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New polls: Giannoulias says he’s up, Rasmussen includes Cohen and Pollack says he’s down by 18

Thursday, Oct 14, 2010

* Alexi Giannoulias’ campaign has released its head-to-head topline from its latest tracking poll. Read the full, but quite brief memo by clicking here

…Adding… Kirk’s campaign claims that Giannoulias released these numbers to boost what they claim to be lagging fundraising. They also claim that all of their internals have shown a Kirk lead since the summer.

600 likely voters conducted Oct. 10-12, with a +/-4 percent margin of error. Rasmussen had Mark Kirk trailing Giannoulias 44-43 [Corrected. Sorry.], but they didn’t include all the candidates. Just stupid. And this is one reason why

Democratic operatives have apparently begun “push polling” in Illinois, trying to drive a wedge between conservative voters and Rep. Mark Kirk, the centrist Republican seeking the Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama.

According to people who have heard it, the call talks up Libertarian candidate Mike Labno as the only true “pro-life” candidate in a race that also includes Democratic State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones. It also referred to Kirk’s vote last year for Obama-backed legislation capping carbon emissions and setting up a system for polluters to trade greenhouse gas emissions credits.

The poll “asked how likely are you to vote…for governor, if today who…for Senate, if today who… (and mispronounced Giannoulias)…gave some negatives for Kirk including cap-and-trade… and listed Labno positions,” wrote a commenter on the website of the West Suburban Patriots, a Chicago-area Tea Party group. The poster said the poll concluded with a disclaimer that it was sponsored by the Democratic National Committee.

…Adding… Here’s the thing, a relative handful of Illinois voters watched last weekend’s debate, and this reporter is reading way too much into what went on

And the fact that Kirk pressed Giannoulias on the loans during last Sunday’s “Meet the Press”, while Giannoulias opted not to directly challenge Kirk on his exaggerations shows the Republican line of attack is more damaging.

Yeah. OK. That’s why Giannoulias is using the line of attack in all his ads.

* The Tribune, by the way, fronted a big Bright Start story today. Most of the new stuff was tick-tock and the piece seemed to exonerate Giannoulias on several fronts. The tone, however, probably wasn’t so great for the treasurer, and a front-page story with a big photo of Giannoulias emerging from behind a curtain wasn’t so hot, either. I’m not really sure what to think about this piece. Go read it and report back.

* Rasmussen has a new poll out and while they finally included Scott Lee Cohen in the question, they didn’t include Libertarian Lex Green. Instead, they gave voters an option for “some other candidate.” That’s just goofy. Why ask about “other” when they could’ve just asked about Green? Anyway, Raz has Bill Brady leading Quinn by six points, 46-40, but not including all candidates is a huge mistake and bad polling practices and that’s all I’m going to say about this head-to-head result.

Here are a couple of interesting toplines, however…

* Who has been a better manager of the state’s finances as governor - Pat Quinn or Rod Blagojevich?

55% Quinn
18% Blagojevich
28% Not sure

That puts Brady out of step. The other day, Brady said there was “no question” that Quinn was “far worse” than Blagojevich.

And…

* Which candidate for governor has a better plan for creating jobs in Illinois….Bill Brady or Pat Quinn?

43% Brady
30% Quinn
27% not sure

I didn’t know that either one of them had a real plan. Either way, that’s not good news at all for Gov. Quinn. Not at all. He’s just not seen as a good governor. Better than Blagojevich, sure, but that’s setting the bar pretty darned low.

* I have never seen a candidate crow about being 18 points behind before. But here’s the press release…

The Pollak for Congress campaign has released poll data showing that Democrat incumbent Jan Schakowsky has fallen to 48%, while Republican challenger Joel Pollak is gaining ground at 30%.

OK, so Schakowsky is under 50, but the guy is at 30 with less than three weeks to go. That’s a long way to move, baby.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

54 Comments
  1. - Aaron - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:12 pm:

    Plus Pollacks is an internal so I will take it with a grain of salt. But I am seeing a lot of Pollack signs around the far north side of Chicago. I have also seen his commercial that is a blatant use of his wife ethnicity to curtail of the vote from the Indian neighborhoods.

