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Poll: Obama way upside down in collars, Downstate

Monday, Oct 3, 2011

* Fox Chicago had We Ask America do an automated poll of President Obama’s job approval rating here in Illinois. He’s still a net positive, but just barely. And the president’s numbers in Downstate and suburban areas have got to be giving legislative and congressional Democrats a severe case of heartburn

Do you approve of the job President Obama is doing?

* Approve: 49.81%
* Disapprove: 46.23%
* Neutral: 3.96%

Downstate voters rate Obama job performance:

* Approve: 39%
* Disapprove: 57%

Suburban (”collar”) county voters rate Obama job performance:

* Approve: 43%
* Disapprove: 55%

Chicago voters rate Obama job performance:

* Approve: 78%
* Disapprove: 18%

Suburban Cook County voters rate Obama job performance:

* Approve: 53%
* Disapprove: 42%

African-American voters in Illinois rate Obama job performance:

* Approve: 87%
* Disapprove: 11%


* Approve: 59%
* Disapprove: 34%


* Approve: 42%
* Disapprove: 53%

Male voters in Illinois:

* Approve: 45%
* Disapprove: 52%

Female voters in Illinois:

* Approve: 55%
* Disapprove: 40%

Emphasis added.


…Adding… As a comparison, Obama’s job rating in the 2010 exit polling here was 54 percent approve, 46 percent disapprove. Fewer Democrat tend to vote in off-year elections, so his total approval rating would probably be higher, meaning he’s slipped even more.

…Adding More… The poll also matched up the president with a few rivals. He’s beating them all quite handily. And while he’s over 50 percent in all the contests, his highest point is just 52.85 percent against Herman Cain. Nobody is saying that Obama will lose Illinois. But he should be doing much better than that, and Downstate and suburban down-ticket Democrats need him to do far better than he is.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ahoy - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:09 pm:

    I don’t know if Illinois trends mirror US trends, but I would think the Hispanic and Female numbers would be very encouraging for the President. I wonder what those numbers are in Florida.

  2. - 47th Ward - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:10 pm:

    I think the question asked, “if the election were held today…”

    Thankfully, it isn’t.

  3. - Jake P - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:12 pm:

    search trends tell the same story. Perry is even besting Obama here in Illinois:

  4. - A Naughty Moose - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:12 pm:

    Approve/disapprove is tricky. There are plenty of people who disapprove of the president on the left, and they’re likely to come home not only for him but for the Dem ballot in general.

    For evidence, look no further than the same poll’s head to head matchups, Obama vs various Republican contenders. The President is 20-25 points ahead in every one.

    Lots of folks dissatisfied Obama hasn’t been a more aggressive progressive, but they’ll vote for him and against Tea Partiers up and down the ballot every time.

  5. - MOON - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:15 pm:

    At this stage in the campaign the polls are interesting but far from conclusive.

    A better indication will be after the GOP nominates somebody.

    Then its a “one on one” contest and much more telling will be those polls. Its not to say Obama doesn’t have a uphill fight, its just that the field will be down to 2 and the voters must choose.

  6. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:16 pm:

    Jake, you know well that a search trend doesn’t equal support.

  7. - Peter - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:18 pm:

    @Jake P - How much can a search trend really tell you about voter preference? One option came into the national spotlight in the past several months; the other has been president for several years. Seems like more people would feel the need to search for the former more since ignorance is naturally higher.

  8. - Quinn T. Sential - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:25 pm:

    I would think the numbers in suburban Cook would be most troubling as that is likely where the greatest erosion of support has occurred.

  9. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:25 pm:

    Flannery was just on Chi radio blabbing how President Obama crushes all the GOPers include flavor of the week Chris “I skipped the pension payment” Christie.

    Guess that does not bode well for all the GOPer gains. But let’s keep the drama going and start ringing our hands.

  10. - Gregor - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:26 pm:

    I’m sorry, but I’m just not going to believe anything from Fox on general principle. Can I believe Obama is down in the polls, sure. He’s taking a huge pasting from an organized effort on the other side, and he’s under-performing on getting his agenda advanced in DC due to being overly conciliatory. On the other hand, it is pretty easy to rig a poll to make it look worse than things really are, and you can bet a horseshoe on it that Fox will attempt with their every resource to make any poor polling look wore than it is, in order to make hay for Ailes.

  11. - 2012 General Election - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:28 pm:

    Luckily for Obama, the Republican Coalition is fractured, in total disarray, and large swaths of the party, tea-party folk, moderates, and/or big $$$ donors, may be disenfranchised depending on who their candidate is come the general election. In 2008, there was only 2 horses in the Dem Camp and it was a good debate for the party. There is no indication that the same healthy debate is currently taking place within the Republican Party.

    My guess is, Democrats, while not everyone in the party is happy with the current administration and all of their decisions, will be more coalesced come Nov. 2012 than the Republicans.

  12. - Anon - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:28 pm:

    I’m with Gregor. If someone on Fox said the sky was blue, I’d go outside to make sure.

