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Today’s number: 59 percent

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

* Former Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden matched up the state employee list with the voter file

I was able to match up 78% of the 76,000 state employees (including part time employees) with a voter record. […]

This analysis is just for the state employees. It does not include annuitants of any public pension and does not include any teacher or state university employees. […]

In 2010, of the identified state employees, 9,189 voted in the Republican Primary. In 2014, that number increased to 14,590, a 59% jump. By contrast, in the 2010 Democratic Primary, 11,073 state employees voted. That number dropped by 36% to just 7,151 this past March.

* His conclusion

It’s apparent that there was a high degree of motivation among state employees to participate in the Republican Primary. At the same time, Dillard’s loss by 25,000 votes could have been made up by moving even more state employees to the polls. If the participation rates of university and teaching staff as well as annuitants mirror this analysis, it will mean that Dillard had the means of winning without the ability to execute.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - NotRMiller - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:00 am:

    So..thanks to Mr. Dillard’s lackluster campaign operation, and too lazy to vote state employees we might be ruled by the .01% elite like Rauner and Griffin?? Oh boy>>>

  2. - OurMagician - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:04 am:

    That would explain some of it but you also had a contested Democratic Governor race in 2010 unlike 2014 (sorry Tio). Some people do vote for the race where their vote has more of an impact.

  3. - too obvious - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:13 am:

    woulda coulda shoulda

  4. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:20 am:

    Would be interested to see how many of the voters in the GOP primary who were state employees were hard Ds…

  5. - The Captain - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:26 am:

    I still don’t buy this idea that Dillard’s performance was due to significant crossover. In 2010 he got 155,334 votes, in 2014 he got 305,120 votes an increase of 149,786. The total number of Republican voters in the 2014 Republican primary for governor was 819,710 an increase of 52,225 votes over the 767,485 who voted in 2010. So in 2014 Dillard got about 150K more votes than the cycle before while the total vote only increased by 52K. If Dillard’s improved performance was due to some large crossover vote then it means an awful lot of regular Republicans (like 100K) stayed home.

    The more likely story is that Dillard won a lot of Republican votes and the number of crossover voters was small. Even Sheldon’s numbers above only account for about a 5K increase in the number of Republican primary voters this cycle, even if you assume all of them were Dillard voters he still increased his total by 145K votes somewhere else.

    Last, the total number of Republican primary voters for the gubernatorial primary fell in a pretty normal range. In 2014 it was 819,710, in 2010 it was 767,485, in 2006 it was 735,810 and in 2002 it was 917,828. There is nothing particularly special about the 2014 numbers to suggest that a large anomaly occurred.

    This large crossover impact is approaching some sort of accepted conventional wisdom but it isn’t a very strong narrative.

  6. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:28 am:

    I know of several. It would be impossible to overestimate the fear of Rauner. Quinn’s only hope is for a massive union employee education project and a huge turnout operation to get them to the polls. Aren’t there like a million teachers in the state along with 50k state employees? There have to be very few who want a Rauner win. I personally know three Republicans who won’t vote for Rauner and are actually considering voting for Quinn. I’m sure there’s many more who don’t like broadcasting their votes or admitting they are stepping out on the Republicans.

  7. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:30 am:

    My comment above was in response to OneMan

  8. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:32 am:

    “The means of winning without the ability to execute.”

    Put it on a t-shirt. Sums up the Dillard campaign in nine words.

  9. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:35 am:

    Jimbo are you The Captain?

    I don’t see your response to my question.

  10. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    76,000 people holding illinois hostage (public servants are hated) thats why i like rauner and the get even mode you are the problem

  11. - Befuddled - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:41 am:

    Can somebody interpret Anon 9:37? What does that say?

  12. - AlabamaShake - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:41 am:

    **76,000 people holding illinois hostage (public servants are hated)**


  13. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:43 am:

    ==Can somebody interpret Anon 9:37? What does that say?==

    Pretty sure it’s that he hates state employees, they are the problem, and he likes Rauner because state employees are the problem since he “gets it.”

  14. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:43 am:

    Sorry. That was me above.

  15. - walker - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:44 am:

    Getting folks to the primary polls at all is a challenge. Getting them to switch parties is harder still. I just don’t buy the big crossover theory.

