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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…

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

Republicans
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…

CapFaxrelease.jpg

*** 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      


Friday, Apr 27, 2007

If you get a moment, say a prayer or have a kind thought for former House staffer Tim Hunsdorfer. He’s very sick and no longer able to work.

If you can kick in a few bucks to help him out of his excruciatingly bad financial situation, I’d consider it a personal favor if you would go here. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


READER COMMENTS CLOSED FOR THE WEEKEND

Friday, Apr 27, 2007

What a long week that was. The craziness never seems to end at the Statehouse.

Just so you know, I’m taking bids for a new web hosting service. Best reliability wins. Local company preferred. Goodbye, PowWeb. I’m not gonna miss you. Hopefully, you will be out of my life by early next week.

By now, loyal blog readers most certainly know our Friday drill. It’s Illinoize time…

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Question of the day - Obamarama edition

Friday, Apr 27, 2007

My Sun-Times column today is about more possible turmoil in Chicago elections, but ends with these thoughts about the recent aldermanic races

Speaking of Obama, it might be interesting to watch what the presidential candidate does in next year’s primary. Obama refused to endorse any of the insurgent candidates this year, sticking with the Daley Machine and openly endorsing faded hack Ald. Tillman in her losing race to Pat Dowell, who is truly a breath of fresh air.

It’s more than a little ironic that a self-styled ‘’new politics'’ guy like Obama has no strong ties to the newly elected aldermen who seem to share so many of his self-professed political values. He’s just lucky that no national political reporter has covered this hypocrisy angle yet.

My syndicated column this week also took a whack at the guy for the same reason and put him in the “loser” category for the season…

Barack Obama, who styles himself as the epitome of a young, black “new politics” candidate, did not endorse a single one of the bright, new, independent-minded aldermen who will be taking the helm of black wards on the South and West sides. Count him as a big loser.

And here’s a little teaser: On Monday we’ll take a look at how Obama’s association with the Daley Machine is playing with voters.

Anyway, to the question: Did anyone watch the Democratic presidential candidates debate last night? What did you make of it? Apparently, Lynn Sweet didn’t think much of Obama’s performance.

If you’ve been on Mars for a while and did not know the names of the Democratic White House frontrunners, you could have thought after the first presidential debate Thursday they were Sen. Joe Biden, Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Chris Dodd.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


Smoking ban edges closer to passage

Friday, Apr 27, 2007

The statewide smoking ban is getting closer to reality

Illinois took another step toward a statewide smoking ban on Thursday, when the House environmental health committee approved it on a 10-to-2 vote. […]

The Senate has already approved SB500, which would prohibit smoking in all Illinois workplaces and indoor public areas, including bars, restaurants, casinos and bowling alleys. Smoking also would be banned within 15 feet of any entrance to those facilities and in all government vehicles.

Surprisingly enough, the governor has been rather noncommittal on this issue…

“The governor’s been supportive of public health initiatives in the past that deal with smoking,” said Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff. “But we still need to take a closer look at the particulars of this bill.”

The bill also bans smoking in riverboat casinos, which doesn’t please some members with boats in their districts

State Rep. Mike Boland, D-East Moline, said he wished there were more exceptions to the ban. He worries about towns on the Illinois border that could lose business to bars or casinos on the other side. ’’I wish there’d been more flexibility,’’ he said.

The Peoria Journal-Star reports that most of that area’s legislators are apparently against a smoking ban, despite a recent show of support in Peoria…

(L)awmakers’ opinions apparently weren’t influenced by a recent advisory referendum in which Peoria voters said 2-1 that they support a statewide smoking ban. […]

“Sen. Koehler did vote yes. He was the only senator to vote yes who has a casino in his district. That was huge,” said Kelli Evans, health initiatives manager for the 19 downstate counties of the American Cancer Society.

State Reps. David Leitch, R-Peoria; Aaron Schock, R-Peoria; Don Moffitt, R-Gilson, and Keith Sommer, R-Morton, all said Thursday that they plan to vote against the smoking ban.

The bill could receive a vote in the full House as early as next week, according to many of the reports above.

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      


Heated debate on notification, Fritchey claims death threats

Friday, Apr 27, 2007

A parental notification of abortion bill came up short in the House yesterday, scoring just 55 votes of the 60 needed.

Favored by abortion-rights groups, the initiative that failed 55-62 was designed to broaden the pool of adults that pregnant girls could contact to fulfill a dormant 1995 parental-notification law.

