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Monday, Apr 30, 2007

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Enter your password to view comments      

Obamarama - New Illinois poll shows Obama lead here outstrips Hillary’s in NY, wide open Republican race *** Updated x4 ***

Monday, Apr 30, 2007

[Updated and bumped up to make it easier to find.]

My political newsletter, Capitol Fax, commissioned a new statewide poll last week of presidential preference in Illinois. Only “hardcore” voters in each party were surveyed - see my weekly syndicated column below for more details…

Obama 52.6
Clinton 24.6
Edwards 9.5
Richardson 2.4
Biden 2.3
Kucinich 1.25
Dodd 0.53
Undecided 6.9

McCain 26.1
Giuliani 25.7
F. Thompson 17.4
Romney 10.2
T. Thompson 3.3
Undecided 17.2

And here’s the column

It may be no surprise to some, but new polling shows Barack Obama is doing better with hardcore Illinois primary voters than Hillary Clinton is doing with voters in her home state of New York. Also, voters are split over whether Obama should be more critical of Chicago corruption, and the Republican presidential primary appears wide open here.

The Illinois poll was commissioned by my political newsletter, Capitol Fax. The poll, taken last Thursday, surveyed registered voters who have chosen either Democratic or Republican ballots in the past two presidential primaries and have never picked a different ballot. They’re the hardcore of the hardcore and are very likely to vote.

The poll found Obama leading the pack of presidential hopefuls here with 52.6 percent of the vote among hardcore Democrats. Clinton came in second with 24.6 percent. Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards was third with 9.5 percent. None of the other declared candidates topped 3 percent, while 6.9 percent chose either “other” or “undecided.”

In New York, two recent polls have shown Clinton with a bigger lead but polling well under 50 percent. A Quinnipac University poll had her ahead of Obama 44 to 14, but a more recent survey from Siena College’s Research Institute had Clinton ahead of the second place Obama 39 to 17 with 13 percent of Democrats undecided.

Obama captured well over 70 percent of the vote in the 2004 US Senate race, so his Illinois numbers in this latest poll might be a surprise to some who expected him to be doing even better. Clinton was raised in Illinois and is, of course, a very well known commodity. That probably explains why she is polling higher here than Obama is polling in New York.

The Illinois poll also found voters are evenly split over whether Obama has been sufficiently critical of Mayor Richard Daley regarding corruption in city hall.

A tad more than 49 percent of hardcore Democratic and Republican primary voters said they believed Obama has sufficiently criticized Daley, who just won another landslide re-election race, while 50.8 percent said he has not been critical enough.

The issue of Obama’s alliance with the Daley Machine has been a much bigger issue in Illinois than it has been on the national stage. But since this story is being constantly pushed here, it has the potential to one day bleed into the national debate.

About 60 percent of hardcore Democratic and Republican residents of Chicago and Cook County thought he had criticized Daley enough, but just 36 percent of downstate voters believe he has sufficiently criticized Daley.

Slightly less than 61 percent of hardcore Democratic voters said he has done enough to criticize Daley, while 35 percent of hardcore GOP voters said the same. A majority, 53 percent, of suburban collar county primary voters said he has criticized the mayor enough while 47 percent said he hadn’t.

Meanwhile, the poll also showed that Illinois’ Republican presidential primary appears to be wide open.

The survey of hardcore Republican primary voters showed U.S. Sen. John McCain with an ever-so-slight lead over former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. McCain was ahead of Giuliani 26.1 to 25.7.

Former U.S. Sen. and TV actor Fred Thompson came in third with 17.7 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was fourth with 10.2 percent, and former Wisconsin Gov. and George W. Bush cabinet member Tommy Thompson was fifth with just 3.3 percent. Undecideds and “other” totaled 17 percent.

McCain is slipping rapidly in national polling, but he still has support among Illinoisans who backed him in his 2000 presidential bid. Giuliani recently signed up House Republican Leader Tom Cross, who is helping get that organization together. Thompson has not yet formally announced, but he is looking more like a candidate every day.

The automated phone poll was conducted by “Ask Illinois,” which has done a lot of polling for political candidates and interest groups and has a good reputation among insiders. The firm uses special technology to blast out hundreds of calls simultaneously and they contact huge numbers of people. In this case 3,509 hardcore Democrats and 3,761 Republicans responded to the poll, leaving us with an extremely low margin of error of +/- 1.18 to +/- 1.52 percent, depending on the question. Republicans and Democrats who indicated they intend to cross over to the other party next year were omitted from these results. The difference was statistically insignificant.

