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Apparently, the grand conspiracy is backfiring

Monday, Jun 17, 2013

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

In a sign that some truly awful publicity for her father may be hurting her possible gubernatorial bid, Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s poll numbers have plunged in the past several months. And Bill Daley has considerably improved his standing since he announced his candidacy.

Back in January, a We Ask America poll had Ms. Madigan leading Gov. Pat Quinn in a Democratic primary by 25 points, 51 percent to 26 percent. A Public Policy Polling survey taken last November had Madigan stomping Quinn by a whopping 44 points, 64-20.

But the newest Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll, taken June 13th, had Madigan’s lead over Quinn at 11 points, 44-33. That’s still a big lead, but not nearly the cremation many were expecting.

The poll of 1,322 likely Democratic primary voters had a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent. About 22 percent were cell phone users.

It’s possible that House Speaker Michael Madigan may be at least somewhat responsible for his daughter’s slide. He’s clearly wearing the jacket for the General Assembly’s failure to pass pension reform because he’s refusing to compromise with Gov. Quinn and Senate President John Cullerton. That stalemate has resulted in some spectacularly bad publicity for the elder Madigan.

“It’s easy to look at these results and assume the governor could easily lose in a primary,” said pollster Gregg Durham last week. “But Mr. Quinn would be a more formidable opponent than these numbers indicate. He’s not only had a history of coming back from atrocious poll numbers, you and I know that any challenger in a gubernatorial campaign is going to face an extra level of scrutiny that won’t be easy to overcome. You never know what that white-hot spotlight will show. Quinn can’t legitimately be viewed as ‘The Walking Dead.’ He’s more a ‘Person of Interest.’”

Madigan’s lead among Democratic women has dropped considerably since January’s We Ask America poll was taken. Back then, she was ahead of Quinn 53-22. This time around, she’s ahead 47-29. And Quinn has overtaken Madigan among men. Madigan led with men 46-30 in January, but now Quinn is ahead 41-38.

Her lead over Quinn in Chicago has also dropped. January’s lead was 46-30, but now it’s 39-35. She has also lost major ground in suburban Cook County and Quinn has overtaken her in the collar counties. But Downstate is still a huge problem for Quinn, where he trails 56-22, about the same as January’s poll.

Bill Daley announced his candidacy last week, and his poll numbers have improved, at least in the We Ask America poll. In January, Daley trailed Gov. Quinn in a one-on-one matchup by five points, 38-33. But now he leads Quinn 38-37. However, Public Policy Polling had Daley leading Quinn 37-34 last November.

In January, the polling showed Daley trailing the governor by a couple of points among women. He now leads by about 2 points. Daley, the son of a former Chicago mayor and brother of another, was losing among men by eight points back in January, but is now tied.

As expected, Quinn is leading Daley among likely black voters 42-34 and 40-23 among Latinos. Daley does lead Quinn 41-35 among whites, however.

Daley trails Quinn in Downstate counties 38-33, and in Chicago 39-37. But he leads the governor in suburban Cook 46-36 and in the collars 39-37.

Daley has also improved his numbers in a three-way contest against Madigan and Quinn, while Madigan has lost some ground.

Back in January, We Ask America had Madigan at 37 percent to Quinn’s 20 percent and Daley’s 15 percent. The newest poll, however, has Madigan at 32 percent to 21 for Quinn and 22 for Daley.

Daley and Quinn have both upped their numbers among Democratic men. Back in January, it was 34 for Madigan, 24 for Quinn and 18 for Daley. Now it’s 28-27-24, respectively. Daley has also improved among Democratic women. In January, Madigan led Quinn and Daley 38-17-13, now it’s 35-18-20.

Madigan leads Quinn and Daley in Chicago 30-25-18, which is below her 35-18-18 advantage in January. Madigan actually trails Daley by a point in suburban Cook and in the collars, but leads big Downstate.

Attorney General Madigan is still the favorite, but this may not be a coronation if she decides to run.

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- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Keep Calm and Carry On - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 9:37 am:

    Perhaps she can separate herself from the negative publicity of her father by issuing a formal legal opinion on the pension reform proposals.

    Last time I looked at Friday’s poll, the #’s were running roughly 6-% - 40% in support of her following the precedent she has set in similar situations and providing some guidance.