    If Jan does less than 70% it will be bad news for Dems statewide. She has never finished below that and the highest a Republican has garnered was 27%


  2. - Davey Boy Smithe - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:14 pm:

    I read the Trib’s article this morning. One piece of information that they didn’t include that I would’ve liked to seen was when Alexi or Opp knew that the actual loss was $150M. At first we were told it was around $80/$85M I believe, but I was left wondering when that original amount was reported and who reported it, the fund manager or the Treasurer. Did Opp or Alexi guess it was $85M, or did they know it was at least that amount and more? Other than that, I didn’t find it to be a damaging article against Alexi.


  3. - Publius - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:15 pm:

    The poll isn’t that bad for Dems, Alexi is up and the numbers for governor aren’t that bad for Quinn. I have been stating that come election day it is going to be within one or two points either way


  4. - Ghost - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:16 pm:

    Just imagine if Quinn actually had a downstate camapign….

    Looking at camapign presence down here, the Race is bewtween Brady and Cohen, and that just because Cohen has a few bill boards.

    You could almost run a where’s waldo contest down here to find a Quinn yard sign, much less one of them new fangleded talking box or picture box ad’s.


  5. - The Captain - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:16 pm:

    The Bright Start story looks like vindication for Giannoulias. It shows him on top of the issue early and quotes experts saying that he was the first one to act and that while things turned out poorly he couldn’t have known what was going to happen. The Tribune hasn’t done any Democrats any favors this cycle and yet they still put a vindication story on their front page, I assume they dug like hell and couldn’t find any real dirt there.


  6. - ANON - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:19 pm:

    How exactly does the Trib article exonerate him? It notes that he had known about the risky nature and poor performance of the fund for months, but refused to switch the money to a safer investment. And knowing this, he sends out letters basically saying “trust me, it’ll be fine”… And then the fund tanked even further. Is the fact that he consulted supposed exerts what you feel exonerates him? George W Bush consulted a lot of experts about WMDs in Iraq too, didn’t exactly clear him of blame.


  7. - Publius - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:19 pm:

    I’ve been throughout Downstate and I see Quinn signs in a lot of places, mostly in towns where people congregate at and or will see it. I wouldn’t say there is no downstate campaign


  8. - Honest Abe - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:20 pm:

    Aaron is right about Pollak’s visibility in the district. I have never seen any opponent of Schakowsky or the former US Representative, Sidney Yates, which such a high profile in the ordinarily reliable 9th District. The signs are on display in the front yards of actual homes and not merely opposite vacant lots or scattered along the curbs at major intersections.

    I am not sure if Joel Pollak can score an upset victory, but I seriously believe that Schakowsky is going to post the worst numbers of her career even if she is re-elected.


  9. - Adam Smith - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:20 pm:

    Releasing your internals to counter public poll numbers always smacks of desperation. And Alexi’s numbers don’t really tell us anything. It’s still withing the MOE so actually, Alexi told us that the race is tied.

    Thanks for the news flash.

    However, with the two polls (Raz and SIU)showing Brady moving back to a lead outside the MOE, it looks like Quinn may have gotten a “dead cat bounce.” Early release looks like it stopped Quinn cold.

    The dead puppies ad Quinn put out just reeks of desperation. It looks like an Onion parody. While it certainly isn’t going to help Brady, I don’t think it is going to help Quinn at all. But Pat has to throw everything at Brady if he’s going to close the gap.


  10. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:22 pm:

    ===The dead puppies ad Quinn put ou===

    That’s not an ad, it’s an Internet video.


  11. - ANON - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:33 pm:

    Releasing a positivr internal poll is a lot of times a reaction to or pre-emption of a public poll that is not so favorable.


  12. - centrist - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:36 pm:

    There seem to be errors in todays Rasmussen links. I believe the most recent Rasmussen poll has Alexi up 1 on Kirk.


  13. - shore - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:36 pm:

    What pollak is doing is driving the kirk vote up and keeping jan’s organization from going to other areas like the dold district to help seals ect. Imagine if the gop found serious candidates who could get 40 percent and make democrats sweat in the city, it would relieve a lot of the pressure on the suburban candidates that have a shot to win.

    Pollak’s message would have worked better against bean.


  14. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:43 pm:

    There are Quinn signs in Bloomington/Normal, but Brady the home boy has the majority–especially the large ones near major streets and the highways leading into town.

    An old hand at this told me that yard signs don’t vote. Yeah, but they can work on the undecided voters. The main thing will be if the voters go to polls.


  15. - non-shore - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:48 pm:

    shore: So, an incumbent approval that has been collapsing from over 70% down to the 40s is a shoe-in. Got it.


