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Poll: Two-point race for governor? Giannoulias ahead?

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010 - Posted by Rich Miller

* CNN/TIME’s new poll of likely voters shows a very close race for governor

…40 percent of likely voters back state senator Bill Brady, the GOP nominee, with 38 percent backing Gov. Pat Quinn, the Democrat’s nominee.

Fourteen percent support independent Scott Lee Cohen, while four percent support Green Party candidate Rich Whitney.

The crosstabs have Cohen scoring 16 percent of Democrats, 19 percent of independents and 6 percent of Republicans. They also have Quinn beating Bill Brady in Cook County 49-26 (with a whopping 17 percent going to Cohen), losing in the collars 53-25 (12 percent for Cohen) and losing Downstate 45-33 (15 percent for Cohen). Unlike other recent polling, Quinn is leading among women.


* The poll also has Giannoulias ahead in the Senate race

Forty-three percent of likely voters questioned in the poll say they back Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Democrat’s Senate nominee, while 42 percent support Rep. Mark Kirk, the Republican standard-bearer.

Eight percent back Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones, while another four percent remain undecided.

Other polls of likely voters conducted this month also indicate the race is a dead heat.

“The key to this race may be Jones, whose support among liberals and independents is in double digits. Since 13 percent of the independents are currently opting for Jones, Kirk has a 16-point lead among that group,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

* Methodology…

The CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted September 24-28, with 1,504 adults, including 1,360 registered voters in Illinois and 828 likely voters, questioned by telephone.

The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for registered voters and plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for likely voters.

Anybody wanna take a crack at this one?


  1. - Publius - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:10 pm:

    I trust this poll more than the previous ones. I’ve read into how they poll and it is more accurate than Rasmussen or PPP. As a Poli Sci student I have to look at the methods used before I judge them.

  2. - Richard Afflis - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:10 pm:

    I am sure this is the only accurate poll and all the rest are wrong.
    Actually, I think the races are tighter than other polls show. Not sure the governor’s race is this close but a lot can happen in the next five or so weeks.

  3. - JCIII - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:16 pm:

    My only thought here is did you look @ the age brackets? They have Quinn ahead of Brady among voters 50-64? John McCain got 45% of that Demographic….there is no way that Bill Brady has softer support with 50+ers than John McCain…..though with McCain the Octogenarians may have liked having one of their own in the whitehouse!

  4. - phocion - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:18 pm:

    Yes, this is the only accurage poll and every other poll is wrong. There is no way that this poll could be the outlier. Pat Quinn will end up easily dispatching Bill Brady despite every indication to the contrary, because this poll says so. This election will so defy historical trends that political science students will study it with awe for generations to come.

  5. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:20 pm:

    So they included the non-registered voters in the poll? Not sure I understand their numbers, also if Quinn’s polling was looking this good I suspect he would still have the same pollster he had a couple of weeks ago.

    The Alexi, Kirk numbers make sense.

  6. - Dirt Digger - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:21 pm:

    Based on their numbers for California in the same batch of polling I am extremely skeptical. These are awfully D-friendly when no other data is.

  7. - Siriusly - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:22 pm:

    Not surprised if you say things are getting tighter, but I am surprised that any poll has Quinn only down by 2.

  8. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:23 pm:

    The interesting part of the poll is SLCs support. That is something to watch. I have to agree with Publius, as a Pol Sci major, this poll questioning is better than Rasmussen which skews R and PPP which skews D. Where the poll could be an outlier is where JCIII is stating that Quinn is leading with Seniors. It could be a bad sample. SLC though is making a big big dent and moving up. If I were the Quinn camp, I would get worried about SLC more than Whitney.

  9. - ILPundit - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:23 pm:

    Rich –

    Where do you get the downstate numbers? From what I could tell, there were two attempted breakouts for downstate “north” and “south”. South apparently didn’t even have enough of a sample size to give a number at all.

    I have a strong suspicion that this poll badly under-polled downstate.

  10. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:24 pm:

    Also they seem to have used roughly the same sample size in all the locations they sampled (big difference between the populations or Illinois, California and Alaska). It’s been a while since I have had stats so I know that isn’t a big deal.

    I would be nice to see a breakdown by geographic region in the state.

  11. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:24 pm:

    I just can’t believe the Cohen nombers. The Senate race sounds about right.

  12. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:24 pm:

    I told you this race would tighten-just didn’t think it would so quickly. Just kidding.

    I really don’t think any poll is worth a darn right now because voters haven’t really focused on the election yet.

    But just for fun I’ll say, Brady is toast!

