Voters lean toward Democrats in three key swing states ahead of midterm elections, recent poll finds

A voter casts her ballot at a polling station in Warren, Michigan.
Geoff Robins | AFP | Getty Images
A voter casts her ballot at a polling station in Warren, Michigan.

A plurality of voters in the key swing states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin said they would prefer to see Democrats take back control of Congress in the November election, a new poll finds.

A majority of voters in those states also said they disapprove of President Donald Trump’s job performance. But a plurality in each state think he deserves at least some credit for an improving economy, according to the latest NBCNews Marist poll.

Voters overwhelmingly agree on one issue: More than 90 percent of registered voters in each of the three states think the midterm congressional election will be “very important” or “important.”

If the election were held today, Michigan voters said they would choose a Democrat over a Republican by a 49-to-36 percent margin. Minnesota voters split 48-37 percent in favor of Democrats. Wisconsin voters said they prefer a Democrat in Congress by a 51 to 38 percent margin.

The three states are expect to be pivotal in the battle between Republicans and Democrats for control of Congress. With all 435 House seats up for re-election, Democrats need to flip 24 seats to win control. In the Senate, Democrats need to see a net gain of two of the 35 seats in play this November.

A majority in all three states also said they believe their vote in November will send a message that the country needs “more Democrats to be a check and balance to Donald Trump.” About a third of voters said their vote would be a message that more Republicans are needed to “help Donald Trump pass his agenda.”

On the subject of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, a majority of voters said they believe it is “a fair investigation. Less than a third characterized it as “a witch hunt.”

All three states will hold their primaries next month.

In Michigan, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a three-term incumbent Democrat, is expected to easily win her party’s nomination to run for re-election in November. She faces the winner of the Republican primary, where Army veteran John James faces venture capitalist Sandy Pensler.

Trump won the state by a slim margin in 2016, the first Republican to win the state in nearly 30 years.

In Wisconsin, incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin has already raised a substantial campaign war chest to counter a flood of outside spending against her. She’ll face the winner of a well-funded Republican primary contest Aug. 14 between Marine Corp veteran Kevin Nicholson and state Sen. Leah Vukmir. Trump won the state by narrow margin in 2016.

Minnesota voters will participate in a number of competitive races this year, including two Senate races and four competitive House districts. In the Senate, incumbent Democrat Tina Smith, who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Democrat Al Franken, faces a primary contest from former White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter in the Democratic primary and four other Democrats. The state’s senior senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, will also be defending her seat in November.

Minnesota is also hosting four congressional races that are considered “toss-ups” by political pundits in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 8th districts. Those seats are evenly split between Republican and Democratic incumbents.

Minnesota voted for Hillary Clinton by 1.5 percentage points.

This survey of 1,032 adults was conducted July 15 through July 19, 2018, by The Marist Poll sponsored and funded in partnership with NBC News. The margin of error for registered voters was plus or minus 4 percentage points.


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