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Poll: Mark Kirk an unknown Senator

Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013

* Public Policy Polling has released more details of its latest poll

Almost halfway through his first term, Mark Kirk is one of the most anonymous Senators in the country. 32% approve of him, 32% disapprove, and the largest percentage at 37% doesn’t have an opinion about him one way or the other.

What’s interesting about Kirk’s numbers though is that while Republicans are not that enthused about him (only a 35/27 approval), Democrats don’t really have much of a problem with him compared to most Republican Senators (a 23/35 approval).

So, maybe Republican state legislators shouldn’t care all that much about what Sen. Kirk thinks of the pension reform bill. However

That crossover support means he might not be an easy out in 2016- he ties Lisa Madigan at 41 in a hypothetical head to head, taking 15% of the Democratic vote while losing only 11% of Republicans.

That could be a sign of Kirk’s strength. More likely, though, it’s an indication that Lisa Madigan’s star is truly falling.

* Meanwhile

As we’re finding most places Illinois voters strongly support raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour. 58% support such a move to only 34% who oppose it. The concept has overwhelming support from Democrats (77/19) and independents (57/30), and even 34% of Republicans favor it.

That’s pretty strong support, but I wonder if it would be as high if respondents were told that Illinois has the highest minimum wage of any of its neighboring states.

* Hilarious

Who do you think’s done a better job this year: Congress or the Chicago Cubs?

Congress ………….. 9%
The Cubs …………. 67%
Not sure ………….. 23%

Man oh man.

* More

Jay Cutler’s net favorability with voters in Illinois has declined a net 19 points over the last year from +26 (41/15) in November 2012 to now just +7 at 34/27.

I can’t believe he’s still net favorable.

* Methodology…

PPP surveyed 557 Illinois voters, including an oversample of 375 usual Republican primary voters, from November 22nd to 25th. The margin of error for the overall survey is +/- 4.2% and +/- 5.1% for the GOP sample. PPP’s surveys are conducted through automated telephone interviews.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 12:20 pm:

    Kirk was “unknown” enough to win one of the most hotly-contested Senate races in the country.

    The fact that 37% have no strong opinion one way or another may stem from the fact that most of his focus is on legislation that doesn’t evoke strong partisan divisions. Few people get up in arms over helping veterans, stronger sanctions on Iran or assisting people who need rehab services.

    Ted Cruz and Al Franken, Kirk is not.

  2. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    Finally, a nice comment about the Cubs on Capitol Fax! Thanks Rich for the early Christmas miracle.

  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 12:22 pm:

    ===Finally, a nice comment about the Cubs on Capitol Fax===

    Um, no. Allow me to rephrase…

    When your approval rating is a fraction of that awful loser team’s, then you’re the worst thing ever.

  4. - Mr. Big Trouble - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    Raising the minimum wage results in job reduction. Simple economics says if something costs more, people purchase less of it. Low skill labor, which is generally who is covered by minimum wage, is the something in the equation; people are the employers who purchase it.

  5. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 12:27 pm:

    C’mon Rich, even herpes enjoys a higher approval rating than Congress. But a win is a win, and Cubs fans like me don’t see too many of them, so I’ll take it nonetheless.

    Plus, at least the Cubs are rebuilding. Congress is stuck with the same, tired old lineup of has beens and never wases.

    67-9! Boo yeah!

  6. - Drago - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 12:29 pm:

    Interesting, Mr. T.

    Let’s look at those state with lower minimum wages. Know what else we find in those states? Higher numbers of people on food stamps.

    So Mr. B. Trouble, would you prefer a decent min. wage, or do you want to reduce numbers of people on food stamps? You can’t have both. Choose one.

  7. - J - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 12:29 pm:

    FKA, this is the stroke hurting Kirk.

    His office has been trying to project lots of activity, but there’s no real replacement for having the elected official out there making announcements and meeting people.

    He just isn’t as active as he used to be, and he definitely can’t be out there meeting hundreds of people every day.

  8. - shore - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 12:29 pm:

    His problem as a congressman was that he spent too much time in dc, doing foreign aid issues and not enough time in the district. You can’t be senator by press release and editorial board interview session.

    I never believed in Lisa Madigan, but her shot was in 2010 as a US senator and she blew it. I respected Julie Hamos more.

    They also did a poll on the most popular college team in the area-which has always been either notre dame or michigan which they left out. I regard UIUC as a d-3 football school.

    I will not miss cutler or his wife when Halas Hall declines to keep him at the end of the season.

  9. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 12:35 pm:

    - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 12:22 pm:

    ===Finally, a nice comment about the Cubs on Capitol Fax===

    Um, no. Allow me to rephrase…


    Too late, you’ve already been quoted…

  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 1:11 pm:

    –Raising the minimum wage results in job reduction. Simple economics says if something costs more, people purchase less of it.–

    Simple economic says you hire people when you need the help. Nobody is doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.

    Washington state has the highest minimum wage and has an unemployment rate below the national average. Vermont has the third highest minimum wage and has an unemployment rate of 4.5%, one of the lowest in the country.

    Conversely, Mississippi has no minimum wage law and has an unemployment rate above the national average.

    Way too simplistic to link minimum wage laws to employment. Higher wages do stimulate consumer spending that grows the economy, however.

  11. - Mason born - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 1:24 pm:


    As for Cutler don’t forget there are a lot of Rams, Colts, and even some Packers fans in IL. crappy QB with the bears they love it.

  12. - Willie Stark - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 2:20 pm:

    Mr. Big T, get back here you maniac and respond to wordslinger’s points! Back up your assertion with actual facts, man. Also, was uber-capitalist Henry Ford wrong when he realized he’d sell a lot more automobiles if the people who made them could also afford to purchase them?