  13. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:25 pm:


  14. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:29 pm:

    Also ‘the south’ was considered N/A in both polls, so unless ‘the north’ is defined as everything outside the collars I am going to call BS on parts of this.

    Also some of the subgroups have a 8% margin of error. That is significant.

  15. - OurMagician - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:29 pm:

    Pat Quinn gets 17% of the conservative vote and leads in the 50-64 vote?

  16. - cassandra - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:30 pm:

    I always thought it was Quinn’s race to lose and was surprised at the earlier polls. A blue state with an incumbent governor, home of a historic sitting Democratic President doesn’t suddenly up and vote a conservative unknown into the governor’s chair. All the jobs stuff Quinn is doing probably helps, but the basics aren’t there for Brady. I wish it weren’t so. Quinn is not good for my net worth.

    Kirk I never thought could win-combo of resume fluffing and an opponent heavily supported by the WH which badly wants to keep the seat Democratic.
    Somehow, I don’t think the bank problems have stuck to Alexi.

    Jones is doing well–I wonder if he will move into the mainstream in some future election.

  17. - JCIII - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:30 pm:

    I’d just like to see a couple of other polls with SLC in them. Cuz if he’s dropping 3-5 million then his 15% could be realistic what we need are multiple cross-tabs to see who he’s actually stealing votes from!!! And i noticed the same demographic “issue” in California. John McCain won 65+ers in California in ‘08 are you seriously telling me Meg Whitman is softer with the elderly than Jerry Brown than john McCain………this poll seems very Hamlet

    ….something is rotten in the state of denmark

  18. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:31 pm:

    I’ve been awfully tough on Pat. I don’t think he’s cut out to be governor, but I’m happy that he got some good news today.

    If Quinn had a strong chief of staff, like Jim Reilly, I would have no problem voting for him.

    Brady is a bigger lightweight than Quinn, even in right-wing circles.

  19. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:31 pm:

    Kirk has a larger lead among his base, and a 16 point lead among independents. Similar to other polls, which tells me they oversampled Democrats compared with the others.

  20. - JCIII - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:36 pm:

    Also would the pres focusing on SLC be a boon for him or a bust?

  21. - Logical Thinker - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:36 pm:

    Absolutely oversampled democrats in this poll, hence the big numbers for Cohen.

    This is an outlier and nowhere near the actual numbers for the race at this point.

  22. - Louis Howe - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:36 pm:

    SLC has billboards throughout central Illinois and I just received my first direct mail piece today from SLC. “Who is this Guy?” This could be more fun than a box of monkeys, if SLC can get into the low 20s..

  23. - 60611 - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:40 pm:

    Obviously, the Cohen number is the strange thing. I wonder if the fact that the pollster identifies Cohen as “the independent” is enough to add maybe 6-8% to his number. Being called “the independent” is a more favorable designation than “Democrat” or “Republican” with many people, of course.

  24. - Thoughts... - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:44 pm:

    Add the margin in and 40-38 becomes 43.5%-34.5%, which seems more like it.

    Gotta believe at this point that it’s an outlier, but who knows? I’ve never been a fan of Rasmussen or PPP.

  25. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 4:51 pm:

    I don’t need a poll to tell me:

    Brady will get an infinitesimally number of minority votes.

    Angry trades and union guys will come around and decide they are better off with Quinn than Brady.

    Women will find out where Brady stands on their issues and vote accordingly.

    Cohen’s numbers are angry voters who either won’t vote or change their minds after they re-learn how oily he truly is.

    I’m not so good with numbers so someone do the math for me.

  26. - Quinn-bashing fad - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:03 pm:

    Mmm mmm… I sure enjoyed that burnt toast for breakfast! Big inning for Quinn! Debate = slam dunk! “National Hero Brady” endorsement! Time/CNN poll = 10-point comeback! Successful jobs programs all over the state = bring on more Quinn!

  27. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:05 pm:


    Watch Rasmussen for trends only, his numbers always tighten toward accuracy at the end of the race.

    This poll is an outlier, over sampling Democrats and perhaps Chicago too. We need more of their cross tabs and methodology to understand this fully. I also question polls where Likely and Registered are nearly the same. This says to me that there is no correction attempted for voter enthusiasm.

  28. - Responsa - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:07 pm:

    Poll looks like an outlier. Still, BOTH Quinn and Brady might want to get serious, quit ignoring SLC, and do some quick pre-emptive work on air or direct mail to define Cohen.

    A lot about the Cohen campaign does not make any sense. He came out of nowhere. What of his funding, motive, silent backers, organization, personal issues, etc.? So statewide media, could you maybe take some time away from Rahm and do a little investigative work on SLC? You blew it the first time around in the primary. Are you going to do it again? And if people thought SLC was too scary to run as LT. Gov., a largely ceremonial position, and had to be replaced–here’s a newsflash: He’s running for GOVERNOR, now.