    It’s a chance to step up and assert herself as an independent actor.

    Someone in leadership should request an opinion in accordance with Illinois statutes and give her the chance to do so.

  2. - Keep Calm and Carry On - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 9:38 am:

    That is, 60% - 40% in favor of her providing an opinion

  3. - Bill White - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 9:39 am:

    If Bill Daley is the nominee, I just might need to support Dan Rutherford.

    At least he stays at the Red Roof Inn and has fewer ties to the Rauner-Daley-Fahner-Rahm “Austerity for thee, but not for me” crowd.

    In the alternative, if Lisa Madigan sits this one out, then maybe - HORROR OF HORRORS - Pat Quinn gets re-elected.

  4. - Shore - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 9:41 am:

    Suburban women may not like Republicans who are conservative on social issues but they really really really hate politicians who try to take advantage of them especially on fiscal issues in tough economic times. Strike 1 was blago, strike 2 is the struggling economic recovery most aren’t feeling. This is strike 3.

    Lisa should have taken the senate seat safety in 2010. As the kennedys, hyneses and many other political families have learned over the years there’s a limit to even the most cherished family brands. The madigans have theirs on extremely thin ice.

  5. - Bill White - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 9:42 am:

    If the Attorney General issued an opinion that Cullerton’s original SB2404 was far more likely to be held constitutional than the revised version of SB1 and thereafter Cullerton’s version is passed by the General Assembly and signed into law, then . . .

    IMHO . . .

    The coronation of Lisa Madigan would be back on.

  6. - too obvious - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 9:46 am:

    Lisa hasn’t been in the news much lately. All changes IF she gets in.

    Competition is so weak on both R and D sides. This would be her race to lose if she runs.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 9:55 am:

    This race has me spooked…It’s a Karma Thing.

    Way too early, but this is what I was fearing with Bill Daley.

    Lots of time, we will see how the Offical “Rollouts” go and if they change this Karma thing for me.

    Or it could be the Bad Pizza I ate still milling about in my body …

  8. - Nickypiii - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:02 am:

    If it panics like a lame duck and quacks like a lame duck….then he’s probably a lame duck!

  9. - Commonsense in Illinois - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:07 am:

    One thing that keeps being included in any discussion about AG Madigan is that she is the mother of young pre-school children (maybe the eldest is now in grade school). Given the time demands of the Governor’s Office, one has to wonder if part of her consideration isn’t on how much time she’d be away from her children at a time in their lives when they would need her most? Just how effective a Governor would she be if she tried the impossible task of dividing her time between official duties and family duties. Not very easy.

  10. - Lobo Y Olla - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:08 am:

    Rich- why do you always not the number of cell phone calls in polls? Are they less accurate? We haven’t had a land line in years. We’ve also never been tapped by pollsters. What’s the deal?

  11. - Commonsense in Illinois - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:08 am:

    Actually that should have started, “One thing that keeps being EXCLUDED…”

  12. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:09 am:

    You guys just don’t get it — three-dimensional chess, remember?

    MJM didn’t want Lisa to enter the family business — “Governor Madigan, Sen. Madigan, I never wanted that for you. There just wasn’t enough time.”

    So he’s purposely sabotaging the family brand name by putting himself in the crosshairs of the media over pensions.

    He was willing to go so far as to act the fool and run away from Chuck Goudie like he was some sort of Stickney bookie.

    The conspiracy is to keep Lisa out of the mansion. Let one of the others deal with the mess, and Lisa will get her federal judgeship before Obama is done.

  13. - cassandra - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:13 am:

    I still don’t think either bill will pass constitutional muster, but passing the Cullerton bill might be less upsetting to public employee unions (and should be a lot less upsetting to retirees’ net worth present and future) and allow candidates to talk about something else while the court challenge proceeds. Like, the “temporary” tax increase. Make it permanent? Extend it again?

  14. - Fred's Mustache - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:13 am:

    === One thing that keeps being included in any discussion about AG Madigan is that she is the mother of young pre-school children (maybe the eldest is now in grade school). ===

    Her husband works from home and cares for the children.

