild, 11% named Winfrey, 10% named Cavanagh, 8% named Garrett, 1% named Brosnan and 0% named Jackson, with 15% saying they were undecided.

Of the other potential candidates, Winfrey had the second-strongest name recognition, with 48% saying they had a favorable opinion of her, 11% unfavorable, and 40% no opinion or unfamiliar. All of the other candidates were unknown to a majority of respondents.

Target Insyght and the Black Caucus also conducted a poll of potential Democratic candidates in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District that showed a potentially more open race. State Rep. Shri Thanedar — who was initially set to run against Tlaib before she switched districts — picked up support from 7% of respondents. 

He was outpaced by former Detroit General Counsel Sharon McPhail with 25%, former Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI) with 23% and former state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo with 11%. None of those three have announced yet that they will run for the seat. The poll had a margin of error of 4%.