Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » GOP poll has Hare behind; PPP poll has Kirk up by four, Obama upside down
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GOP poll has Hare behind; PPP poll has Kirk up by four, Obama upside down

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010 - Posted by Rich Miller

* As I told subscribers the other day, I was polled on the 17th Congressional District race this week by The Tarrance Group, which is a GOP pollster. Expect the GOP to jump in with both feet now

Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL), viewed in strong shape at the beginning of the year, now looks to be ins serious trouble, trailing his Republican challenger by one point. […]

Hare trails businessman Bobby Schilling (R) 44% to 43% in a Tarrance Group survey that was conducted Sept. 23-25. When asked if Hare deserved re-election or if it was time for someone else, just 35% of respondents [said] he should be re-elected.

Hare’s own polling has showed this to be a super-close race for a while, so this is no surprise. And the DCCC is now helping Hare

The DCCC has reserved at least $200,000 worth of television time in the Quad-Cities. The Washington Post says it has also reserved time in the Springfield/Decatur market.

No ad is posted yet at the DCCC’s YouTube site. Stay tuned.

* There’s not a lot of news in the latest Senate numbers. Public Policy Polling’s fresh US Senate poll has Mark Kirk leading Alexi Giannoulias by four points. Unlike others, PPP actually included both third party candidates that have made it to the ballot. The crosstabs are here. From the pollster

The Illinois Senate race continues to be very close, but because Mark Kirk is doing a better job of consolidating his base than Alexi Giannoulias is he’s taken a small lead after trailing by 2 points on PPP’s previous two polls of the race. Kirk is ahead 40-36 with Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones at 8% and Libertarian Mike Labno geting 3%.

Our August poll found Kirk winning 74% of Republicans and Giannoulias getting 72% of Democrats. Now Kirk has expanded his support from his own party to 79% while Giannoulias’ support from his has declined to 68%. Kirk is getting 9% of the Democratic vote while only 2% of Republicans are planning to vote for Giannoulias. Kirk’s double digit lead with independents persists at 41-27.

This continues to be a race between two deeply unpopular candidates. Giannoulias’ favorability is 33/48 and Kirk’s isn’t much better at 33/47. 16% of voters have a negative opinion of both candidates and Kirk leads Giannoulias 35-16 with them, accounting for most of his overall lead. For many swing voters this is going to come down to choosing who they see as the lesser of two evils and right now Kirk is winning that vote.

A big factor to watch moving forward is whether Jones, the Green Party candidate, can maintain his support in the final 5 weeks as it becomes more clear that votes for him could push this race into the Republican column. On one hand Jones’ voters strongly dislike Giannoulias- 56% see him unfavorably to only 21% with a positive opinion. On the other hand they are a strongly Democratic leaning lot with 65% of them having voted for Barack Obama to only 28% who were McCain voters. If Jones fades Giannoulias will gain but if his support remains steady that’s going to be a big plus for Kirk.

Another factor that could result in the race tightening further as voters more firmly make up their minds is that 46% of the undecideds are Democrats compared to 27% who are Republicans and 27% who are independents. If those folks end up ‘coming home,’ that will move Giannoulias even closer.

This continues to be one of the closest- and depressing- Senate races in the country. Only 39% of voters say they’re excited about who they’re voting for with 45% saying they wish someone else was running. This is one race where you may end up seeing an enthusiasm gap on both sides.

* Methodology…

PPP surveyed 470 likely Illinois voters from September 23rd to 26th. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4.5%.

* As I told subscribers this morning, PPP also found that President Obama is upside down in his home state

Barack Obama’s approval numbers have dropped into negative territory even with likely voters in his home state. 44% approve of the job he’s doing while 49% say they disapprove.

Obama’s home state approval numbers had before avoided some of the trends dragging down his numbers in other states but that’s no longer the case. Independents strongly disapprove of him with just 35% feeling he’s doing a good job to 57% unhappy. Whatever support he may have maintained with Republicans has now evaporated, with only 3% of them approving of him. And although his 80/12 spread with Democrats is still pretty solid it’s not what it had been previously.

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  1. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 12:43 pm:

    Looks like we may be in for another round or “Mob Banker” since WGN is again questioning Alexi’s resume. He either worked at the bank when the most controversial loans were made, or claimed he worked there when he actually didn’t so he could claim a huge IRS deduction. See here:,0,7764777.story

  2. - shore - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 12:52 pm:

    To her credit, jan schakowsky has been running a serious campaign this summer/fall, I can’t understand why someone like hare would take anything for granted.

    Some political pro needs to come up with a meter that translates what 200k spent in each media market of the state translates into because 200k downstate, I would think buys a lot more ads than 200k in chicago. If you ever teach a class on illinois politics, I would put this in the users manual.

  3. - Louis Howe - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 1:00 pm:

    The 17th District is constructed in such a gerrymandered fashion that the layout captures nearly every democratic area (except Peoria) in central and western Illinois, however, the multiple media markets and fractured community of interests make it tough to send a coherent message and establish deep candidate awareness. Throw in the facts that Phil didn’t have a real contested voter 2006 primary (he was selected by Democratic Precinct Committeemen) and didn’t have any opponent in 2008, and Hare is running with all the negatives of an incumbent without the benefits of previous campaign driven awareness.