  15. - Dave Fako - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:14 am:

    Lobo…Reputable polling firms will disclose the number of interviews completed via cell phones. Per federal law, robo polls cannot even attempt to dial a cell phone without permission from the cell phone owner, but they may supplement these polls with hand dialed cell phone interviews. Cell phone interviews cannot be initiated by an auto
    dialer or computer, etc.

  16. - Happy Returns - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:15 am:

    Lobo, there was a time when cell phone poll calls weren’t included - long after they should have been, and it skewed polling. I see their mention here as a reassurance that he poll was done more properly.

  17. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:15 am:

    The ultimate book on LM will be her own record in office.

    Nice lady, lots of consumer feel good stuff, unwillingness to confront entrenched corruption in Illinois governance.

    Is there enough of the good to overcome the meh?

  18. - Demoralized - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:15 am:


    Did you seriously just make the argument that she shouldn’t run because she is a mother? You can’t be serious. That is the lowest of low of arguments. It’s tried on female candidates all of the time. Is she a single mother? No. Those children also have a father. Women work outside the home all the time in high profile jobs. What you said is about the most sexist thing you could say. Give me a break.

  19. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:15 am:

    –Just how effective a Governor would she be if she tried the impossible task of dividing her time between official duties and family duties. –

    Yeah, but that army of staff, drivers, money for servants, etc., sure can make life a little easier.

    C’mon, Rip, time to wake up. Is daily life some sort of sweet ride for any working mother — or father, for that matter? Try having kids in daycare with both parents working, like millions do every day.

    I’d sure rather be governor with small kids to take care of than a hotel maid riding the early bus downtown to work in the same spot.

  20. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:15 am:

    ===Rich- why do you always not the number of cell phone calls in polls? ===

    Not sure what your question is.

  21. - Demoralized - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:16 am:


    Also, your argument makes even less sense because she is already the Attorney General. You don’t think that job requires a bit of time? Again, I can’t believe you even went there.

  22. - Nickypiii - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:17 am:

    Common Sense: Do your research…Lisa’s spouse takes care of the children at home while doing his poliotical cartoons.

  23. - Roger - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:17 am:

    I think Rich’s analysis of Lisa’s shinking lead is dead on. Since the closing days of session, the Speaker has had one of the worst stretches of his career in the Chicago media. Those of us who operate within the Springfield bubble are used to him not compromising and we laugh at stories about him blowing off Quinn, or not having a cell phone, or hiding in his office from Chuck Goudie. But these thing resonate with average Joes and therefore, hurt Lisa. The Speaker can afford to operate strictly within the Springfield bubble (or 13th Ward bubble.) His daughter cannot.

    And no doubt, the timing of Bill Daley’s announcement — with the backdrop of pension failure by Madigan and Quinn — gave him a boost.

  24. - Loop Lady - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    this is getting interesting…

  25. - east central - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    I cannot figure out why Gov Quinn did not advocate the SB2404 Cullerton pension plan in its original form. This would give him substantial election support from We Are One unions as well as pension system members in general.

    Is it possible PQ is being controlled on pension issues by a threat that if he does not comply with the Speaker’s wishes then LM will be encouraged to run for governor?

  26. - Lobo Y Olla - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    Sorry, it should have read, “Why do you note the percentage cell phone call users in polls?”

  27. - Hey There 2 - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    Am I missing something? Is there any other explanation for PQ’s closing on LM’s lead other than fallout from her dad and the legislature’s continued ineffectiveness? LM hasn’t done anything bad to explain the results nor has PQ done anything good and nothing’s happened in state government the last few months which would otherwise explain PQ moving up and LM moving down.

  28. - bored now - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    because polls that include cell phones are considered more accurate than polls that do not. about a quarter of households nationwide are cell phone only households. this poll states that 22 percent of its respondents were contacted through cell phones, which is within the MOE of cell phone only users…

  29. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:33 am:

    ===Sorry, it should have read, “Why do you note the percentage cell phone call users in polls?” ===

    Standard procedure.

  30. - Anonish - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:33 am:

    Lobo, cell phone number lists can’t be bought like land line lists can be from the service providers. People have to more actively offer their cell numbers up in order to be included on lists that get calls. There are also certain fcc rules about calling phones you know to be cellular.
    I read the inclusion as a sign that the pollster is keeping their model current with trends in people dropping land lines.

