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New poll shows horrific numbers for Dem governor even though state has liberal electorate

Thursday, Oct 25, 2007

* Illinois Wesleyan University has a new statewide poll. Let’s first look at some of the political results.

Conducted by Illinois Wesleyan University Department of Political Science
October 15 – 18, 2007 Sample Size N = 395 (Confidence Interval +/- 5%)

2. Would you say that you generally approve or generally disapprove of the way that Rod Blagojevich is handling his job as governor of Illinois?

23% approve
60% disapprove
18% Other/undecided/NR

3. Would you say that you generally approve or generally disapprove of the way that Dick Durbin is handling his job as Senator from Illinois?

54% approve
22% disapprove
24% Other/undecided/NR

4. Would you say that you generally approve or generally disapprove of the way George Bush is handling his job as President?

21% approve
69% disapprove
10% Other/undecided/NR

5. If the upcoming elections for the U.S. Congress were being held today, who would you like to see win in your district, the Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate?

49% Democratic candidate
27% Republican candidate
24% Undecided/NR

* The numbers reported yesterday in the Rasmussen poll aren’t the same, but it was a different kind of job approval question…

Blagojevich: 16% good or excellent; 83% fair or poor… Bush: 31% good or excellent; 68% fair or poor

* On to issues. This response was kinda surprising to me, considering how the politicians bloviate on the issue all the time…

7. An emerging national controversy is how to handle the large number of people who have been convicted of non-violent drug-related offenses. If two political candidates held the following views, which would you prefer to win?

25% Candidate ‘A’ says we should increase penalties and incarceration of these offenders
62% Candidate ‘B’ says we should not build more prisons but focus upon drug treatment programs
20% No preference/Undecided/NR
4% Other (specify response)

So, 82 percent either don’t want to build more prisons or have no preference? The vast majority appear to be either ambivalent about our current “lock ‘em up” policy or are against it. Wow.

* Just a third get their info about politics from the Internet…

1. Do you ever get news or information about political candidates and campaigns from the Internet?

33% Yes
66% No
1% Unsure/NR

* A big majority believes global warming is probably happening now…

8. How convinced are you that global warming or the greenhouse effect is actually happening – would you say you are completely convinced, mostly convinced, not so convinced or not at all convinced?

34% completely convinced
32% mostly convinced
16% not so convinced
13% not at all convinced
5% undecided/other/NR

* Pretty big “liberal” majorities on hot-button issues…

13. Would you say that you generally support or generally oppose government funding for medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos?

63% generally support
27% generally oppose
10% depends/undecided/NR

14. Which comes closest to your view - Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry, or gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry, or there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship?

28% Allowed to legally marry
27% civil unions
34% no legal recognition
11% other/undecided/NR

15. The U. S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that a woman has right to an abortion if she chooses at any time during the first three months of pregnancy. Would you say that you generally favor or oppose that ruling?

58% favor
34% oppose
8% undecided/other/NR

* Iraq…

9. In view of the developments since we first sent our troops to Iraq, do you think the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq, or not?

59% Yes, a mistake
33% No, not a mistake
8% other/undecided/NR

10. Should the U.S. troops in Iraq stay as long as it takes to make sure Iraq is a stable democracy, or should U.S. troops leave as soon as possible, even if Iraq is not completely stable?

33% stay as long as it takes
52% leave as soon as possible
15% other/undecided/NR

More tomorrow.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 10:59 am:

    Too much to discuss!
    I’m out of here!

  2. - Ghost - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 11:08 am:

    it is interesting that these polls which generally support traditional democrat positions, most people are very dissatisfied with the governor. Adding in Durbin is a handy touch as it shows a democrat polling well along with liberal issues.

    The polling implies that gov’s actions have effectively divorced him from the democratic base.

  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 11:14 am:

    C’mon, VM,don’t cop out on us now.

  4. - GoBearsss - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 11:25 am:

    What I think VanillaMan meant to say was:

    The post speaks for itself.

  5. - Greg - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 11:28 am:


    I gotta say that I prefer approve/disapprove over the 4-choicer. This one is binary, just like the process of voting/not voting for someone. The Rasmussen questions seem more susceptible to definitional and hedging problems.

  6. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 11:42 am:

    Greg, I agree, but both can be useful.