  13. - Tom B. - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:31 pm:

    Rich, you cannot compare mid term exits and a one-night automated survey to track movement.

    First you are actually measuring two way different electorates. Second, there is a big problem with single night response surveys that are entirely blocked from cell phones. And third, the questions are worded differently, which makes a difference in the way people respond.

  14. - Quinn T. Sential - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:31 pm:

    Democratic presidential candidate and Illinois Senator Barack Obama captured the highest number of votes (698,158) ever recorded by a Presidential candidate in suburban Cook County.

    Obama also won more townships (27) than any Democratic presidential candidate in
    history and 89 percent of all suburban precincts.

  15. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:31 pm:

    QTS, suburban Cook numbers are pretty much the same as they were in the 2010 exit polling.

  16. - Quinn T. Sential - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:35 pm:

    34% of new voter registrations in Suburban Cook County in the September 1st to October 7th 2008 period were voters in the 18-24 age bracket.

    They did not come out to vote in anywhere near the same percentages in the mid-term elections in 2010, and now the youngest of the group as well as those on the higher end of the age band are largely unemployed, or under-employed.

  17. - aaron singer - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:37 pm:


    Where do you see poll numbers that show Obama up 20-25% on GOP opponents? Curious, because the numbers I’ve seen recently are much closer than that.

  18. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:42 pm:

    ===Where do you see poll numbers that show===

    Click thru the link above. He’s up 15-20+ on all comers.

  19. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:42 pm:

    And, Tom, I know about the different universes. I qualified it above.

  20. - Jake P - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:43 pm:

    Never said it does! Isn’t a proxy for support, but a proxy for interest.

    Here’s the Weiner Seat. Note what happened as Election Day closed in. Turner pulled away.

    Just sayin’!

  21. - 1776 - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:43 pm:

    @ Gregor and Anon….

    Fox News Chicago is the local TV station in Chicago…not the national Fox with Bill O’Reilly, Glen Beck and the rest of the gang.

  22. - aaron singer - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:44 pm:

    I misunderstood the comment, then. I was thinking national head-to-head polling #s, not just Illinois.

  23. - Downstate - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:44 pm:

    The downstate mood regarding Obama is reflective of the downstate mood regarding Illinois Democrats in general.

    Another oddity that’s occurring in my rural community is that farmers (and the agricultural community) used to look upon the D’s, as the one “protecting their interests”. Now that farmers are making six (and seven) figure incomes and have enjoyed the HUGE price increases in property - they are directly impacted by the Dem’s increase of income and estate tax.

    Farming became a business - and farmers have finally realized that the Democrats are anti-business.

    In my area - 20 years ago, our Congressman, State Senator, and State Rep were all Democrats. Now they are all Republicans. County board flipped from D to R as well.

  24. - shore - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 4:55 pm:

    the last pre-election poll from 2008 had obama-mccain 59-35, it ended up 62-37, this poll has obama romney 50-35. I think it makes a big difference who the 15 percent who are undecided in the obama-romney poll are. If they’re obama people who will vote for him anyway I don’t really see this as a big deal. If they’re that last 15 percent of the vote he got last time-republicans that voted democrat for the first time or new voters who won’t vote again or moderate republicans who don’t know enough about romney yet, then I think this has real meaning.

  25. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 5:00 pm:

    ~Fox News Chicago is the local TV station in Chicago…not the national Fox with Bill O’Reilly, Glen Beck and the rest of the gang.~

    Same guy signing the paycheck.

  26. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 5:01 pm:

    A more interesting point would be about the coat tails Obama will have. We expect him to win Illinois, but will he be helping or hurting down ballot. As a polarizing figure, is his support going to show up at the polls, and will his detractors be motivated to go to the polls against him, driving up Republican numbers in other races. This election should have high turnout. What is that effect on the rest of the ticket?

  27. - Wensicia - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 5:24 pm:

    “I don’t think [Americans are] better off than they were four years ago,” Obama in why he agrees he’s the underdog right now. He’s right. Unless things improve or the Republicans scare Americans into thinking things will get even worse under them, Obama may be a one term president.

  28. - Gregor - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 5:24 pm:

    The dem voters are going to close ranks and double-down with Obama, as it is the only thing that can counter the right’s agenda. If there are dems that dislike Obama, they dislike the Conservatives and their agenda on the right more, and will close ranks just to frustrate the right
    the right’s attempt to take over leadership and undo what reforms have been accomplished..

  29. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 5:39 pm:

    People, try to keep this as Illinois-centric as possible. Seriously. This post is not an excuse for your favorite national talking points or theories. There are plenty of other blogs for that silliness.

  30. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 5:51 pm:

    Gregor’s right again. As an Illinois voter, I understood that Obama isn’t the liberal the right likes to pretend he is. I voted for him anyway, both when he ran for US Senate and for President. I don’t see me changing me mind about him next year–there’s no one the GOP can run who could convince me they’re more liberal than Obama.