    A lot of gov. workers in Illinois have always voted Republican, because of their history, neighborhoods, and social views. Union members the same. The simple assumptions of party loyalty don’t seem to apply here.

  16. - Bored Chairman - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    Thank you for the most excellent analysis. It completely refutes the union puffery about almost beating Rauner. And hopefully the regulars on this blog will take note and stop parroting the labor Lie.

  17. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    I know several state employed hard d’s who crossed over. Sorry, I can’t give you the total, but I can tell you that the state employees who told me how they planned to vote, were all voting for Dillard and I would consider several of them hard d’s. It’s an anecdote not data, but it was a response, if not an answer, to your question.

  18. - Befuddled - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    Thanks, Demoralized. That hurt my head.

  19. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    47th Ward ftw

  20. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:48 am:

    ==“The means of winning without the ability to execute.”==

    The Legend of Sen. Wouldacouldashoulda continues. Geez, that’s gotta sting some days.

    Very interesting stuff, a real heavy lift.

    I think the 2010 primary numbers are informative. With two competitive party primaries going on, the number of state employees pulling GOP ballots was just a little less than those pulling Dem ballots.

    That should be an eye-opener to those who try to apply national media stereotypes about public employee unions to Illinois politics.

  21. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    == If the participation rates of university and teaching staff as well as annuitants mirror this analysis, it will mean that Dillard had the means of winning without the ability to execute ==

    While I agree that Dillard could have won and made some mistakes, this particular point does not fall at his feet. This is more indicative of union ability or inability to “execute” and drive members to show up and cross over in larger numbers.

    That was their best and only shot at having someone other than Quinn and Rauner on the ballot this November. Many union members did show up and cross over.

    Just not enough. Blame for that “execution” does not fall entirely on Dillard, as Shelden implies, or entirely on unions.

  22. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:57 am:

    Actually the “traditional media stereotypes bout public employee unions” fit perfectly. There was not “two competitive primaries going on” - there was no serious race on the Dem side for Governor or Senator and thus the employees tried to have a “game changer” on the GOP side.

  23. - Whaaat? - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Dillard lost because he was out spent. His stratagy worked very well for the dollars he had so I think you could make the argument that he was a lazy fundraiser. Maybe even say his lost was largely due to his lack of fundraising and more money would have improved his GOTV stratagy? The almighty dollar does it again.

  24. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    == 76,000 people holding illinois hostage (public servants are hated) thats why i like rauner and the get even mode you are the problem ==

    My attempt at a translation

    76,000 references Clerk Shelden’s “I was able to match up 78% of the 76,000 state employees (including part time employees) with a voter record”. This small number of people are holding the rest of us hostage. That is why I like Rauner and his “get even” approach to these people. They are the problem.

    That’s my best attempt so early in the day.

  25. - Whaaat? - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:01 am:


  26. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    Has anybody considered the fact that some state employees may have thought a Republican was going to win so they wanted to be on record pulling a Republican ballot?

  27. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    Dillard lost. Again.

    That’s it. Simple. And over.

    To the state workers,

    ===…it will mean that Dillard had the means of winning without the ability to execute.===

    The idea that a structured GOTV is worthless or just a small component is the Folly of ignorant souls who love a :30 second soundbite.

    You can’t in 6 weeks marshall a full blown GOTV, based on multiple groups coordinating will not get you over the finish line.

    One nerve center, harvesting, cultivating, and executing statewide under the direction and information base through the “Sergeants” to the ground troops is the winning formula.

    That is what Rauner is facing with Quinn.

    Offices ain’t “Sergeants”, and pockets ain’t a statewide skeletal apparatus.

  28. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:09 am:

    The crossover voting was anti-Rauner, not pro-Dillard. I doubt even if he had more money it would have made a difference in the end. He couldn’t get out his base.

  29. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:11 am:

    ==There was not “two competitive primaries going on” - there was no serious race on the Dem side for Governor or Senator and thus the employees tried to have a “game changer” on the GOP side–

    LCD, try reading for comprehension. I’m referencing the 2010 numbers. The clue to that is where I write “the 2010 primary numbers…”

  30. - W.S. Walcott - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    @ Demoralized.

    I *fixed* your post.

    Has anybody considered the fact that some state employees may have thought DILLARD was going to win so they wanted to be on record pulling a Republican ballot?