  16. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:50 pm:

    “The margin of sampling error is +/-4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.”

    Where does Rasmussen come up with this stuff? If you don’t include the candidates running who cares what your poll says. There is a 95% level of confidence that their polls are screwed up.

    I wish people would follow Royko’s advice from way back and just lie to every pollster. At least, that way hacks like Rassmussen would have to find legit work.


  17. - Ru - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:53 pm:

    Take a look at the crosstabs for the electorate in Illinois (Rasmussen Poll.) While Brady now has a somewhat solid yet tentative lead, Giannoulias and Kirk are tied. What I found interesting is that the crosstabs of the senate race show a D-R-I electorate of 46-32-22 while the gubernatorial race is 40-32-29. If you adjust the internals of the senate race to match the ones they released from the gubernatorial it shows Kirk at +5 instead of -1. Is it normal for them to change the composition of the electorate for different races, even if the same voters are showing up? I have a hard time believing that half of Illinois is going to be more D this year than 08. Just thought all of you readers might know why the numbers are so scattered. It is extremely unlikely the Dems will have a +14 electorate. it will likely be closer to +4 to +7, Alexi’s internals look like a poll of registered rather than likely voters.


  18. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:56 pm:

    I drove through Evanston and the North Side of Chicago yesterday and was stunned by the number of Pollack signs I saw. That area has been a wasteland for Republicans for a long time. The young man is running a well organized and spirited campaign and has a bright future if he wants to stay in the political arena.

    The Alexi article doesn’t exonerate him but raises some more questions. I recall he and others claimed he “inherited” the mess from Topinka, yet the article states he hired the Oppenheimer group.

    The Trib points out that other similar state funds showed a 5% return, while Bright Start in Illinois lost 38%. Not good. Also not good was Alexi’s decision to keep going with the sour investment package.

    He wanted a high return and allowed the dice to be rolled and stuck with it. When it didn’t happen, he went into the usual Alexi evasion mode.

    What Alexi has never done is own up to it.
    If he had been straight up with this mess months ago, it would have been a dead issue.


  19. - zatoichi - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:56 pm:

    Since the Bright Star issue has remained hot, have there been any performance comparisons done with similar programs in other states? If stocks were crashing huge everywhere at that time, is this performance that unexpected? If other state’s averaged 20% or 50% losses makes a huge difference. That can be a cheap rationalization for Alexi and it sure does not make the people who lost feel better. The other item that I never hear getting discussed is how much of bonus did the investment group get for their advice that year based on their performance. I was not in Bright Star, but could an investor go in at any time and change where their money went? I do it regularly with other funds.


  20. - Logical Thinker - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 1:58 pm:

    Ru just nailed it! If someone gets to the polling place, they can only vote once (in theory–this is Illinois).


  21. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:00 pm:

    ===The Alexi article doesn’t exonerate him but raises some more questions. I recall he and others claimed he “inherited” the mess from Topinka, yet the article states he hired the Oppenheimer group.===

    From the December 21, 2006 edition of the Sun-Times…

    ===Topinka’s office will announce today that Oppenheimer Funds will become the new program manager for the Bright Start College Savings Program, replacing Legg, Mason.===

    http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/181439,CST-FIN-wwTerry21.article


  22. - shore - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:00 pm:

    pollack has no chance at winning, but he’s keeping jans ground troops from going to swing areas of the state like the north shore and helping those efforts. the other thing is having a ground organization on enemy territory helps get more republicans out to the polls specifically the jewish, asian and independent voters in the 9th who will prefer kirk to alexi because of his socially moderate pro-israel ect views.


  23. - Logical Thinker - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:01 pm:

    zatoichi,

    Yes, the performance of the Bright Start bond fund was completely out of line with the performance of other similar investments in 2008. There is no rationalizing it. The investors in that specific fund should have had a 3-7% return. Instead, they got a -38% return. As for the second question, yes, investors could have swapped out the fund, however, in 2008, the market was going down significantly. The fund in question was SUPPOSED to be the port of safe harbor.


  24. - Avy - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:02 pm:

    Pollak has a surprisingly large,energetic youthfull group of volunteers out there spreading the word. While the 9th is the most liberal district in Illinois, I think the gap will seriously close between now and election day.