  7. - kimsch - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 12:22 pm:

    What were the demos? Did they oversample Dems? It’s an awfully small sample too…

  8. - BackyardConservative - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 12:26 pm:

    The issues you cite in this post are largely national. The governor is tanking because he is incompetent and can’t be trusted. This is also a problem because the Dems are in charge of everything around here and their disarray is directly affecting people’s lives–paychecks, transport. And taxes are on the rise at every level of “government” in Illinois.

  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 12:29 pm:

    Slight undersample of Dems and Repubs when compared to exit polls from last year, but that often happens because people have just voted and their party affiliation is stronger on election day.

  10. - Reckoner - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 12:30 pm:

    None of this matters, Governor Blagojevich will be re-elected in 2010. The word everyone is looking for is TEFLON.

  11. - Captain America - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 12:30 pm:

    Bad news for Blago and anyone who thinks a social/religious conservative candidate has any chance of winning a statewide constitutional office. There are none so blind as those who will not see. Social moderate/fically conservative Republicans are the only candidates who are likely to be compettive in Statewide elections.

    But a taxpayer revolt in Chicago/Cook County could change this conclusion.

    Given his state of denial/delusion, I’m sure the governor feels upbeat about his poll numbers and that he’s somehow be able to turn things around. He’d better get down on his knees and pray that the Hamos Plan gets a veto proof majority in the House next week and that the Senate acts promptly thereafter with a similar veto proof result, or his numbers are going to go to nether regions where no governor has gone before.

  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 12:31 pm:

    ===The issues you cite in this post are largely national. ===

    What results did you read? They are almost all state issues except Iraq. Gay marriage, stem cells, drug crimes, abortion and the environment are all issues the General Assembly has debated in the recent past and will continue to debate in the future.

  13. - Sango Dem - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 12:32 pm:

    The drug/prison issue is another example of weak-kneed candidates taking a position on an issue based on fear of how they’ll be portrayed if they stand for what makes sense and what most people actually want. Very much like Democrats who still can’t take a strong stand for getting out of Iraq because they don’t want to be called a hippie peacenick. Or candidates who don’t say much about the environment because they don’t want to be called a tree-hugger, even though most voters support environmental protection. Its a losing strategy for Democrats in the long run.

  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 12:34 pm:

    Also, there was a 9-point “oversample” of self-identified conservatives when compared to the 2006 exit polling. That either means conservatives have spiked or the liberal leanings of voters are even stronger than the poll would indicate.

  15. - Anon 101 - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 12:50 pm:

    This poll sample was woefully low, 395 for the Wesleyan survey? This is a poor sample from which to draw these conclusions. I would feel better about the numbers if the sample was 600 or greater. I do agree with the Blago and Bush numbers though. Now let’s see what the people think about their own congress critter. The loathe congress but love their own. I never understood that logic.

  16. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 12:52 pm:

    Anon 101, every time I post a poll, no matter how big the sample size, there are always those who find a way to say they don’t believe the results. Yet, 95 times out of a hundred, if the polls are done right, the results are correct.

  17. - Anon 201 - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 12:53 pm:

    Anon 101:

    that’s because a majority of congress critter’s voters are generally in line with who they elect, while the congress as a whole is less representative. that, and the individual congress critter is the one cutting ribbons at home.

  18. - Anonish - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 12:56 pm:

    Speaking as a stats afficionado 395 is plenty. National polls usually sample less than 600 people, Rasmussen is the only group that regulary samples over 700 people. Its not important on the size of the sample as much as it is the demographic breakdown of the sample and how closely it relates to the total population.
    If you notice Rasmussen did 500 and IWU did 395 and had the same margin of error.

    I’m not sure how I feel about their deviation from the exit polls, but perhaps it is to compensate for the difference in primary voter demos.

  19. - Anon 101 - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 1:04 pm:


    I didn’t say I disagreed with the results, I merely stated that I wished the sample was larger. I do agree with Anonish that the key to the poll is demographic breakdown of the sample and how closely it relates to the total population. I dare anyone to come up with a legit poll that shows Blago’s numbers statewide above 50%.