  29. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:07 pm:

    The other crappy note about this poll is the lack of data amongst 18-34 voters. How could you have no data for anyone in that age bracket. That actually hurts the poll. Plus it has SLC 14 across the board in any group. That is just striking to me upon further review.

  30. - soccermom - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:21 pm:

    Word — you are absolutely right. He needs someone tough to keep the trains running on time — and not running into each other. I think a Quinn administration with a deputy governor along the lines of Bradley Tusk — only a bit older, and preferably Illinois-based — could be great.

  31. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:21 pm:

    I just looked at some of the other races. Check out Alaska. How in the world can a write in candidate be polling even with the Republican? If that’s true, it will be the first time EVER that a write-in does well. Of course, Alaska is notoriously difficult to poll.

  32. - bored now - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:23 pm:

    what we are seeing is that a poll’s results is highly dependent on their screen and, to a lesser extent, the week’s news. the latter suggests that things are pretty fluid, and voters aren’t exactly tuned into this election, yet.

    in the end, both sides understand that the outcome will be decided by who turns out their voters. there is no question that tea party types are highly motivated (but i have yet to see any indication that they are going to vote for “RINO” kirk) and they will definitely turn out. older voters turn out no matter what. so the results will be decided by who else, if any one, votes in this election. i think anyone who is confident about who’s ahead and who will win is a fool. but maybe that’s just me.

    in the breaking news department, i just got robo called by a gun control activist. didn’t brady just get the nra endorsement? if so, quinn’s campaign (presumably) sure jumped on that quickly. i’d be interested in knowing how many calls they’re making…

  33. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:28 pm:

    This whole poll is just weird. As others have mentioned, apparently there aren’t any 18-34 year olds. Also, did anyone notice that in Florida the sample size only included those 50 and over? I don’t know what “North” means but the “South” has disappeared also. Additionally, the margins of error in the crosstabs for Illinois seem pretty high to me. It’s been a while since statistics for me but it would seem to me that this poll didn’t get a valid sample and should have been thrown out.

  34. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:29 pm:

    Cincinnatus, isn’t the write-in candidate the incumbent there?

  35. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:33 pm:

    It’s not a surprise that Murkowsky would poll OK in Alaska. I’m not sure, though, that the poll data turns into actual votes given she is a write-in. I think this race in Alaska is really beyond polling because of that fact. She is well known so people will pick her, but she doesn’t have a box to check next to her name so she probably won’t do that well in actual voting.

  36. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:37 pm:

    Soccermom, I think Quinn would have been an awesome, Irish, Catholic school Illinois Democrat who would have beat the stuffing out of some of these hillbilly zombies in the Senate.

    He ain’t a manager. He’s a tree-shaker, not a jelly-maker.

  37. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:39 pm:

    Yes, Rich. But most of her previous support came from Republicans and who turned her out in the the primary. It’s hard to believe that in the land of Palin, Republicans will turn out in any number to support the person Palin did not support. Plus, Alaska law requires (if memory serves) that the candidate’s name be spelled exactly. There is currently a court battle going on over this issue and a certain element within the Alaska Election Commission said that if “voter intent” could be determined, they would count the vote regardless of the law (Bush v. Gore redux?). I cannot imagine a scenario where sufficient voters first find the write in line, and second spell Murkowski’s name correctly, and third hand Palin a defeat when you know damned well she will head to Alaska to make sure it doesn’t happen in her state to her preferred candidate.

  38. - kj - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:45 pm:

    The Brady campaign has to re-look at the strategy. The theory was Cohen would kill Quinn, giving Brady a bigger margin. This poll would indicate that these are Quinn haters who would go to Brady, but instead protest with Cohen. Brady, though this is unconventional, may want to do a ad unloading on Cohen.

  39. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:47 pm:

    Land of Palin, seriously?

    Don’t you have more respect for this incredible country and it’s magnificent history to lump it in with some malignant Fox News weathergirl?

  40. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:53 pm:


    You don’t think that the former governor carries weight in her state? Hell, she almost singlehandedly got Murkowski booted.

  41. - CM46 - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:55 pm:

    Rich, Murkowski is the incumbent.

    Actually I may be off but I don’t think it’s strange that Murkowski is polling well in Alaska. She has lots of money and name recognition.

    There are a lot of people up in Alaska hoping she will pull this off.

  42. - CM46 - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 5:56 pm:

    I’m sorry Rich I forgot to say who lost the primary to Miller.