  31. - ZC - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:38 am:

    With three non Downstate candidates, it’s time for them to all head south of I80.

    It’s only a rule of thumb, but Downstate has been a key component of Democratic gubernatorial primary victories. Glenn Poshard in 1998. Blagojevich in 2002 - Vallas might still be governor right now, if he’d campaigned more for votes down south.

    Fair enough that a lot changes in a decade. But only my gut tells me those downstate numbers are still really, really bad news for Quinn.

  32. - Responsa - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    I think that with all the prior media hype, most people had sort of expected Lisa to set the world on fire as AG. She has been there a while, she has not set the world on fire, really, and so her averageness as a public servant is gradually sinking in as people process that disappointment. Also, I think her dad’s mis-steps and political troubles have tarnished the family name and are perhaps making voters less interested in continuing the dynasty. Each of of these factors magnify the other and when combined make her less formidable than she used to be.

  33. - Lundstrom - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    Responsa, I agree with you. The AG office lends itself to the ‘I’m fighting for you’ meme. That is what an AG is supposed to do; at best she is a stadard and typical AG in that respect (nothing special, but nothing bad–no scandals or major problems while in office). Outside of that, we don’t know much about Lisa Madigan and how strong she would really be as a governor. Managing and office and leading a state are two very different things.

    I don’t hold her father against her. I think she, like anyone else, should be judged on her own merits. She can’t help who her father is or what he does. I think with some voters her father won’t help her much, but I do think there are voters who wouldn’t hold her father against her too much.

  34. - Keep Calm and Carry On - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 12:57 pm:

    Responsa, the only thing I might add is that some folks may hear “Madigan” and register concern over the idea of having a Madigan running the Executive branch and a Madigan basically running the Legislative branch.

    People know that name. They also know our state isn’t in the best shape at the moment. It’s unclear whether that accounts for 1% or 100% of the erosion in her support, but it is definitely a factor.

  35. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    This is nearly as bad as when the GOPies had all the cool websites and were destined to reap enormous gains and rule the world
    We seem to remember today’s pollster was the GOPie top strateeegerist then
    Ahah A common thread.

  36. - MoneyMoney - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 1:25 pm:

    Commonsense in Illinois - Lisa’s family life/obligations has absolutely no part in this discussion unless SHE makes it an issue. No one ever points out that male candidates have young families and that has to be considered when assessing a man’s candidacy. EVER. By bringing this up, you diminish the seriousness of her candidacy. And dividing her parental duties with her professional duties is not an “impossible task”. What world have you been living in that makes you even say this stuff?

  37. - Keep Calm and Carry On - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    @FakeKirkDillard: Lisa Madigan has exactly the sort of “traditional family” we need in the mansion.

  38. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 3:40 pm:

    Willy has “karma,” and I have my “tea leaves.”

    I don’t believe that the Madigan numbers mean much, and the um, “counters” offered here (generally, mediocrity, dynasty, and concerns re: branches) aren’t going to stick.

    The advantage of being part of a “dynasty” is truly knowing the people (voters) of your State, understanding that “image is everything,” and having the confidence to believe that you have all the time in the world to develop and maintain that image–so no tasteless rushing that often results in huge and unforgiveable mistakes. It’s like watching the difference between old money and the nouveau riche (and in some cases even, the nouveau riche wannabes).

    As a GOPer, I’m not going to go into the details, but I will say that “time” is everything–and it’s the perfect “strategy.” On one hand, you have those who have had–as they believed they would, time “forever” and then you have those trying to catch up when that’s an impossibility.

  39. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 3:48 pm:

    And…there are some things, like reputation and background, that the best OR analysts and consultants cannot spoil even through ruin. In some unique cases, even trying is–as Willy would say, “folly.”

    I think this is one of those.

  40. - tired of politics - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 5:15 pm:

    What if Lisa issues an opinion that Cullerton’s plan has the best chance to survive a constitutional challenge? Daily and Quinn would be toast in the primary.

  41. - mokenavince - Monday, Jun 17, 13 @ 10:43 pm:

    Lisa is cooked, Daley would not throw his hat in the ring other wise. The Madigan name is starting to melt. Madigan and Cullerton are sinking this state. It is starting really get people PO’D.

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