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Simon Institute releases study of 2014 campaign

Thursday, Jan 29, 2015 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Reboot pulls some fun facts from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s new report on the 2014 election. Here are some of them

* Quinn’s nominal Democratic primary opponent made his mark

    Though Chicago community activist Tio Hardiman was “an unknown candidate from Chicago who had no money, no media, and no campaign staff,” he won 30 downstate counties and 28 percent of the vote statewide in the Democratic primary.

* Counties that supported Quinn in 2010 election paid a price — from Quinn

    Pat Quinn won election to a full term in 2010 by only 31,000 votes. He carried only four counties: Cook, Alexander, Jackson and St. Clair. After winning the election, he closed state facilities in Alexander and Jackson counties to save money. In Alexander County, where Quinn closed Tamms Correctional Center (the county’s largest employer) in 2013, Quinn won only 37 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary and lost to Rauner by 5 percentage points in November. He carried only one county — Cook — but by a margin 3 percent lower than in 2010.

* Low voter turnout doomed Quinn

    Quinn needed his party base turnout to be nearly as high as in the 2012 presidential election. Instead, turnout in Chicago was “one of the lowest in modern times” and statewide turnout of 49 percent was nearly as dismal.

* Illinois has moved from “dark blue” to “leans Democratic”

    National pundits should not write off Illinois as a solidly blue state: “The results in 2010 and especially in 2014 show that in any given election with the right circumstances and the right candidates Republicans can certainly win statewide elections. This is especially true in the mid-term elections which are lower turnout elections disadvantaging the Democrats.”

The full report is here.


  1. - CircularFirin'Squad - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    “The results in 2010 and especially in 2014 show that in any given election with the right circumstances and the right candidates Republicans can certainly win statewide elections.”
    Yup, the GOPies can win if they roll out more pro Choice/Pro Marriage Equality Billionaires.
    Guessin’ that ain’t what they give the nation in ‘16

  2. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:04 am:

    Never bought the Dark Blue argument.

    Just because someone doesn’t make an effort doesn’t mean the game is unwinnable.

  3. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:09 am:

    I still buy the dark blue argument. When you have a horribly unpopular dem gov that loses yet the GA retains dem supermajorities. Sounds dark blue to me.

  4. - Deep South - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:13 am:

    When Democrats don’t come out to vote…and Republicans do, well, Republican get elected.
    Who really thinks that will be the case in two years? I’m certain Illinois will be back in the “dark blue” column on Nov. 8, 2016. Especially if one of those goofs who were in Des Moines last weekend should win the GOP nomination. As someone stated on this blog recently, voters didn’t necessarily vote Republican, they voted against Pat Quinn. After this weeks, visit to Decatur, the incumbent governor may well be on the road to that predicament very soon.

  5. - Norseman - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:17 am:

    I’d say we’re medium blue.

  6. - Cassiopeia - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:18 am:

    The result was a repudiation of a failed Governor. There is no way to sugarcoat this.

  7. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:18 am:

    ==Illinois has moved from “dark blue” to “leans Democratic”==


    A combination of Pat Quinn’s incompetence and a fed up public will do that even after Illinois Dem majorities survived two national midterm bloodbaths.

  8. - Stones - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:18 am:

    Agreed that Illinois has turned light blue - at least for this election cycle. Whether that continues as while BR comes out attacking Unions is another matter all together.

    Unless you have an exceedingly weak or unpopular Democrat (which PQ was) moderate Republicans such as Mark Kirk can win a statewide election. I view Rauner’s victory as an anomaly (very wealthy guy running against unpopular incumbent off year election) than a trend.

  9. - Carhart Representative - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:24 am:

    Quinn also got major union support and then started going after organized labor. Biting the hand the feeds you is never a good idea in an electoral process.

  10. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:24 am:

    Here’s more tidbits!

    *Quinn’s lawn mower ad brightened neighborhoods

    It appears that fifteen to thirty minutes after each airing, Governor Quinn’s “lawn mover” ad caused 12% of Illinois citizens to mow their lawns, rake their leaves or in Rauner’s case, hire an additional gardener for one of his homes.

    *Rauner ads linked to seizures

    Bruce Rauner’s “Shaking up Springfield” ads included moving text which induced seizures among 81% of Illinois voters in favor of fracking.

    *Rauner ad won support for wrong candidate

    According to exit polls, 14% of Illinoisans who cast votes for Bruce Rauner, believed his wife was running for governor and was voting for her.

    *Oswego Willy postings helped elect Rauner

    A study by the Institute uncovered evidence that each “Oswego Willy” anti-Rauner and anti-Sanguinetti posting resulted in .07% increase in support for the Republican. With 128,980,991 postings, this resulted in a 4% margin of victory.

