There’s some bad news for 6th District Republican incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in a poll released Wednesday showing he has just a 39 percent approval rating with his toughest re-election bid in years on the horizon.
But it may not be all bad — the poll came from a super PAC out to put Democrats back in charge of Congress, and without enough background information to be truly confident of the results.
The poll was commissioned by the Democratic House Majority PAC, and shows 37 percent of voters believe the 10-term congressman deserves another term while 60 percent want someone new.
A poll commissioned by Bartlett’s campaign in December showed him beating Democratic state Sen. Rob Garagiola with 43 percent to 35.5 percent of the vote.
The House Majority PAC poll shows Bartlett running even at 42 percent with a “generic Democratic challenger.” The information released by the political action committee does not show how the questions were asked or exactly of whom, statistics that help reinforce the validity of the results.
“Partisan polls have this purely coincidental tendency of always reporting good news for the folks who pay for the poll,” said St. Mary’s College political science professor Todd Eberly.
“It is very easy to manipulate a poll by how you phrase the question. If you want to know if it’s legitimate and you want to take the results seriously, they have to release the questions,” Eberly said.
The 6th District, which includes Western Maryland, has been part of a controversial redistricting which took away Republican-leaning Frederick and Carroll counties to include just part of Frederick but also a large part of Democratic-leaning Montgomery County.
The 85-year-old incumbent faces seven Republican candidates including State Sen. David Brinkley and Delegate Kathy Afzali. The primary election for the Democrats is also competitive with five candidates including State Sen. Rob Garagiola and entrepreneur John Delaney.