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Poll: Frerichs closing the gap, now trails Cross by just 1

Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Reboot

The automated poll, conducted Oct. 7 among 1,083 likely voters by We Ask America, found Cross leading Frerichs 40 percent to 39 percent, with Libertarian candidate Matthew Skopek at 6 percent and 15 percent undecided. Party identification of respondents was 27 percent Republican, 35 percent Democrat and 38 percent independent. The margin of error is 2.98 percent. Cell phone contacts made up 24.5 percent of the respondents.

Frerichs, a Champaign Democrat, had trailed Cross, an Oswego Republican, in Reboot Illinois polls on June 17, July 31 and Sept. 4, by margins of 7, 11 and 6 percentage points, respectively.

* Xtabs

* And the new result ought to help Frerichs raise money. From a recent NYT article entitled “How to Win at Raising Money: Warn That You’re About to Lose”

Why do campaigns keep saying they’re losing? These doom-and-gloom messages seem to be effective at motivating donors. The best evidence to support this claim comes from a new study by the social scientists Todd Rogers of Harvard and Don A. Moore of the University of California, Berkeley.

In other contexts, they note, projecting confidence is often a successful leadership strategy. But in politics it may serve to demobilize potential donors by convincing them that their contributions are unnecessary. Why give if your preferred candidate is going to win anyway? By contrast, people are often more motivated to act when trying to avoid an undesirable outcome — in this case, losing an election.

To demonstrate this point, Mr. Rogers and Mr. Moore conducted experiments in which they showed that online survey participants are more supportive of hypothetical preferred candidates if they are just behind in the polls instead of just ahead.

These differences matter in the real world of campaigns, as the two professors show using fund-raising experiments conducted by the Democratic Governors’ Association and Anne Lewis Strategies, Inc. Emails from the D.G.A. saying that Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for governor in Florida, was ahead of the Democrat Charlie Crist in the polls were almost 50 percent more likely to result in a donation and raised approximately 60 percent more than those saying Mr. Scott was behind.


  1. - Hank Z - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:40 am:

    Really shows how Blue Illinois has gotten. You can run the worst campaign of the season and still be in the race.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:41 am:

    The winner of this race will be the one who can get voters to complete the following list their way;

    “Lisa, Jesse, Judy, and…”me”…

    Linking either positively or linking the other one negatively to either Quinn of Rauner…they will lose the race.

    It will be the closest of all the Statewides, including the Quinn-Rauner tilt.

  3. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    It all comes down to turnout. With the gov race that is going on, I think many voters aren’t paying close attention to the treasurer’s race. If Quinn drives turnout, Frerichs wins. If Rauner drives turnout, Cross wins.

  4. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:44 am:

    I can live with 4 years of Bruce Rauner as Governor. I can even live with 4 more years of Pat Quinn as Governor.

    But the idea of Mike Frerichs as Treasurer, for some reason, is scary to me.

  5. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:44 am:

    5.6% for the not-Dem, not-GOP option seemed high to me, but then I looked at 2010 results for comptroller and treasurer.

    For comptroller two minor party candidates combined for 6.5% of vote and for treasurer two candidates combined for 5.1%.

    Democrats and Republicans have been daring people to vote against them.

  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:44 am:

    Welcome home, Democrats.

  7. - Jason McGrath - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    @Hank Z, by worst campaign of the season, are you referring to the one where the 20-year incumbent and party leader couldn’t get enough support for his campaign to come anywhere close to raising the resources needed to put away a mostly-unknown downstate Senator in a rough Democratic year?

    Okay, I’m going back into my hole. See you all in a few years.

  8. - walker - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    Ducky got it right.

    But I’d add that Quinn would have to really bring them in, to help Frerichs.

    These reboot polls!

  9. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:50 am:

    I agree it will come down to Election Day, Willy.

    We all know how Tom Cross does on Election Day.

  10. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:50 am:

    If the numbers in Frerichs’ poll are accurate…

    The biggest blocks of “undecideds” are:

    a. independents (will break to Cross)
    b. Chicagoans (will break heavily to Frerichs, if they vote the race)
    c. women (will break to Frerichs)

    And the Dem infrastructure is probably worth 1-5% in turnout advantage.