That law, which is before a federal court and could soon be enforced, requires females under 18 to notify an adult relative or receive approval from a judge. The legislation voted on Thursday would have allowed minors in dysfunctional families to notify an aunt or uncle or meet with a health professional instead.

“This is not a referendum on abortion,” said Rep. John Fritchey, the bill’s lead sponsor. “It is a referendum on protecting the health and safety of young women.”

There was lots of heated debate

“It’s really irresponsible for people on the other side to characterize any of us as pro-abortion,” said state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, a Des Plaines Republican who voted for the plan. “That’s not where we’re going with this. What we want to do is protect young women. We want to protect them from going to the wrong place if they do seek an abortion.”

Critics argued the proposal didn’t do enough to help young girls in what could be one of the most important decisions they’ll ever make. They also said teenagers should have a compelling reason, such as incest or other dangers, for wanting to go around telling their parents, something more than embarrassment or fear of parental retribution.

“I’m her father … and I should know about it,” said state Rep. Robert Molaro, a Chicago Democrat and the father of three teen daughters, who voted against the plan.

And also lots of charges and counter-charges from both sides, including claims of death threats…

Opponents suggested Fritchey was trying to torpedo any notification law by leaving out language that lets courts rule part of the law unconstitutional without striking down the whole measure. Omitting that language could mean that any small legal flaw would nullify the entire law.

Fritchey said working on the measure was the “worst experience” of his legislative career. He said the proposal inspired people to lie, spew hatred and even make death threats.

From Lee Newspapers

All central Illinois lawmakers voted against the legislation… All Southern Illinois lawmakers voted against the legislation.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Friday, Apr 27, 2007

* “Request Denied” articles

*A system of loopholes

* Exceptions made from understandable to puzzling

* AG Madigan says, ‘We’re committed to the fight’

* Springfield jockeying puts ComEd back in House rate freeze; more here

* No outlet for high electric bills

* House panel pushes electric rate issue again

* Ameren could start pulling the plug in Illinois

* Eric Krol: ComEd campaign cash

* Jones sits in the eye of a brewing political storm

* Dave Kolata: ComEd’s auction stacks deck against consumers

* Editorial: Clean up IL government, end ‘pay to play’

Oddly, the governor - who campaigned on the platform of doing away with business as usual - has not taken a position on the bill and a spokeswoman wouldn’t even say whether the governor believes in the basic principal of prohibiting donations from contractors.

* Illinois handgun background check system has some loopholes

* Rep. Mendoza: Denouncing the Little Village immigration raid

* Harper 4-year bill approved in the House

* Jefferson brings Rockford tax bill to the House

* Local official offers advice to Sun-Times Editorial: Answers are needed about Rezko’s deals

* Will revenue flap hurt Chicago’s Olympic bid?

- Posted by Paul Richardson   5 Comments      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Cable TV buys
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Rauner vetoes several social service bills
* Ok, that's enough
* I truly hate this US Senate race
* Rauner signs life insurance bill
* Question of the day
* State bond sale goes well, but still paid a higher price
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Picking on the little guys
* We've been a sorry state for a long time
* Munger and Mendoza face off in hostile debate
* I'm still befuddled by this move
* *** UPDATED x5 - Motion approved - Noven to withdraw - $421 million budget hit - One appointee appears to be ineligible - The plot thickens as three new board members appointed *** Controversy expected at TRS hearing today
* React to remap reform ruling
* Divided court kicks remap reform off ballot
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* Duckworth outlines principles for immigrat......

* GoFundMe Set Up For Funeral Of Man Murdered In Gang Crossfire
* Kinney serves as liaison to United Kingdom
* Using international experience to help Illinois REALTORS®
* Illinois home prices increase in July; Sales lower amid tight inventory
* CAR dedicates memorial to Maner, the association’s first African-American president
* QCARA members brush up on their painting skills at Habitat for Humanity project
* Illinois REALTORS® named to key NAR committee posts
* CAR Global Council panel discussion encourages understanding of different cultures
* NAR offers video about Aug. 29 drone rule changes
* NAR foundation will donate up to $350K in Louisiana flood assistance


* Statement on Redistricting Referendum
* Rauner Administration Takes Action to Help Illinoisans Find Lost Life Insurance Money
* Illinois Residents Encouraged to Register for ‘The Great ShakeOut’ Earthquake Drill - 'Drop, Cover and Hold On’ Drill Set for October 20
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Seeking Flexibility to Improve Delivery of Behavioral Health Care




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