  25. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:03 pm:

    –That puts Brady out of step. The other day, Brady said there was “no question” that Quinn was “far worse” than Blagojevich.–

    That struck me as a strange tactic. It was unbelievable and undermined Brady’s credibility among anyone who heard it.


  26. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:04 pm:

    ===Is it normal for them to change the composition of the electorate for different races, even if the same voters are showing up?===

    The two polls were conducted on different days.


  27. - The Captain - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:04 pm:

    If Kirk’s internals had him leading all summer he may want to fire his pollster. Of the 7 polls taken in June, July and August only the We Ask America poll had him ahead. I’m not sure I’d put much stock in his internals if their track record is that bad.


  28. - A.B. - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:11 pm:

    You did say you were not going to report on any of Rasmussen’s polls as long as he didn’t include all of the candidates, right?


  29. - ANON - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:14 pm:

    Rich, Topinka may have initially dealt with Oppenheimer, but the article points out that the Core Plus fund were shifted to the riskier investments in late 2007, after AG had taken over, and stayed there losing substantial value for about a year under his watch.


  30. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:18 pm:

    Two points can be made here. First, it’s nice to have a serious challenger to Ms. Schakowsky. Second, Shore is correct. Many of Kirk’s staffers have told me that Jan’s staff and supporters would routinely waltz into the 10th CD and campaign with Seals. I’m guessing that’s not happening this election.


  31. - Katydid - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:25 pm:

    I think the Bright Start article’s effect depends on who you’re talking about. For policy wonks and campaign geeks like those of us who follow Capitol Fax , the article itself is a fairly even-handed treatment of the situation and probably won’t sway anyone even one iota one way or the other. But, the average reader isn’t in to all of the shades of grey - they just don’t have the time or the interest to get into the whole article. They’re going to read the headline “Inside Bright Start Fund’s flameout” and words like “rookie treasurer” and “volatile securities” that show up in just the first paragraphs (which is all most people read) and see that less-than-flattering picture and stop there. They aren’t going to read the rest where it talks about others being caught in the same situation and other areas where it makes it less a problem created exclusively by Alexi. We have to keep in mind that those of us here aren’t the target audience of who can be swayed. I have my own ideas of whether or not this was intentional by the Trib as to what was placed where in the article, but regardless, I think it was overall a negative for the Alexi campaign, although maybe he can pull some decent quotes out of it to make it into some sort of positive.


  32. - non-shore - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:25 pm:

    shore: Again, so approval collapsing from over 70% down to the 40s = a shoe-in?

    I’m still not convinced…


  33. - DoubleDown - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:30 pm:

    Someone posted last week in the comments section that Chicago now only accounts for 20% of the total statewide vote.

    Are these D/R/I breakdowns just for Chicago or statewide ?

    If the 20% figure is true and with the democratic apathy this cycle and south of I-80 leans more republican.

    Is these senate and gov races really as close as the polls suggest ?


  34. - enn - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:31 pm:

    ===Pollak has a surprisingly large,energetic youthfull group of volunteers out there spreading the word.===

    They seem pretty energetic in CapFax comments. Haven’t seen any of them here in the actual 9th CD, though, nor any signs that weren’t on public land. It’s true there are a lot of signs at intersections and on medians and sidewalks. Right next to the SLC signs.


  35. - Niles Township - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:40 pm:

    I agree with most of the commenters on the Pollak race. ghe won’t win, but Jan will post the worst numbers of her career. Pollak hasn’t just been spending time in Park Ridge like most GOPers in the 9th. He has signs and door-to-door people in Niles, Morton Grove, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Rogers Park and even a few in Jan’s stronghold of Evanston. From what I can tell from neighbors who are pro-Israel in their politic, but usually vote Democratic is that they have Kirk and Pollak signs sometimes along side Biss (Dem nominee) for state house and Quinn signs. An occasional Claypool sign is around too. Pollak and Kirk are appealing to moderate Jewish voters in a big way.


  36. - Segatari - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:45 pm:

    I thought you were blacklisting anything Scott Rasmussen puts out until they included every single person in the polling? Why the sudden reversal?


  37. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:47 pm:

    Segatari, I broke it because they finally included Whitney. And so I could whack them again for not including others.

    And if you’re somehow insinuating I did it because they had Giannoulias ahead, you’re wrong because my initial post used an older poll that had Kirk ahead.


  38. - Fred - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:52 pm:

    There are very few Quinn signs in Sangamon County. Traveling I-55 and I-39 in the past week from Central IL to Rockford, there were ZERO Quinn signs that I saw, and I was looking.