  11. - Hank Z - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    J McG
    - I was not referring to, nor do I see a resource issue from either candidate.

    Clearly Frerichs has run one of the worst campaigns of a major candidate anyone has seen. Campaign launch video, Israel, property taxes, etc. and he is still in the race.

  12. - Amalia - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    Hey Mikey….we like you!

  13. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    To Jason’s point, if Frerichs is running such a bad campaign, what does that say about Tom Cross’s campaign?

    Frerichs hasn’t spent a nickel on advertising and he is tied with a guy who has been running statewide since 2003.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    ===I agree it will come down to Election Day, Willy.

    We all know how Tom Cross does on Election Day.===

    I’m hiding his golf clubs and told all the courses to tell Two-Putt there aren’t any tee times.

    Of course, it could rain. I’m planning accordingly.

  15. - Barney - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    not to speak for @HankZ, but i think what he is referring to is a downballot candidate with more resources losing while the top of his ticket is winning. Perhaps that has to do with the gaffes on his rollout, the flipflop on merging, the israel gaffe, the property tax gaffe, etc, etc Or maybe they mean nothing at all. Who knows?

  16. - AFSCME Steward - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    Is this the beginning of the GOP fear that Rauner & Obie take the GOP ticket down? JBT still wins in a laugher though.

  17. - Easy - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    I think what it says is that Frerichs is significantly underperforming the top of his own ticket. That’s the fact. Why that is happening is open to interpretation, but what is not open to interpretation are the fumbles made by his campaign.

  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    Barney -

    It is a down ballot race.

    The poll was taken the day after the governor’s race.

    Because the poll is down ballot, undecideds are at 15% instead of 11%.

    Also, because it was taken the next day, the Frerichs poll has only 35% democrats compared to 38% in the race for Governor.

    You would expect a down ballot candidate to be trailing the top of the ticket, especially when the candidate is unknown.

    Look, the race is statistically tied in this poll, it is just silly to argue Frerichs is losing because he’s not beating Pat Quinn. He ain’t running against Pat Quinn.

    If you believe the convention wisdom that Democrats get a 2-5% boost on GOTV, and you look at the trend of Frerichs closing ground in a month, AND you look at the huge $$$ advantage of Frerichs…

    …It is nonsense to argue this poll is good news for Cross or that it is bad news for Frerichs, as far as poll stories go.

  19. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:06 am:


    Who cares? Frerichs isn’t running against Pat Quinn or Dick Durbin

    Tom Cross, meanwhile, has spent the past month running against his own record as a career politician, and he lost ground.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    ===Tom Cross, meanwhile, has spent the past month running against his own record as a career politician…===

    While Frerichs can’t remember what is his record.

    Up to, let’s say August 1st, neither Crew was lighting it up, no matter where they are on the ballot.

  21. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    Frerichs is the only Democrat on the ballot I’m actually excited to vote for. I’m so happy right now I feel like I could cry.

  22. - Angel's Sword - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:17 am:

    Oops, Anonymous at 11:15 was me.

  23. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:22 am:


    Does he REALLY golf as much as you say, or is this a caricature?

    Honestly, until you started drilling it home, I didn’t know.

    If it eases your pain, there are still some county chairmen who think Election Day is about putting signs out in the morning, delivering sandwiches to election judges at noon, and then waiting for the polls to close.

  24. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    At the end of the day…we live in a blue state and only one candidate has financial experience…

  25. - Snucka - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:25 am:

    =Frerichs is the only Democrat on the ballot I’m actually excited to vote for. I’m so happy right now I feel like I could cry.=
    Are you serious or joking?

  26. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    Fair point, Willy.

    Frerichs will undoubtedly spend the next month drubbing Cross for not knowing whether the Rauner budget is balanced, while Cross will pound away on investing in Israel.

    Good times.

  27. - Champaign Native - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    FRERICHS is misspelled in the cross tabs…
    Wait until Frerich’s million dollar ad buy hits.
    You guys have greatly underestimated the machine that is Mike Frerichs.

  28. - Angel's Sword - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:31 am:


    Dead serious (I’m a liberal strongly anti-pension gutting Democrat.)