  13. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 2:28 pm:

    Mr Stark, When Ford introduced that concept did he have to contend with unions and legacy costs?

  14. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 2:36 pm:

    = Few people get up in arms over helping veterans, stronger sanctions on Iran or assisting people who need rehab services.=

    Oh please. I call BS on the first two, and Kirk didn’t get involved in rehab services until he had his stroke.

    My prob with Kirk: I had questions pertaining to who was making decisions in his office (and the motivation for same) prior to his stroke and they certainly haven’t gone away since. And his reputation for constant flip-flopping and “stretching the truth” only reinforces same.

    I’m at the point where I envision a bunch of people running around his office, saying what a donor wants to hear with their palms out.

    Sorry, but it is what it is.

  15. - Willie Stark - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 2:37 pm:

    Mr. DD, are businesses paying minimum wage TODAY having to contend with unions and legacy costs? For example, McDonald’s, Walmart? Forgive me, but I’m not following you. Automakers today don’t pay minimum wage and contemporary UAW members, even those making less than they and their predecessors once did, can still afford to buy the cars they make.

  16. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 3:30 pm:

    All those folks who used to work for Chevrolet but no longer do may disagree with your contention that they can still afford to buy the cars the make. Especially since many of them no longer make those cars. Many of them work 2 jobs and still don’t make as much as they did when they assembled Chevys in Detroit.

  17. - Willie Stark - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 3:46 pm:

    DD, still not following the logic, but maybe it’s clearer in the DuPage air.

  18. - Drago - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 4:07 pm:

    Du Page,
    Do states with a lower min wage also have higher numbers of people on food stamps?
    Or are you simply OK with government effectively providing a subsidy (through food stamps) so that companies can pay a lower wage?

    Because when McDonalds pays minimum wage, and the rest of us pay for food stamps for McDonalds’ employees, we are effectively paying part of their salary.

  19. - Mr. Big Trouble - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 4:25 pm:

    Apparently. I have tripped a trigger here with a few folks. Willie, settle down, all I did was throw out basic economic theroy. Go read a micro economic books with supply and demand charts for the facts you seek. I think we would all agree that a specific states unemployment rate is a function of not just the minimum wage of that state, but also the job prospects , skills, and education levels of job applicants. Dont forget how much unemplyment is covered ( per cent of average weekly covered for unemployment benefits varies by state). And dont call me a maniac; you dont know me that well..

  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 4:57 pm:

    Forgot to mention earlier that the questions pertaining to self-identification are, again, interesting.

  21. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 5:13 pm:

    Cutler sealed his dwindling popularity in Chicago when he said he was voting for Romney in ‘12…what a complete doofus …really Jay? Just lie and say you’re voting for BO…

  22. - Willie Stark - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 5:29 pm:

    MBT — Funny. First, it was “simple economics” that a higher minimum wage leads to job loss. You get challenged, and suddenly it’s more complicated and many factors contribute to employment levels. But, ideology wins out in the end with the admonishment to go read a textbook that necessarily simplifies the world’s complexities, but surely you must know is not alone a sufficient basis for crafting policy.

  23. - Ruby - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 6:58 pm:

    Check Fred Klonsky’s blog for the vote on SB 1.

  24. - Steve Downstate - Tuesday, Dec 3, 13 @ 10:45 pm:

    I’m a Democrat (from now on, I’m one of the “Go away Pat Quinn” variety) and am pretty okay with Mark Kirk. He’s a moderate Republican, such a rare thing these days, and he believes in compassion for his fellow human beings (e.g., support for marriage equality; support for more physical therapy sessions for stroke victims on Medicaid).

    Many Dems are glad to see a Republican who doesn’t mind working in a bipartisan fashion. We’re the ones who were sorry to see Lincoln Chaffee and Steve LaTourette more or less get pushed aside by their own party. Dems are more likely to see “moderate” as a term of endearment, while the GOP/Tea Party crowd believes that word is the type of obscenity that should be reserved for bathroom walls.

  25. - CarrollCounty - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 7:24 am:

    “My prob with Kirk: I had questions pertaining to who was making decisions in his office (and the motivation for same) prior to his stroke and they certainly haven’t gone away since. And his reputation for constant flip-flopping and “stretching the truth” only reinforces same.”

    We stopped in his DC office around the 4th of July for gallery passes, bunch of real nice kids running the place…We could have gone to Durbin’s office, but I can’t stand him, so we went to Kirk.

    They offered candy from a big dish on the coffee table, nice people.

    When we got to the overlook gallery, the guide there told us the story of a PA senator who kept a desk full of candy in his floor desk, and this desk is now Kirk’s, since he is the most junior senator. The desk is all the way back on the side aisle, and everyone who walks by raids it for sweets.

    Long story short, Kirk is continuing this small tradition and the senate is a quirky place. He fits in.

  26. - Angry Chicagoan - Wednesday, Dec 4, 13 @ 8:53 am:

    Kirk talks a moderate game but is vote is there for the Tea Party in the vast majority of close situations. That’s a faux moderate. There’d need to be a big change in his voting record — not just the usual surveys that count every vote, but in analysis of the close votes — for me to consider him in the same category as past moderate Republican senators like Charles Percy, or, from other states, Charles Mathias (MD) and Lowell Weicker (CT).

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Afternoon updates
* Hospitals back removal of income tax sunsets
* The other strategy
* *** UPDATED 1x *** Quinn onboard; Rauner latches onto term limits proposal
* Because Illinois is a real battleground state
* Quinn dodges Rahm question on "Morning Joe"
* Morning Shorts
* Yesterday's blog posts

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