    All polling is questionable in this year’s depressed Democratic Party turnout election. That’s why Hare needs to be up 8 to 10 points going into Election Day.

  4. - Ray del Camino - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 1:11 pm:

    Keep in mind this small sample size–less than 500–when talking about support from subgroups of Dems, Reps, and Indies. Comparing groups of less than 200 from survey to survey is very problematic. A decline from 72% to 68% among Dems for Alexi, for example, doesn’t take into account a ± 7 point margin for error of there are, say, 200 Dems in each survey. That “movement” may be nothing but random error.

  5. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 1:12 pm:


    The MediaMeter® is a great idea. If you want to go old school, this is a “fun” read for some background on DMA and politics in Illinois (even fairly current from 2009):

  6. - D.P. Gumby - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 1:21 pm:

    None of this would be nearly as disheartening if any of the opponents to the incumbents were actually substantively any more intelligent or superior to said incumbents…however, in most cases they are even bigger hacks…go figure.

  7. - bored now - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 1:26 pm:

    the ppp’s conclusion is pretty much what i’m finding. alexi has not consolidated his base to the same degree as kirk, and the question is, will those voters come home or stay at home on election day? BUT, his standing among democrats has markedly improved (which one assumes is why the tribune has decided to go after him in their current jihad). i am growing increasingly confident, simply because alexi is doing what he has to do and kirk is, well, still kirk. he’d love to be our senator if someone would just hand him the job. but it’s clear that he won’t work too hard for it.

    will he even show up at the few debates he’s deigned to schedule? i’m doubtful. if he can’t handle the simple questions of downstate voters who are inclined to vote for him, and he flees from the press (through a kitchen!) like a coward, it’s really hard to see how he doesn’t feign some excuse to miss these highly publicized, much anticipated appearances.

    but, rest assured, he will have (by that time) come up with a really fabulous excuse, one that makes him look like the hero he imagines himself to be! mark kirk has definitely established that he’s the best liar in politics today…

  8. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 1:46 pm:

    bored now,

    If you look at the cross-tabs, Kirk’s recent improvement can partially be explained by Alexi’s loss of support among Democrats, and the effects of the Green party candidate.

    PPP implies Obama is having an effect on races all across the US. Here in Illinois, for the first time, Obama is underwater, which would indicate that the trends are not in Alexi’s favor.

    Currently, moderates comprise an extremely large Undecided voting block. It remains to be seen whether Kirk’s moderate cred comes through, and the effect of Obama’s upcoming appearances (not currently a fan of moderates, even in Illinois) on Alexi’s numbers. In previous months, I would have said that Obama would help Alexi, but it seems that Obama is becoming toxic. Alexi would be better served with Clinton helping him than his old b-ball buddy.

    Notice also that a larger portion of Alexi’s base wishes there was a different candidate to vote for than that of Kirk’s. This shows greater voter dissatisfaction with Alexi, which may equate to less turnout, than with Kirk, who appears to be solidifying his base, perhaps because of his downstate swing.

    Kirk is polling unusually strong among blacks and hispanics. More bad news for Alexi.

    There is plenty of time left in this race, and I don’t count Alexi out by any means. But your confidence in Alexi should match mine in Kirk. I am skeptical of the strength of either candidate. But the current polling should worry Alexi more than it should Kirk.

  9. - Responsa - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 2:07 pm:

    Uh oh, looks like bored now is going to have to retire his famous “favorite son” talking point.

  10. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 2:23 pm:

    Hare is really hard to like. He acts like he built Lane’s cozlition of support instead of just having it fall upon his lap. His quickly displayed irritation at those who question him is not easily forgotten. Hare may have the 17th gerrymandered for a Democrat, but not for a Democrat who ranks number 406 out of his House collegues in effectiveness. Hare just isn’t very good dealing with voters. He isn’t a good politician on the stump. Naturally he is threatened, eventually even Democrats get tired of a sloppy guy and won’t return him to office.

    I expect him to be shown the door. He earned the boot aiming for his butt.

  11. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 2:44 pm:

    Hare had a cakewalk of a race in 2006, which also coincided with a bad Republican year. He had NO opponent in 2008. He is not a great campaigner. I’m not going to throw him under the bus and allege that his staff is incapable. I just don’t think Mr. Hare is Congressional material.

  12. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:38 pm:

    Hare is not hard to like; he’s like any other working stiff you might find at the UAW Hall, VFW or American Legion in Rock Island and Moline.

    They ran TV weathermen and anchors at Lane Evans for years. The district rejected them.

    Great part of the state, by the way. Belgian Village, RIBCO, Harold’s on the Rock, and the the mighty Mississippi.

  13. - bored now - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 6:04 pm:

    Responsa: i usually wait for more than one indicator that someone is down or up. the president’s favorability is down, but he is still illinois’ favorite son.

    Cincinnatus: i haven’t looked at the crosstabs yet. i have 8 polls sitting in front of me right now, and i’ll get to them as i’m able. i’m sorta busy right now, and probably a little over-extended. but i certainly appreciate y’alls efforts to get behind the numbers!

  14. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Sep 30, 10 @ 8:15 am:

    bored now,

    I asked RM to post this for general consumption. As a wonk, you may enjoy it:

  15. - bored now - Thursday, Sep 30, 10 @ 9:07 am:

    i saw that. thanks…

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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