Crosstabs will be posted later this morning in the subscriber-only section.

*** UPDATE *** RealClearPolitics covers the poll.

And here’s a press release announcing the poll…


*** UPDATE 2 *** Metro Networks, which has member radio stations all over Illinois, covered the poll this morning…

Democrats who plan to vote in next year’s presidential primary have a much better idea of who they plan to support than Republicans. A new polls for the political newsletter “Capitol Fax” shows Illinois U.S. Senator Barack Obama with a huge lead over Senator Hillary Clinton. Both have ties to Illinois, but Obama leads the hardcore primary voter poll by 28-percent. The poll asked people who’ve voted in the last two primaries for the same party who they plan to support. Obama pulled in 52-point-6 percent, Senator Clinton is in second with 24-point-6, and Senator John Edwards has about 9-and-a-half percent.

It’s a much closer field for the Republicans. John McCain leads among his hardcore supporters, edging out Rudy Giuliani 26-point-1 to 25-point-7. Fred Thompson is third, and Mitt Romney fourth. Pollsters say the hardcore voters will vote in the primary, and a look at their support is a solid indicator of who may win Illinois if the state moves to an earlier primary for 2008.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Rasmussen has a new national poll that has Obama leading the pack

For the first time in the Election 2008 season, somebody other than New York Senator Hillary Clinton is on top in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows Illinois Senator Barack Obama with a statistically insignificant two point advantage over the former First Lady. It’s Obama 32% Clinton 30%. Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards remains in third with support holding steady at 17%. No other candidate tops 3%. The survey was conducted April 23-26, 2007 meaning that the overwhelming majority of the interviews were completed before last Thursday’s debate in South Carolina. The impact of the debate will be measured in polling conducted this week.

*** UPDATE 4 *** The Daily Herald’s bloggy type thing Animal Farm gives us some props

The Capitol Fax newsletter has done what I think is the first presidential poll for ‘08. It shows Democratic Sen. Barack Obama with a huge lead, more than 2-to-1, over the field in his adopted home state. On the Republican side, it’s tres tight between Sen. John McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Former Sen. Fred Thompson, whose wife is from Naperville, was a surprising third.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Apr 30, 2007

Despite all the cash dumped into state health insurance expansion plans, the problem continues to worsen. According to the Tribune, a study released Friday showed that “1.8 million residents were uninsured in Illinois in 2005, up about 2 percent from the year before.”

“What this tells us is even with everything Illinois is doing, this problem is getting worse,” said Michael Taitel, board president at the Gilead Outreach and Referral Center, which published the study and focuses on the uninsured.

It’s happening largely because of a well-documented, long-term trend: Fewer employers are offering medical coverage to employees and their families as insurance premiums and health-care costs soar.

Between 2001 and 2005, the portion of Illinois’ population covered by employer-based insurance fell from 74.9 percent to 72.8 percent, the Gilead Center’s analysis shows. […]

Statewide, 367,995 families with an annual income of more than $50,000 included at least one family member younger than 65 who was uninsured in 2005—or nearly 40 percent of all uninsured families.

The Gilead Center study can be found here [pdf file].

As if on cue, two longtime proponents of single-payer health plans penned an op-ed in the Sun-Times

Illinois has only two options for health reform: preserve private insurance companies (and the huge systemic waste they generate), or scrap them and use the savings to cover everyone. Sadly, Blagojevich has joined President Bush, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in offering the private insurance route.

The better approach would be to replace insurance companies with Medicare-like universal public health insurance, a system that has afforded the rest of the industrialized world better health for half our per-capita cost (or less).

Question: Do you support a single-payer system? Why or why not?

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

More trouble for the GRT *** Updated x1 ***

Monday, Apr 30, 2007

Phil Kadner had a very good column over the weekend. I say that at least partly because he beat me to this angle.

What happened was the Illinois Education and A+ Illinois have organized a Statehouse rally this week. Originally, the rally was supposed to tout the governor’s gross receipts tax proposal to fund education. But the groups got some push-back, particularly from longtime tax swap supporters, and now it’s just a general “let’s fund education” to-do….