    Rauner is not an “Illinois Republican.” State employees did crossover for the chance to bring the last old-school Republican to the general. State employees would give almost anything to have another Edgar, Thompson, JBT, heck even Ryan, on the ballot. True story.

  31. - Pete - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:20 am:

    @ W.S. Walcott.

    I *fixed* your post.
    Rauner is not an “Illinois POLITICIAN.” State employees did crossover for the chance to bring the last old-school Republican to the general. State employees would give almost anything to have another Edgar, Thompson, JBT, heck even Ryan, on the ballot. True story.

  32. - A guy... - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:20 am:

    Interesting data here. However, this changes the whole “If not for but 187 votes…in 2010″ to “if only more pensioners voted R in 2014″. There’s always a rationalization with this particular guy. Jerry Quarry would have….

  33. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:30 am:

    As a downstate IEA member, I voted in the Republican primary every time. Why? Because in McLean County races there typically are not any Dems running! Remember, all politics is local. My state representative and state senator are going to be Republicans. So of course I want to vote for those candidates whom I feel will consider my issues.

    I am not not alone on this. IEA has surveyed and found they have many Republican members downstate and in the burbs. Yes, there was an effort to get those who take a Democrat primary ballot to take a Republican ballot this time.

    As an election judge, this was a very small turnout overall in my county and in my precinct. The Republican numbers were low and the Democratic even lower in my precinct.

  34. - LincolnLounger - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:31 am:

    I’m sure there was some cross-over voting; however, I suspect that lots of former Republicans who got scared away from primaries under the Blagojevich administration also were “coming home” because it mattered.

    God knows the Blago crowd kept track of those things.

    As for Dillard, his “campaign” was a disaster. No ground game, and he would have had no air game if the the unions hadn’t stepped in. His list of “consultants” was appalling, and the money paid to his manager was ridiculous. On top of that his manager, of course, took a nice commission for placing the ads.

    If Kirk would have operated government like he did with the “see no evil, hear no evil”, hands-off approach he did with his campaign, we dodged a bullet there.

  35. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    I haven’t seen this kind of mining of state employment data for political purposes since the Ryan administration. Wonder why it stopped? Mentioning state employment and voter file in the same sentence used to get you subpoenaed.

  36. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:41 am:

    WS - You’re right. In my best Rosanne Rosannadana: “Oh. Nevermind.” That said, I don’t think the 2010 numbers are that probative either because 1) I don’t recall Hynes or Quinn having a Rahm-like reputation for hostility to unions (so self-interest taken out) and 2) 2010 was a pretty passionate race at the congressional level for the GOP with the Tea Party movement and anti-Obamaism running high.

  37. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    Dear Mark:

    I was able to match up 92% of state employees with a voter registration record.

    Anyone who thinks 1 in 4 public employees is not registered to vote is disconnected.

    As I said many times, one in nine Illinois adults is either paying into a public pension system or receiving benefits.

    When you figure in their spouses and adult children, that is a huge voting bloc.

    The recent Supreme Court ruling however makes Rauner’s pension threats seem pretty ridiculous. Not even the Tribune believes him on pensions any more.

    The problem is that Quinn still thinks it is smart to run as the pension fixer. A bill that has already been declared illegal by the courts. While reminding every public employee and their families that you tried to screw them over.

    The unions may find it very, very difficult to convince their members to vote for Quinn while he is still bragging about pension reform.

  38. - Anon. - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    ==At the same time, Dillard’s loss by 25,000 votes could have been made up by moving even more state employees to the polls.==

    That is one awful big assumption — that those who couldn’t be bothered to vote would have voted the same as those who were. For lack of any actual data on the nonvoters, I would assume that the ones who will vote in the general didn’t vote because they didn’t care for (or hate) either candidate more than the other, and so would have split about 50%.

  39. - Federalist - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    Below is what I wrote in Capitolfax this last Spring. As I said then, and still believe that to be the case, the other candidates (know political entities) split the vote allowing Rauner to win.

    But will I be right about Quinn beating Rauner? Right now it looks like Rauner has a firm lead. But I still believe that Quinn, and the Democrats, will rally come lection day.

    Federalist - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 4:28 pm:

    Rauner should win the primary. Lots of money and the others will split votes among themselves.