  29. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    Are my eyes playing tricks on me or did they really misspell == Frerichs == as == Frehrichs ==?

    It does not make much difference, it is just oddly fitting. Mr. Frerichs cannot seem to catch a break. At least this was not his own fault.

  30. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    LOL. Champaign Native, apparently I need to learn to type faster in my comments.

    Good eye.

  31. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    ===Does he REALLY golf as much as you say, or is this a caricature?

    Honestly, until you started drilling it home, I didn’t know.===

    The answer is “yes” to both options.

    I am still waiting to be invited to golf with him anytime, except on Election Day.

    I know both sides have incredibly hard working County Chairs and Township Committeemen. They deserve the kudos in these type of races as much as the Crews.

    Race to the bottom here too; records - who’s whos, and what’s what. Good times indeed.

  32. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    @Champaign Native:

    I prefer “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robot.”

    But your point is well taken.

    I think a lot of folks were surprised when Frerichs beat Judy Myers in 2006, keeping in mind that half that Senate seat was held by Bill Black.

    Frerichs went on to crush his Republican opponent in 2010, with 60 percent of the vote.

    The guy must have done something right.

  33. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    I don’t buy this.

  34. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 11:58 am:


    LOL. You’re probably right. Republicans should probably just stay home on election day, or better yet go golfing.

  35. - The Dude Abides - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    Cross did vote for the Pension bill which sometime in the future will get thrown out by the court for being unconstitutional. Would it help Frerichs if he mentioned this in his upcoming media blitz or would that issue be a wash?

  36. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    Its a race that is down the ticket and most voters haven’t an opinion about either. So what changed all of a sudden?

    Did someone suddenly screw up publically? No.
    Did someone suddenly get popular? No.

    So, I’m not buying this until it repeats itself.

  37. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    ===So what changed all of a sudden?===

    VMan, I’m not sure where you’ve been the past 20 years, but the trend has becoming a whole lot more “D” in this state. And many Dems tend to break late. This is a natural and expected occurrence in a Democratic-leaning state for candidates who are generally unknown.

  38. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    The Dude:

    Actually, Cross voted with Bruce Rauner and against the pension bill because he didn’t feel it gouged public employees deeply enough.

    Or, as Tom Cross said in his reasons for voting No:

    “Secondly, a significant portion of the projected savings come from taxpayer funds and accounting changes.

    According to the legislative analysis, only $92 billion of the total savings comes from benefit changes, including cost-of-living adjustments, increases to the retirement age and a cap in pension-worthy salaries.”

    You here that state employees? The bill only stuck it to you for $92 billion, even though you made all of your required contributions.

    Oh, and who enacted the plan to skip pension payments that created a $57 billion hole that was the primary driver of the pension crisis?

    That would be Tom Cross.

  39. - Toure's Latte - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    Two Putt will have plenty of time for golf starting November 5th. Frerichs’ couple bad weeks is well-trumped by Cross’s couple bad decades.

  40. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    LOL Toure’s.

  41. - The Dude Abides - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 1:24 pm:

    @YDD, Thanks for clarifying that for me.

  42. - The Captain - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    These down ballot races with lower name ID and where the candidates don’t have enough money to do ads at anything close to saturation are just harder to model behavior. This poll also has a lot higher undecideds than the Gov or Senate polls of late so it’s hard to draw any clear conclusions, at least for me anyway.

  43. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 2:16 pm:


    A month ago when Cross was up six, folks were ready to call the election.

    Now, with Frerichs closing, it is too soon to call.

    I am with Willy on this one: it’s gonna be the closest statewide race. We should all be paying closer attention.

  44. - Lance - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 2:21 pm:

    Cross increasing his lead with Indies and the inevitable Rauner bounce helps defeat TaxHikeMike.. There’s lots of pro marriage equality voters in Chicago…… Cross took a big vote for them… thats gotta be worth a point or two in the city… If Cross can get 20% of the undecided vote in the city, he wins.

  45. - Lance - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    whoops… That should have been 25% of the undecided city vote… i gotta quit my real job and get focused on this race…

  46. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    Lance, a lot of LGBTs hold Cross responsible for blocking marriage early…and for essentially Jakobson to leave her dying child to cast her vote…as a gay man from Chicago, Cross gets no sympathy from me.