“We’re not choosing sides here,” said a spokesman for the Illinois Education Association, which actually did choose sides earlier this year by supporting the GRT. “This is a citizens rally to tell legislators the time has come to get something done.” […]

Voliva said the IEA agreed to a more generic rally in support of increased school funding. It also agreed not to allow any politicians to speak.

So her organization [Better Funding for Better Schools] — which includes the Illinois PTA, League of Women Voters and a number of grass roots education advocacy groups — agreed to participate.

Here’s the original IEA flyer on the rally and a close-up of the GRT language [click for larger pics]…

IEAflyer.jpg iea_closeup.jpg

And here’s the new IEA statement and the new A+ Illinois info on the rally…

current_iea_statement.jpg newaplusflier.jpg

Needless to say, this is not good news for Gov. Blagojevich’s tax and spending plan. The guv’s office has tried its very best to stamp out all mentions of the tax swap, but it keeps coming back up. The Illinois Federation of Teachers is currently withholding support from the spending component (along with the Illinois AFL-CIO).

There is little if any momentum for the governor’s plans at the Statehouse right now. A generic education funding rally is definitely not something he wanted.

* Meanwhile, a couple of pro-business think-tank types take after both the GRT and the tax swap in an op-ed entitled “Blagojevich’s tax plan is bad … Meeks’ is worse

Both proposals would have adverse, if not devastating, effects on the Illinois economy. But taxpayer advocates should hand it to the governor. His is only the second-most reckless plan on the table this spring.

And a Rockford Register-Star article includes this line about the competing proposals…

But chances of either plan passing appear slim as the plans compete for political support.

*** UPDATE *** The IEA has a new TV ad that makes no mention of the GRT. Entitled “Someday” it ends with the tagline “Tell your state Senator and Representative to support school funding reform.” Click the pic to watch [.mov file]…

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Monday, Apr 30, 2007

* No House vote yet on electric rates

* Blagojevich’s tollway sign drive push to close loopholes

* McQueary: The intrigue of ethics legislation

* WSIU show explores work of Illinois lawmakers

* In support of HB1500; in opposition

* Civil damages bill could reignite ire of doctors

* Michigan unveils comprehensive business tax relief plan; more here

In a move to jumpstart Michigan’s economy and reward businesses that create jobs here in Michigan, House leadership today unveiled a comprehensive business tax and incentive package that rewards investment, protects Michigan-based companies, and ensures funding for education, health care and the 21st Century Jobs Fund.

* Players ponder state’s power rate debate

* Compromise sought on electric rate freeze

* Electric rates caught in sticky web

* Aaron Chambers: Power politics puts ComEd back in the rate freeze mix

* Editorial: Real leadership is needed to ease electric rate crisis

* Editorial: Political games in Springfield hurt electric issue

Years from now, political science classes probably will be studying the Illinois deregulation/rate-setting issue as an example of how not to do something.

* Statehouse Insider: Electric rates and Media ducking: “It’s pretty much official now. None of the top Democrats in the state is talking to the news media.”

* Public will get to go up in dome of Old State Capitol

* Bill would bring fluorescent light to state buildings

* House votes to expand malpractice damages

* Lynn Sweet: Obama admits being nervous at first debate

Obama replied that while a state senator, “The first bill I ever passed was campaign finance reform legislation.'’ He’s wrong. It was not his first bill. Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney reports that as a chief co-sponsor, Obama played an important role in passing that legislation May 22, 1998. Obama’s first bill passed on his own in the state Senate required the state’s community colleges to publish a directory of students with vocational and technical skills.

* Video: Raw interview with Obama

* Carol Marin: Ald. Preckiwinkle speaks out on Rezko

* Subcontractor with Rezko ties hasn’t shown it’s done any work

* Moseley Braun attacked in failed robbery attempt

* CPS cuts 11% of teaching force

* Tribune Editorial: Another form of TIF abuse

* Hinz: Mayor must allow real community participation in the Olympic effort

* Middle school students get close look at government

* Who says art and politics don’t mix?

* Illinois Reason: Is tipping included?

* Eastern Illinois raises tutition 12%

* States seek ‘robocall’ limits in campaigns

* Editorial: More state funds needed for Pace paratransit program

- Posted by Paul Richardson   5 Comments      

* Happy Thanksgiving!
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