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Poll: Durbin with a single digit lead and slightly below 50

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* During the Illinois State Fair, I was chatting with a friend of mine who’s also a Chicago TV reporter. The conversation turned to Jim Oberweis and Dick Durbin. My buddy said Durbin would win going away. I said I thought it would be closer than that, partly because Durbin’s been in DC so many years. So, we made a bet. I bet the final spread would be single digits, my friend said it would be double digits.

The last We Ask America poll of this race in late July had Durbin ahead 53-38. The poll was taken before the State Fair, so I could understand why my buddy was so confident.

But things can change in politics. And while I haven’t yet won that bet, I may be on my way to collecting some cash

In a year that’s expected to tilt toward Republicans across the nation, Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. Senate, is leading Oberweis, who is making his third run for the Senate, 47.8 percent to 40.5 percent, the [We Ask America] survey commissioned by the Sun-Times’ political portal shows.

And in the first major survey since an Illinois State Board of Elections ruling allowed the Libertarian Party onto the ballot, candidate Sharon Hansen had a showing of about 4 percent.

Now you see why the Republicans wanted the Libertarian Party off the ballot. She’s getting 8 percent of the independent vote, according to the poll. So far, anyway, she’s splitting the anti-Durbin vote with Oberweis. We’ll see what happens when party loyalty kicks in.

…Adding… Something happened to half this post. It didn’t publish. Hold on a bit. I’m reconstructing now.

* More

Of those surveyed, 60 percent responded they were less likely to vote for a U.S. Senate candidate who had served in Washington, in the Senate and Congress, for 31 years. […]

Still, when asked: “If a candidate for the U.S. Senate has run five unsuccessful campaigns for various public offices in the past, would that make you more likely or less likely to vote for him?” [54 percent less likely] 44 percent said they were either more likely to support that person or that it made no difference.

* From the pollster

“The tight numbers may be a reflection of a Republican year,” he said. “Still, Sen. Durbin is close to 50 percent in the poll. He has the advantage of a large campaign fund and an experienced campaign staff. That can’t be ignored.”

* Meanwhile, Oberweis got a big boost from a prominent black minister

Bishop Larry Trotter, the senior pastor of Sweet Holy Spirit Church of Chicago, said Sunday he’s backing Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis for U.S. Senate, changing allegiance from longtime incumbent U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. […]

He said he’s switching his support from Durbin to Oberweis after seeing meager economic development in African-American neighborhoods; a lack of a south suburban trauma center and a perceived “lack of access” to Durbin.

“When you pastor 8,000 people, I think you ought to get a return phone call,” Trotter said at a news conference in his church office Sunday afternoon.

He said he has spoken with Durbin only once despite “many attempts” to express his concerns to the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. Senate.

I’m betting the real reason is Trotter’s leadership of the anti gay marriage effort last year. Oberweis voted with Bishop Trotter. Durbin supports gay marriage. No mention of either fact in the article, however.

posted by Rich Miller
Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:14 am

Comments

  1. Those are disturbing numbers for someone with a profile as high as Mr. Durbin’s.

    Very disturbing.

    Comment by Formerly Known As... Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:21 am

  2. Although the national trend is going to be towards the Republicans in a non Presidential year, I think most of the drag on Durbin and other incumbents has everything to do with his tenure and exposure. Look no further than Eric Cantor & Mitch McConnell as examples.

    Comment by Stones Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:22 am

  3. Durbin is a strong campaigner and a motivated Durbin is not good news for Rauner. Durbin is also the best candidate to bring out downstate Democrats, a group that would be less motivated to get to the polls if they were only concerned with Quinn. If the race really is tightening (and if the DSCC polling shows the same) you could see some DC money spent here for the coordinated campaign or GOTV efforts. The Republicans are very unlikely to actually beat Durbin so for every Republican other than Oberweis they’d be better off just losing quietly.

    Comment by The Captain Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:23 am

  4. This is a very interesting poll on a number of different levels. There’s a school of thought that the President’s unpopular image of late doesn’t resonate in Illinois. This poll would point toward that being untrue. Durbin is under 50%. His trend has been moving slowly, but steadily down. I have no idea how Oberweis plays into it or if he does at all. There looks to be an “unpopularity” contest going on in this state and elsewhere. We’ll see soon enough. But this looks like equally bad news for Durbin and the party.

    Comment by A guy... Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:26 am

  5. Rich, for some reason the second half of the post was published and publicly visible prior to my comment. Don’t know if that helps find the problem.

    I thought my eyes were playing tricks after hitting the “Say It!” button.

    Comment by Formerly Known As... Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:30 am

  6. ==Durbin is also the best candidate to bring out downstate Democrats,==

    I think you’re greatly overestimating any positive downstate poll Durbin has. Greatly overestimating.

    Comment by Anonymoiis Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:31 am

  7. Cap’n, respectfully disagree on all but your last point. Durbin will probably win. The Senate D’s are up to their necks in alligators throughout the country with some very expensive and tough races. Dick will be expected to spend his own money here, and he has plenty of it. Every poll I’ve see of Downstaters has Quinn doing miserably. Beyond what anything Dick could do. Dick needs to worry about Dick right now or the word “revolution” will have real meaning. If he loses, you can count on many races being turned on their heads. If R Miller wins his bet, a single digit victory, it’s still a good night for the GOP.

    Comment by A guy... Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:31 am

  8. ==I think you’re greatly overestimating any positive downstate poll Durbin has. Greatly overestimating.==

    1) Durbin’s downstate numbers will be better than any other statewide Dem except for White and Madigan who are not in competitive races.

    2) The crosstabs show Durbin at 43% with about 7% undecided. Mid 40’s is typical for a competitive Democrat downstate, it’s lower than where Durbin typically is but it’s also about 10 points higher than where Quinn was in 2010.

    So no, I’m not.

    Comment by The Captain Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:37 am

  9. Two points:

    First, I’ve argued for a while that the one thing that could help turnout for Quinn would be the perception of a close race for Durbin. Democrats seem to like Durbin more than Quinn. They will show up if he’s in danger and when they do so, they will also support Quinn. If Durbin looks like an easy win, they will not turn out just to support Quinn.

    And as to Trotter - the idea that Oberweis, who has made a career of standing up against people of color (including most recently support for voter ID) is a better choice for poor people over Durbin is simply ridiculous. Trotter hates gays more than he wants economic development. That’s all there is too it.

    Comment by Gooner Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:37 am

  10. Once again I think this poll has more to do with the company conducting the poll than current numbers. If Durbin was in single digits he would have been on TV already, he has the money. As this blog post stated he has an experienced campaign team, and they would have noticed this already.

    Durbin will win by at least 12. We Ask America will be wrong again come the night of November 4th.

    Comment by Almost the Weekend Tuesday, Sep 2, 14 @ 11:38 am

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