  31. - Responsa - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 6:01 pm:

    I would also look to the 2010 Illinois gubernatorial race for some guidance. It was a very close race. Sure midterms are different than Presidential elections, but if anything, people in Illinois are much more scared and disaffected and unhappy with politics than they were then. And Obama has lost his mojo. Can the eventual Republican presidential candidate easily pick up many thousands more votes than Brady did statewide? I’m betting yes. Can the Cook Dems really drag out gobs more votes for Obama than they did for Quinn? Guess we’ll see.

  32. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 6:03 pm:


    I brought up right track/wrong track numbers to reinforce my questions stated above. There is a 2009 study that shows that the “track” is a way of looking at the voting decision making process by voters. Low numbers spell doom.

    Given that, the effect of “track” will drive Illinois turnout (I suspect lower than anticipated for Dems, the reverse for Reps), hence Obama coattails and may cause worse than otherwise expected results for incumbents (there are more D’s so they may be more effected) and depress enthusiasm for D’s in general.

    Or not.

  33. - Gregor - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 6:17 pm:

    Well, to bring the argument back around to state politics - there is zero percentage in Illinois not backing Obama and a dem sweep, and here is I think why.

    If Obama wins and you weren’t on board in Illinois and locally… you’ll have 4 years of your state projects getting a poor reception and support from Washington, and your rival’s projects will get priority. That tit for tat has a very long tradition to it. There are people on both sides who’s only job is such score-keeping. So the benchwarmers who don’t some out with strong support can’t expect strong support in return, and a local pol who can’t consistently deliver for their constituents in the district, is an endangered species, open to a primary challenger at least. This is traditional hardball partisan politics, as predictable as Newtonian physics.

    If Obama should lose, and worst case the republicans sweep the House and Senate with a supermajority, does Illinois seem like the state that will get preferential treatment over the rival solid red states? No, it will not. They’ll get some token support, but the big money will go to the traditional Red States because a lot of good old boys need to be rewarded with spoils of one kind or another after the election.

    So a dem base in Illinois has a little bit to win, but way more to lose, if they don’t bring in the state strong for a second term and defeat the Republican House and Senate candidates. Like it or not, this is a fight that commits both sides to a zero-sum game, all or nothing. Seeing how poorly things are going with the current House and Senate power split, it will be argued that the only way to stop the bleeding and get the country on course - ANY course - again, is an overwhelming supermajority for one party. Both sides will be working for this, despite conciliatory bi-partisan kabuki theatre to the contrary.

    There never really was any other choice, the Republicans told everybody this was the game plan the day Obama took office. It’s the most polite civil war you ever saw, and it will be winner-takes-all. Because it has to be.

  34. - park - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 7:48 pm:

    I’m amazed that almost 80% of Chicago voters approve of Obama. Amazed.

  35. - VanillaMan - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 8:33 pm:

    I am not surprised by these numbers.

    Illinois is not a bellwhether state.

    The GOP did not win here in 2010.

    This should not be close.

    The fact that this is not a complete blowout should be a concern.

    There is a sour mood within the Democratic Party. There is not a lot of enthusiasm. Quinn’s backstabbing of AFSCME does not help. Madigan is flying the hurricane warning flags already.

    Obama will win Illinois even if he loses every other state.

  36. - ANON - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 8:46 pm:

    ==The GOP did not win here in 2010.==

    It didn’t? So…all those stories about the GOP winning a majority of the congressional seats and the Senate seat were just spoofs?

  37. - VanillaMan - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 8:58 pm:

    Quinn won.
    The General Assembly did not change parties.
    While voters outside Chicago elected Republicans to DC, they kept the Democrats in control at home.

    Even after Blagojevich. After repeated budget fiascos. After historic levels of scandals.

    If the state GOP couldn’t win state seats in that atmosphere in 2010, then the GOP is dead. It should have been a sweep.

  38. - Jolietguy - Monday, Oct 3, 11 @ 9:41 pm:

    Illinois will go for Obama but with one less electoral vote, which is very important

  39. - Louis Howe - Tuesday, Oct 4, 11 @ 3:09 am:

    47th Ward…”Thankfully it isn’t”…However, the election climate [i.e. economy] for Obama will most likely only get worse between now and next November. In fact, the stagnation period may extend for years with ever rising voter angst for future candidates to address. As for down ballot democrats, Obama looks more and more like Hoover, even in Illinois. Obama’s lasting legacy may very well be a devastated Democratic Party both in Congress and at the state and local levels.

  40. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 4, 11 @ 8:52 am:

    The numbers are a lot better than I expected, considering the endless wars and the fact the economy has been stuck in the mud since September 2008.

    –I would also look to the 2010 Illinois gubernatorial race for some guidance.–

    If so, you’re writing off the GOP in Illinois for a long time. Pat Quinn, the original gadfly, won outright in the face of national GOP blowout, carrying Blago on his back.

    You can’t rationalize that one away. The fact is, a majority of Illinoisans will not buy the current Dixie-dominated GOP brand.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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