  20. - Downstater - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 1:07 pm:

    Rich, does this question make you nervous:-)

    1. Do you ever get news or information about political candidates and campaigns from the Internet?

    33% Yes
    66% No
    1% Unsure/NR

  21. - Greg - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 1:13 pm:

    Anonish and Rich,

    Yeah, it’s really pointless to get worked up about sample size, as we discussed yesterday. Error is not proportional to sample size (unless you consider a root proportional.) Fellow afficianado, the fact that today’s means were less extreme could be the main reason why the error matches yesterday’s.

  22. - A Citizen - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 1:21 pm:

    These polls are vastly over rating gov’s positives. I have been unable to get a positive comment from anyone I run into - grocery store, barber, dept. store, man on the street. Not one will venture a positive. The guy is toast and as AA mentioned last night, his reduced property tax bill may just haunt him into the single digits. The only salvation will be when we elect Bill Governor.

  23. - Pat collins - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 1:25 pm:

    54% is not that good for a guy going for a 3rd term. Can the curse hold? One can only hope….

  24. - BackyardConservative - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 1:39 pm:

    The issues are nationalized issues, they show liberal sentiment. The governor’s numbers diverge dramatically. The key difference is the dropoff of support driven by pocketbook issues in Illinois. they are not unique to Illinois, but Illinois under Blago is handling them among the worst of the states.

  25. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 1:54 pm:

    If “A Citizen” lives in or near Springfield, the response he’s getting wouldn’t surprise me. But if he’s been getting this kind of response anywhere north of I-80, then the guv really IS toast, or at least very warm bread :)

  26. - archpundit - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 1:58 pm:

    ===I’m not sure how I feel about their deviation from the exit polls, but perhaps it is to compensate for the difference in primary voter demos.

    The validity check is a great way to give everyone a decent way to evaluate how representative the poll is. In this case, where there is deviation, it’s not that great, or it’s for things we understand such as partisanship rises during an election.

  27. - archpundit - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 2:01 pm:

    The other thing about this poll versus Rasmussen is that Rasmussen has a house effect of more support for Republicans. Charles Franklin at Pollster explains this a bit on a variety of polls, but depending on your voting screens and such your population varies.

    In the case of Rasmussen they are very good pollsters and when their assumptions (tested, but still assumptions) represent the underlying population, they are very accurate. When the population varies a bit from those assumptions, they are a pretty good pollster.

    I have no idea what IWU’s House Effect is.

  28. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 2:16 pm:

    ===54% is not that good for a guy going for a 3rd term===

    Rod’s job approval numbers were below 50 when he won a second term, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were you.

  29. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 2:20 pm:

    ===Rich, does this question make you nervous===

    Nope It’s way up year after year. Plus, I don’t want every goof in the world coming to this blog.

  30. - Pat collins - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 3:05 pm:

    I am putting more hopes in the curse than anything else. If only I could somehow associate a goat with it…….

  31. - Well All Right Then - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 3:09 pm:

    Where’s Richard B. Ogilvie when you need him?

  32. - Fan of the Game - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 4:39 pm:

    The question about global warming is misleading.

    When the vast majority of people think “global warming,” what they really think (and have been conditioned to think) is “man-made global warming.”

    I am mostly convinced that global warming is happening. The numbers are there. However, I don’t think there is any credible evidence that it is anything but a natural change in global weather.

  33. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 5:56 pm:

    Rich 2:20:

    Sometimes, don’t you feel that every goof in the world IS coming to this blog?

  34. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 5:58 pm:

    Nah. Have you visited other blogs/newspapers? Most are much worse.

  35. - anony-mouse - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 8:27 pm:

    Blogs, and their particpants, are really no different than radio call-in programs and their callers, except misspelling on the air is less apparent. The varying levels of commetary reflect the levels of erudition of the contributors. Newspaper blogs, this blog, talk radio: it’s all just opinions.

  36. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Oct 25, 07 @ 9:55 pm:

    What was Blago’s quote last year? That ideas and standing up for what you believe in are just as (if not more) important as results? I guess the people sampled don’t feel the same way.

  37. - wallace - Friday, Oct 26, 07 @ 7:47 am:

    Excellent column this morning Rich, Blago is a loser in every sense of the word. I just wish that the electorate that re-elected this clown, elected Stroger, and continue to elect Daley would contemplate the idiocy of such an act.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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