    Plus, Frerichs co-sponsored the bill!

  47. - The Captain - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 2:32 pm:


    My pre-polling, pre-ad spending expectations for this race was that Frerichs would track pretty close to Quinn’s numbers in the Chicago media market and would do better than him downstate and that would mean that even if Quinn lost a close race it would be enough to carry Frerichs. Since Frerichs has about $900K more available to spend than Cross it would seem that unless the quality of the ad spending grossly favored Cross this general thought process should hold.

    My calculus has changed just slightly with the recent news that Cross is airing ads aimed at social liberals. I think that for Cross to win he needs to find, persuade and mobilize a significant number of Quinn-Cross voters in the Chicago MM. For Frerichs to win he just needs to remind downstate voters that he’s one of the few actual downstate candidates (like Durbin) and then track along with Quinn’s Chicago MM numbers. I thought that Cross made a smart play but that Frerichs is still in a reasonably good position to do what he needs to.

    As for all the commenters who’ve been writing off Frerichs or describing his campaign in melodramatic negative terms I’ve just not payed them much attention. There were some simple missteps sure, but they were the type of things that only political junkies would notice. They won’t move vote totals, at worst it could only affect fundraising and still Frerichs had a higher 6/30 CoH and has had more A-1 money since so whatever impact has been negligible.

  48. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 2:34 pm:


    For every dollar Cross can spend trumpeting his vote for marriage equality, Frerichs can spend $2 reminding voters Cross voted to make it legal to fire someone for being gay.

    Inevitable Rauner bounce? LOL

    I am not sure if Cross is for the Rauner budget or against it at this point, and neither is anyone else.

    Including Tom Cross.

    Yes, obviously if the Democratic Party collapses that is good news for Cross.

    Republicans had some hope that demoralized Democrats would stay home this fall, but that is not happening.

  49. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 3:13 pm:


    I expect that you would have an easier time rounding up herds of unicorns than you would rounding up large numbers of Quinn-Cross voters.

    I have not seen any Jesse White-Bruce Rauner signs as of yet on the southside, and Bruce has plunked down seven figures.

    Check the crosstabs and tell me I am crazy.

  50. - The Captain - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 3:42 pm:


    That’s basically been my assumption as well which is why I thought the characteristics of the race favored Frerichs. But I could see a plausible scenario where Cross wins some suburban (either Cook or the Collars) Quinn voters. For example I expect some suburban Quinn voters to also vote for Topinka. I think that Frerichs has the funds to counter such a strategy but I still think that’s Cross’ path to victory.

  51. - Coffee Cup - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 6:34 pm:

    The poll results don’t surprise me in the Cross versus Frehrichs contest. I have had quite a few long-time Republicans (and not Tea Baggers) say to me that they are “not” going to vote for Tom Cross this time because of his sudden flip-flop from his previous stance on same-sex marriage and other conservative issues in order to be able to appeal to state-wide Democrat voters and liberals. If Cross had simply stuck with his long-held previous positions without the sudden flip-flop and obvious pandering, he probably wouldn’t have to be worrying about the upcoming election and he’d have been 5 points higher in the current polling.

  52. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 6:37 pm:

    CC, Cross is doing better w Republicans than Freichs is doing w Dems.

    Also, if he had voted against gay marriage, he’d be toast right now.

    “People I talk to” is not a poll.

  53. - Almost the Weekend - Wednesday, Oct 8, 14 @ 6:54 pm:

    It seems Frerichs improving poll numbers are correlated to Yellow Dog Democrats comments standing up for Frerichs on this blog. I hope Raunerbots are taking notes.

    In all seriousness it was only a matter of time before Democrats joined Frerichs, he’s the least known on the statewide ticket. It’ll be interesting to see what Cross and Frerichs report for the third quarter. If Cross can’t raise another 500K he might be outspent 2-1 on television. Frerichs has had bumps but no average Illinois constituent is paying attention to this race. I’ve said all along it was all about the money, and Cross might not have money to broadcast those bumps. However I do agree this will be the closest statewide race, just because it will be a tough year for Democrats.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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