* We have two relatively recent polls from Democrat Debbie Halvorson and Republican Martin Ozinga in the 11th Congressional District contest.
* The Halvorson poll is slightly older. Taken September 14-16 of 500 likely voters, Halvorson’s poll shows her leading 43-35.
* Ozinga’s poll is more recent - Sept. 17-18 vs 14-16 - but the survey sample size is smaller - 400 likely voters vs. 500 likelies. It’s impossible to discern how each campaign is defining “likely” voters in their screens, so that could be one reason for the discrepancy. Ozinga claims Halvorson’s lead is just two points - 38-36.
* Judy Baar Topinka actually won the 11th District two years ago 50.3 to 49.7 by almost exactly a thousand votes over Rod Blagojevich. Considering she lost the state by about ten points, that’s pretty good for the GOPs. The following will give you an idea of how closely divided the district is. From the Halvorson pollster’s analysis…
The generic ballot in this district is virtually even (38% Democrat / 40% Republican). Those numbers are better than you’d expect in a Republican-held district
* From the Ozinga polling memo…
The Presidential ballot underscores the competitive nature of this district.
The Presidential ballot is a statistical tie (44% McCain/43% Obama) in an open seat district in Obama’s home state.
* And here’s some back and forth on TV messaging. From Halvorson…
Halvorson’s television buy is doing a good job of expanding her personal popularity, but she needs the resources to sustain it. She currently receives a 38% favorable / 20% unfavorable rating – an increase of 14 points in her favorable rating since May. While Halvorson’s ratio of favorables to unfavorables is nearly 2:1, Ozinga’s unfavorable rating is nearly as high as his favorable rating (28% favorable / 22% unfavorable).
Despite significant spending on the part of the Halvorson campaign, Debbie Halvorson holds a tenuous two point lead on the ballot (36% Ozinga/38% Halvorson). This represents a net 15 point improvement for Ozinga since our April survey (26% Ozinga/43% Halvorson) and a net five point improvement since August (33% Ozinga/40% Halvorson).
* Halvorson’s slightly earlier poll showed no movement…
Halvorson has maintained her vote share since May (43% Halvorson / 32% Ozinga). The small amount of movement in Ozinga’s vote is within the poll’s margin of error, in spite of his strong spending on television ads (more than $400,000) and his extensive direct mail
program, which has included more than ten pieces and has been heavily negative.
* Ozinga’s poll did show movement. Lots of it…
Since April, Halvorson has dropped five points (43% to 38%) and Ozinga has climbed ten (26% to 36%). In addition, John McCain is holding his own in IL-11, despite Obama’s favorite son status in Illinois.
* Halvorson’s poll included the Green Party candidate…
Halvorson leads Ozinga by a 43% to 35% margin, with Green Party candidate Jason Wallace at 6%.
* There was no reference to Wallace in the Ozinga press release, but Gov. Blagojevich rated a mention…
Halvorson’s negative attacks on Marty Ozinga have not improved her ballot numbers and have instead reinforced her image as a typical politician who is inexorably tied to the incredibly unpopular Rod Blagojevich (15% fav/72% unfav).
* Halvorson poll methodology…
Anzalone Liszt Research conducted n=500 live telephone interviews with likely 2008 general election voters in Illinois CD-11. Interviews were conducted between September 14-16, 2008. Respondents were selected at random with interviews apportioned geographically based on expected voter turnout. Expected margin of sampling error is ±4.4% with a 95% confidence level.
* Ozinga poll methodology…
Public Opinion Strategies conducted a telephone survey among 400 likely voters in Illinois’ 11th Congressional District. The survey was conducted September 17-18, 2008 and has a margin of error of +4.9% in 95 out of 100 cases.
Please bless your sons and daughters with only salient analysis when they opt to comment on these two poll results on The Capitol Fax blog.
Yea, though I walk in the valley of amateur statisticians in the shadow of those who do not understand political polling, I am not afraid. For thou art my adequate sample size and my sufficient margin of error.
Thou preparest even polling for me. Thou anointest my head with an understanding that two polls can have slightly differing results.
Surely understanding that both campaigns want a clean poll in which to govern their campaign strategies shall follow me all of my life.
Ozinga is behind, but has caught up. McCain will carry the 11th even though it is in Obama’s state. It is a district that favors Republicans by 10%. With no incumbant out there, a seasoned local with gobs of national money, and a late starter with no campaign experience, these two polls sound about right.
It is a toss-up.
Halvorson is personally likable, but politically too freaky-deeky for this district, and Ozinga fits politically, but voters don’t find him attractive.
Guys will go with Daddy, and gals will go with Nanny.
Halvorson’s negative ad on Ozinga’s insurance/emergency room comments is pretty good.
Overall, though, I think her demeanor during the on-camera monologues in her spots is a little “hot” for the cool medium. Eyes bugging, too earnest; stagey, not conversational and natural. I don’t know her though; maybe she really talks that way.
“Just because Wallace isn’t in the poll summary doesn’t mean he isn’t in the poll itself. Let’s move along.”
That’s a good point. Ozinga’s poll leaves 26% unaccounted for. I wonder if Wallace was included and, if so, how much of this went to him. I do think that both the Halvorson and Ozinga campaigns would make a decision about whether to report Wallace’s results, regardless if he was included in the poll, based on his actual results. In other words, I wonder if Ozinga included him, but did not report him, because he was doing too well. On the other hand, I think that the Halvorson campaign would take any opportunity to report a Wallace result that didn’t look good–they seem to have a vested interest in ensuring that his poll numbers don’t look good, so he can be excluded from debates.
There’s one statistic that seems almost certainly incorrect:
===Judy Baar Topinka actually won the 11th District two years ago, 50.3 to 49.7 over Rod Blagojevich.===
That can’t be right because it means that in all of the 11th district, Rich Whitney the Green Party candidate got 0%. It’s inconceivable that Whitney got 10% statewide but not even 0.1% in the 11th District.