13th Congressional District Race Poll Shows Detroiters Still Undecided

(From left to right: Adam Hollier, Sharon McPhail, John Conyers III, and Portia Roberson).

In a recent poll conducted by Lansing-based Change Research, the organization surveyed 491 likely Democratic Primary voters in the newly drawn Michigan 13th Congressional District.  The key conclusion at this point is that many voters are not sure who they will vote for to send to Congress in the 13th

The poll, commissioned by the Adam Hollier for Congress campaign, revealed that 48% of likely Democratic primary voters could not say how they will vote.  After being urged to say at least which candidates they are leaning toward, 22% remain undecided.

Nevertheless, Change Research’s survey, conducted in May 2022, finds that John Conyers III led the ballot with 19%, with 13% strongly supporting him.  The poll has Conyers III winning 24% of people of color initially.  The surveying organization believes that his high name recognition among those polled is because voters may confuse him with his late father, meaning some likely voters don’t know that  former Congressman John Conyers Jr. passed in October 2019.  The confusion, if not cleared in voters’ minds, will be a huge advantage to Conyers Jr.’s son in the upcoming primary election.

Conyers III addressed Change Research’s belief that voters in the 13th Congressional District are confused.

“To say that the voters in the 13th Congressional District are confused or not smart enough to know that my father, John Conyers Jr., the longest-serving Black Congressman in this nation’s history who passed nearly three years ago, is frankly insulting to the voters in the 13th Congressional District,” Conyers III said adamantly.  “And it is insulting to my family!”

Sharon McPhail is also not enthused by Change Research’s poll, calling its sample size too small and that it’s not an independent poll.

“My standard on polling is that I don’t do it as a candidate,” McPhail said.  “I believe that independent polls are the best because they don’t have an ax to grind, they aren’t trying to pick somebody, and they are not trying to push polls and get a certain result.  So I don’t put any stock into polls done by candidates.  I put a lot of stock into independent polls by Wayne State, a major university.  And in the independent polls by a major university, I lead by double digits.”

The Change Research poll shows that respondents highly recognize the names of Sharon McPhail and Shri Thanedar.  Yet, the polls reveal that Democratic voters gave 14% support to Hollier initially, with 10% supporting him strongly.  According to Hollier’s camp, the survey shows he is performing as well as other candidates for the 13th, including McPhail and Thanedar.

During the polling, respondents were provided with biographies of each candidate and asked to rate the candidate on a 1 to 7 scale – 1 meaning definitely not supporting a certain candidate and 7 indicating definitely supporting a particular candidate. 

After reading Adam’s biography, the poll revealed 52% of likely Democratic primary voters said they would likely support him.  Candidate Portia Roberson also received high favorability among respondents after reading her bio. 

After introducing the candidates’ bios to respondents, Change Research saw movement.  Hollier’s reported share of favorable respondents moved up to 19%, tying him for the lead.   And after reading  Conyers III’s bio, some respondents moved away from saying they would vote for him in the August Primary election, perhaps realizing that he is not his father.  There was also movement away from Thanedar when voters read his bio.

“The more information shared with voters about Adam, the more likely people will be voting for him,” said Heaster Wheeler,  Hollier’s campaign manager.  “The things people really like about Adam include he is a current state legislator and has passed legislation every year that he’s been in office.  He has stood up for democracy and voting rights and Donald Trump.  Adam is already fighting the national fights, including how he has framed the January 6 insurrection and will make sure it will never happen again.  Adam is ready for primetime on the national level.  Based on the data from this poll, we see a path to victory for Adam –  we like what we see!”

Hollier is also pleased with the poll but knows the ultimate poll is when people vote in the Aug. 2 primary election, followed by the general election on Nov. 8.  Actually, voters can start casting absentee ballots in late June for the primary. 

“When people hear my message, they like it,” Hollier said about the poll.  “When they understand my background, they like it and want to support me.  But we still have to work hard to win this race.  I am laser-focused with the time I have speaking to voters about important issues, along with my track record as a leader and how I will get things done for them every day in Congress.”

Conyers III said he is not taking anything connected to the upcoming Aug. 2 primary election for granted, especially poll numbers.   

“Although I’m in first place in this poll, this election is not over,” said Conyers III.  “Polls don’t vote.  So the most important thing for me is to reach as many people as possible in this district.  When the polls close on Aug. 2, and I am confirmed to have won this election, I will feel good.”

McPhail, a seasoned veteran of political races, is confident in her chances to win in the 13th despite the Change Research poll commissioned by the Hollier campaign.

“I know how to target, and I know where my voters are,” said McPhail, the only woman ever to have won a primary election in a Detroit mayoral race.   “When you look at my background and the things that I’ve done in this community and all across the 13th District, people know me not just for my name, but they know me by having contact with me and seeing the fruits of my labor.  Without fear of contradiction, I can tell you that there isn’t another candidate in this race who has my record of performance as a public servant.”



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