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Dold, Bost on “most vulnerable” list

Friday, May 1, 2015

* From Politico’s “Campaign Pro”

… Democrats won over 1.4 million more votes for Congress than Republicans in 2012, yet Republicans comfortably kept control of the House. And that’s why even a decisive Democratic victory at the national level in 2016 is unlikely to produce a change in which party controls the chamber.

Predictably, the races at the top of our list tend to be the most volatile districts. Seven of the top 10 flipped last cycle, including seats represented by freshman Republican Reps. Rod Blum and Cresent Hardy, and Democratic Reps. Brad Ashford and Gwen Graham — all of whom hold seats that voted for the other party’s candidate for president in 2012. In two of the remaining three top-10 districts, vulnerable incumbents aren’t running again.

Here’s Campaign Pro’s top 30 House races of 2016, ranked in order of likelihood of a party switch: […]

3. Illinois-10 (R — Dold): This seat in Chicago’s northern suburbs is the most Democratic district in the country represented by a Republican. GOP Rep. Bob Dold won the seat in 2010 after Mark Kirk chose to run for the Senate, but lost it to Democrat Brad Schneider two years later. Last fall, Dold won the rematch with 51 percent of the vote. He’s likely to face tougher odds in a presidential year — Obama won 58 percent of the vote in the district in 2012, and Schneider’s already announced that he’s running again. But Dold has a moderate voting record, and he raised an impressive $605,000 in the first quarter. Schneider first faces Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering in the primary. […]

14. Illinois-12 (R — Bost): GOP Rep. Mike Bost beat Democratic Rep. Bill Enyart by a solid margin last November, winning 52 percent of the vote in this southern Illinois district. Enyart doesn’t seem to be running again — he terminated his campaign committee last month — and Bost pulled in a respectable $418,000 in the first quarter. But the district went for Obama by a thin margin in 2012, and the right Democrat might be able to defeat Bost in a presidential year.

I don’t totally disagree with the Dold ranking. That district flips with the top of the ticket, but Dold might be able to hold on. If a Democrat does win it next year and Hillary wins the presidency, the district could flip back GOP again in 2018. A Republican president, however, could transform the district into a somewhat safer Dem seat.

But the Illinois Dems put Bost at the top of their target list after he won his first Illinois House race in a Democratic district during a big Republican year. Bost held onto that seat for 20 more years. He cannot be underestimated.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


All we might know is, it’s gonna be close

Monday, Nov 3, 2014

* Be careful with this analysis. From Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog

Quinn, of Illinois, looked to be in the most danger of these three incumbents. My polling-based analysis in early summer had him with a 25 percent chance to beat Republican Bruce Rauner. At the time, however, I warned that Quinn probably had a better shot than early polls suggested. Quinn is a Democratic governor in a Democratic state. He won in 2010 despite an approval rating of 40 percent (at best) and with only about 15 percent of voters saying the state was heading in the right direction.

This year, Quinn’s approval rating is again between 35 percent and 40 percent. And again, he looks like he may win. His campaign has somewhat successfully painted Rauner as an out-of-touch millionaire. According to a recent Chicago Tribune poll, voters are more likely to say Quinn is in touch with people like them. They also view him as more honest than Rauner, even if they think Rauner can better handle the economy.

The fight between an incumbent people don’t approve of and a challenger with his own flaws has resulted in a close race, but one in which Quinn is a favorite. The FiveThirtyEight model gives him a 66 percent chance of winning.

They’ve got Quinn winning by just 1.3 percentage points.

* Quinn won four years ago 46.79 percent to 45.94 percent - a margin of just 0.85 percent.

Gov. Quinn will probably need to increase his 2010 percentage to win this year because there were three other candidates on the ballot last time who took a combined 7.27 percent of the vote. Unless the Libertarian can reach that number, Quinn has to better his numbers in the face of strong GOP headwinds and a gazillionaire opponent.

Either way, we’re talking little bitty numbers here. Tiny fractions of percentage points here and there can win this thing or lose it.

According to 2010 exit polling, Democrats made up 44 percent of the electorate, Republicans were 32 percent and indies were 24 percent. Needless to say, Quinn didn’t get many independent votes. He had to scramble like mad.

* There was a big spike over the weekend in Chicago, where early voters, absentee returns and grace period voting totaled 33,625. Lines were long everywhere. I figure another 6,000 more absentees will eventually be mailed in, based on past performance, but that could increase as well. So far, 39,638 more Chicagoans have voted before election day than in 2010.

But also keep in mind that some very GOP-leaning townships in suburban Cook are reporting huge early vote/absentee numbers, as are the collar counties. Downstate remains a question. Anecdotal info abounds. The unions in Madison and Rock Island counties did an extraordinary job with the early vote, for instance.

Again, a million different factors are at play here. FiveThirtyEight predicted Bill Brady would win last time with 51..5 percent of the vote to 44 for Quinn. His model had 86.7 percent confidence in 2010, but 66 percent today.

* Also, Sun-Times

After delivering a speech to volunteers in Chicago, Durbin spoke of the Democrats’ bid to target so-called “drop-off voters” as well as the party’s field operation. The party identified 900,000 people who have voted in a presidential election but tend to skip off-year elections. Each of those voters were contacted three times, Durbin said.

Durbin said on Saturday alone, Democrats knocked on 142,000 doors statewide. […]

More than 430,000 people have turned out to vote early in Illinois, breaking a record set in 2010. Both Republicans and Democrats claimed the news was good for their side.

“We feel great. We (knocked on) 90,000 doors yesterday,” which is more doors than in 2010, Rauner campaign manager Chip Englander said. “We have the largest grassroots force that has ever been in Illinois. We have over 10,000 volunteers in every corner of the state. I think it’s been unmatched by anyone, ever.”

Yes, the Democratic program is much bigger than the GOP program, but that’s because the GOP program is brand new. It’s something they didn’t have in 2010.

…Adding… These are not Democratic bastions, to say the least

In suburban Cook County, more than 169,000 voters have cast early ballots, Cook County Clerk David Orr said.

The busiest early-voting sites in suburban Cook County were Orland Township, with 8,222 voters, followed by Arlington Heights (7,740 voters) and Northbrook (6,289).

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      


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