  43. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 6:37 pm:

    “…the Illinois gubernatorial battle is all
    tied-up.” CNN-TIME said it THIS time. Plus or minus 2.5% or 3.5%…Boy oh Boy…no fat lady even nearby the premises now…(dare I suggest that Mr. Quinn, in reality, may actually be ahead, given that margin of error thing?? Those of you still coming to from the shock wave, however, don’t fret it, rather…Enjoy, ye Illinois political junkies! ‘Cuz like some of us have been thinkin’, this one’s goin’ down to the wire folks.

  44. - CU Down - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 6:48 pm:

    45-33 downstate.

    No way. There’s a reason you’ve never heard of this poll.

  45. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 6:52 pm:

    I think there might possibly be something to this. There’s a pattern that I just noticed.

  46. - DuPage Dave - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 7:21 pm:

    So much of the polling differences comes down to how they qualify voters. “Registered voters” samples tend Democratic, younger and less white. “Likely voters” tend Republican, older and whiter.

    Gallup is well known for giving higher Republican percentages (they had the highest rates for McCain in 2008) due to their screening questions for “likely voters”.

    I think this is a possibility here. On the other hand, the demographics and voting history of Illinois trend away from Republicans and toward Democrats.

    Brady’s “never heard of this guy” percentage in the August Tribune poll was about 34% (please correct if you know the actual number). When people get to know a guy, the negatives tend to go up.

    Quinn’s been spending money during football games to get his “Who is this Brady guy anyway?” message out there.

    I’m doubting the race is this close but hoping it is, just for the entertainment value.

  47. - I don't want to live in Teabagistan - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 7:23 pm:

    The more people pay attention to this race, the more they will see Bill Brady is extremely right wing. And Quinn’s support will increase. People are only slowly starting to pay any attention at all to this.

    The people who want assault weapons or want a raped woman to carry the baby to term made up their minds long ago, just like the tree-huggers did. But many moderates haven’t

    This state isn’t going to elect Brady. George Bush lost to John Kerry here, and Brady is no George Bush. This State is too Blue.

  48. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 7:33 pm:

    Cincy, if she does, it’s very sad. She’s an empty vessel.

  49. - T.J. - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 7:56 pm:

    All the CNN/Time polls around the country this week are wildly out of step with all the other polls around the country this week. Either they have magic insight into the future no one else does, or they are absolute codswallop.

  50. - JCIII - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 7:59 pm:


    On the Alaska Senate race it’s been establish that Liza M will count as a vote for Lisa Murkowski (and seriously with all the Chicagoans here who just dealt with Andrzjewski you think Murkowski is hard to spell) so there’s plut she has about $1.5 left to spend on a state who’s most expensive media market is about as pricey as Springfield.

    And one more question…..with the amount of variation we’ve seen prior to this poll between likely voters and Registered Voters, am I the only who thinks it’s odd that there’s only a couple of points difference between the LV and RV numbers?

    I mean that hasn’t been the case for any other pollster this year. PPP has shown an 10 point swing in the WI-Sen race this year if you shift from a likely Voter Model to a Registered Voter Model……these guys just did something of wrong……can anyone remember what the margin of Confidence was?

  51. - chitownhv - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 9:32 pm:

    Is this the first poll that included SLC and Whitney? It would have to mean that most of Brady’s lead was really “not Quinn” voters. By adding SLC and RW, you have a poll based on the actual ballot. I’m gonna say this is the most accurate so far.

  52. - Peggy Far South of I-80 - Wednesday, Sep 29, 10 @ 10:22 pm:

    I am surprised SLC polls so high. But then he did win the Dem Lt Gov primary. So he may have a measurable following.

    I am curious as to why the feminist vote would support a divorced man–Quinn. Do they interpret a divorced man as a heel or as some one who freed a woman from the shackles of marriage? I don’t like that he’s divorced, no more than I like that Mark Kirk is recently divorced.

  53. - Kinki-nad-us - Thursday, Sep 30, 10 @ 12:19 am:

    LOL@JCIII. You misspelled Andrzejewski yourself!
    Cinci: Murk merely *polls* well. That doesn’t mean that voters will remember their option to write her name in at the end of the ballot, however.

  54. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Sep 30, 10 @ 8:12 am:

    Kinki-nad-us - Thursday, Sep 30, 10 @ 12:19 am:

    LOL@JCIII. You misspelled Andrzejewski yourself!
    Cinci: Murk merely *polls* well. That doesn’t mean that voters will remember their option to write her name in at the end of the ballot, however.

    My point exactly.

  55. - JCIII - Thursday, Sep 30, 10 @ 8:22 am:

    Proving my point in comparison to that Murkowski is nothing! :)

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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