    Loses handily to Quinn

  40. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 12:07 pm:

    Put these in the order you think are most to least useless:
    Pollsters, Pols, or Lobbyists

  41. - Lovecraft - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 12:14 pm:

    I think a significant number of state employees, both active and retired, will not hold their noses and vote for Quinn. He has burned his bridges with that group.They will sit this election out and let the chips fall where they may. Okay, enough cliches.

  42. - In_The_Middle - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 1:24 pm:

    Off base here, but how does one go about finding how a state employee voted? Do they not have any privacy?

  43. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    ==Off base here, but how does one go about finding how a state employee voted? Do they not have any privacy?==

    You can find out which party ballot anybody takes in a primary.

  44. - Anon - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    To sum up the numbers, there was a 7% increase in GOP primary voters in 2014 compared to 2010, but a 59% increase in state workers taking a GOP ballot. Sure sounds like a signficant crossover vote. What am I missing?

  45. - vulcan - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    Dillard was down 20 points in the last We Ask America poll and came within a percent and a half of winning. Pretty amazing, or the IMA’s polling operation is America’s worst!!

  46. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 4:12 pm:

    Anon — this is the problem when you focus on percentages rather than vote totals.

    Let’s suppose that, in a given election year, Soccermom voted and Soccerdad did not. (That actually happened in 2012, for reasons that are hilarious.) The next election year, however, Soccerdad is not being menaced by a wolf at a Wisconsin train station and proudly casts his ballot. In that case, you could say that there was a 100% increase in Soccervotes. But if you’re expecting that to put you across the finish line, I’m guessing you will be disappointed.

    The Captain sums it up well. So let’s, um, reCap.

    In 2014, the number of GOP primary voters increased by 52,000 compared with four years before.

    Let’s suppose, for argument’s sake, that every single one of those voters was a Democratic crossover.

    Well, when we look at the numbers of state workers who took Dem ballots in 2010 compared with 2014, that’s only about a 4,000 drop. And when we look at the increase in state workers who took GOP ballots compared with the previous election, that’s about 5,000. To me, that pretty much means that 4,000 state workers crossed over — for whatever reason, to vote for whomever — and another 1,000 who hadn’t voted in 2010 (again, for whatever reason) decided to pull GOP ballots.

    Overall, Kirk pulled 150,000 more votes in 2014 than he did in 2010. But remember — the total increase in GOP voters was only 49,000 votes. So if all of the increase was due to crossovers, and all of the crossovers voted for Kirk, that’s still only a third of his increase — and only a sixth of his final total. And if you think that Kirk drew more than 50,000 crossover votes, that has to mean that a good number of previous GOP voters decided to stay home and were replaced by the crossovers. That’s doesn’t seem likely to me, but you never know…

    However, from this analysis, we know for sure that the vast majority of Kirk’s voters were NOT crossover state employees. Because — remember? — the TOTAL number of state employees who took GOP ballots was only about 15,000, and only about 4,000 of those were crossovers.

    Now, we don’t know how many teachers decided to cross over for Dillard. That’s probably a much higher number, because there are a lot more teachers than there are state workers.

    But even if every single person who voted GOP in 2014 and didn’t vote GOP in 2010 was a crossover, that’s still only 52,000, give or take. And if 4,000 were state employees, that’s about 48,000 other no non-state-employee crossovers — if they were really crossovers. Which we don’t know. I mean, it’s possible — because (ouch) the number of Dem primary voters decreased by 475,000. But we can’t be sure that some of them were not previous GOP voters who hadn’t bothered to get to the polls in 2010.

    Pretty much all we know for sure is that state employee crossovers did NOT have a huge impact on the GOP primary. Because there were only 4,000 of them.

    Remember this — when you’re working with small numbers (like the number of state employees who voted) you get big percentages. When you’re working with big numbers (like the total number of GOP primary voters) you get small percentages.

    Does that help?

  47. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 4:20 pm:

    ===Anon — this is the problem when you focus on percentages rather than vote totals.===

    - Soccermom -, your comment is restaurant quality. Good stuff, thanks!

  48. - Anon - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 4:34 pm:

    SM Thanks for the education.

  49. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 9:12 pm:


    If Sheldon did a match for 2010 and 2014, he could actually tell you how many state employees voted in the Democratic primary in 2010 and then in the GOP primary in 2014. Those would be actual “crossovers”.

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