    Just Sayin!


  39. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 3:01 pm:

    On the sign front, Harmon’s crew was passing out material last Saturday at the field house near my home in Oak Park.

    The result was a blossoming of Quinn, Alexi, White and Madigan signs all over the village. Not much for the down-ballot candidates or Toni.

    The Oak Park Dems endorsed Berrios, but I’ve seen nothing for him or Claypool.

    More Brady signs than Kirk, but both now swamped by the Dems.


  40. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 3:12 pm:

    “. . . and the investment firm he selected to turn around Bright Start was making positive changes . . . ” Today’s Chicago Tribune.

    ” . . . Topinka’s office will announce today that Oppenheimer Funds will become the new program manager for the Bright Start College Savings Program, replacing Legg, Mason. . . . ” 12/21/06 Sun-Times.

    ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?


  41. - Publius - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 3:16 pm:

    I stand corrected in what I stated last week that Chicago is only 20% it is more like 22% of the total statewide vote. The Suburbs are around 45% and the downstate fills out the rest. The key to the election is the suburbs which are swinging Democratic more every year.


  42. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 3:22 pm:

    ===The Suburbs are around 45%===

    You really need to split those up between Cook and the rest.


  43. - The Captain - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 3:28 pm:

    That Hotline article may be the dumbest thing I’ve read today.


  44. - shore - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 3:30 pm:

    avy you are wrong. the jackson and davis and rush districts are the most liberal and democratic although reading meeks’s comments on gays I dont think those areas are liberal in all senses.

    You guys are not reading my comments. I never said pollack would win. I said he is pinning jan and her team down and preventing them from going up sheridan road to help the 10th dems hurt kirk as they have done every year since 2000.

    instead of going door to door in glencoe to scare moderate jewish women about what conservative judges-an issue alexi hasn’t used at all against kirk, because he’s playing defense on his bank and didn’t study the salvi campaign-kirk will appoint, she’s running away from conservative cameras and sweating at candidate forums.

    Do the math, every moment she spends in her district is one less voter she cant get for alexi.

    advantage good guys.


  45. - shore - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 3:33 pm:

    captain is correct, the worst thing about obamas election journalistically speaking is the fact that every tom dick and harry politico and national journal ketchup on hot dog eating dc rat thinks they have phd’s in illinois politics. this leads to bs like thinking jay footlik was congressional material.


  46. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 3:46 pm:

    –instead of going door to door in glencoe to scare moderate jewish women –

    Poor choice of words. Scare them? Never seen it. I think you mean motivate to beat you.


  47. - shore - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 3:56 pm:

    wordslinger, your grammar and politics are both wrong. One does not motivate another into voting for a candidate, one scares another into voting for a candidate. In this case, yes comrade jan will not be able to participate in her biannual trek up the north shore to scare moderate jewish women into voting for 9th district resident dan seals.


  48. - Josh - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 4:16 pm:

    Rich, it’s P-O-L-L-A-K


  49. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 4:19 pm:

    Shore, your politics are your own, as are mine, but I don’t think you want to be giving lessons in grammar or syntax.

    For some reason, known only to yourself, you consider yourself the last word on all things North Shore Jewish. My point, as someone who’s well-acquainted with many North Shore Jewish women (if they can be reduced to a monolithic group), is that you can’t scare them into doing anything. But if you honk them off, they will work very hard to mess you up.


  50. - Dirt Digger - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 4:22 pm:

    It should be noted that anything above 30 percent would be a win for Pollak, if only because Schakowsky has never received less than 70 percent of the vote in the general. Her lowest vote was 70% in 2002.


  51. - enn - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 4:36 pm:

    ===It should be noted that anything above 30 percent would be a win for Pollak===

    It might be an ego boost. But it wouldn’t be a win. 31% isn’t going to get him seated in Congress.


  52. - Nobody Sent - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 4:45 pm:

    Nate Silver says Joel Pollak has zero percent chance to win. http://elections.nytimes.com/2010/forecasts/house/illinois/9


  53. - fedup dem - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 4:51 pm:

    Rich, I thought you had banned even the mention of Rasmussen on this site last week. What gives?


  54. - non-shore - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 5:14 pm:

    Nobody sent: Nate silver/538 is only a projection based on voting patterns and demographics. Even an internal poll is better than a model.


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