  11. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:32 am:

    ==- Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:09 am:==

    It’s called gerrymandering.

  12. - MrJM - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:33 am:

    Illinois is pale cerulean.

    – MrJM

  13. - Gooner - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:39 am:

    A lot of the red/blue thing tries to apply labels that really don’t apply in Illinois.

    Outside certain precincts in Chicago (and one person formerly in the City who has since left), I don’t see many people who are yellow dog Democrats.

    Instead, what IL has is a lot of moderates. That’s why the Speaker, who is far from a liberal, remains in power.

    Illinois is blue because Illinois Democrats tend to be moderate, while too many Republicans have gone to the far right.

    Given a choice between moderates and a social conservative, IL voters will go with the moderate.

    When a Republican plays the role of the moderate, voters have no hesitation voting for the Republican.

    Red or blue? It doesn’t matter all that much here. We elect a lot of Dems, but that’s because the GOP keeps nominating a lot of people on the fringe.

  14. - David's Blanket - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:53 am:

    You have to wonder if HRC’s age (the same as JBT’s) will be an issue in the 2016 Presidential race. Maybe some swift boating if the race is closer than anticipated in Illinois?

  15. - Wensicia - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 12:08 pm:

    Quinn betrayed his base; they responded in kind.

    This was personal. I don’t think it reflects the political make-up of this state.

  16. - Todd Gak - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 12:11 pm:

    ==while too many Republicans have gone to the far right==

    I see this characterization often, but I find it to be inaccurate. The country has moved decidedly to the left. I don’t know too many Rs who have become even more conservative on certain issues, unless you view the goal posts moving leftward as the static reference point.

    Maybe you mean “too many Republicans stayed put.”

  17. - Stones - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 12:19 pm:

    Wensicia -

    While I agree with you wholeheartedly that PQ betrayed his base I disagree that they responded in kind. They most definitely supported Quinn over Rauner (albeit not enthusiastically).

    This was a case of Union members holding their noses and picking the lesser of two bad choices.

  18. - Meanderthal - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 12:26 pm:

    The report may have some accurate analysis, but is tainted by the typical academic’s liberal bias in many instances.
    “Data (Rauner) reluctantly released during the campaign season showed that his income for 2013 had been $60.1 million for that one year alone.” Not true. He voluntarily released his tax returns for 2012 and 2013.

  19. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 1:17 pm:

    ==but is tainted by the typical academic’s liberal bias==

    Stop being such a victim. You want to know what bias is? It’s anything that doesn’t fit into somebody’s established viewpoint. Bias to one is truth to another. Everyone should understand that. Unfortunately some are too busy being victims.

  20. - Ray del Camino - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 1:35 pm:

    “Typical liberal academic” is what a typical knee-jerk conservative will say when he doesn’t like the presentation of facts and wants to denigrate the integrity of the messenger.

    You can in fact do something “voluntarily” and “reluctantly” at the same time, which is an accurate characterization of Rauner’s reluctant release of the front page of his tax returns.

  21. - walker - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 1:50 pm:

    If the definition of “leans Democratic” is that ==”given the right circumstances and the right candidates Republicans can certainly win statewide elections”== then we have been there for decades.

    Probably never were “dark blue.”

    Illinois confounds most national political labels.

  22. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 2:27 pm:

    ==Biting the hand the feeds you is never a good idea in an electoral process.==

    ==Quinn betrayed his base; they responded in kind.==

    I wouldn’t say they “responded in kind;” better to say they did not respond at all. I think its pretty clear that the Dems stayed home. They did not like Rauner, but could not bring themselves to vote for Quinn. As someone who was out canvassing, I can tell you that it was very difficult to convince people to go out and vote for Quinn; they wanted someone else.

    Rauner doesn’t have a mandate; he won because he’s not Quinn and he had a lot more money than Brady had four years prior.

  23. - Soccermom - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 3:19 pm:

    I just read through the report. Not much insight or additional research beyond an overview of news reporting. Kind of disappointing.

  24. - Wensicia - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 4:41 pm:

    ==better to say they did not respond at all.==

    Refusing to vote by staying home contributed to Quinn’s loss as much as those crossing over to vote for Rauner instead, which gave Rauner the edge in the results.

  25. - state worker - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 8:38 pm:

    I haven’t read the report, but it is laughably stupid to claim that Tio Hardiman “made a mark” — he got a protest vote from people who didn’t even know who he is.

  26. - Under Further Review - Thursday, Jan 29, 15 @ 11:11 pm:

    “The result was a repudiation of a failed Governor. There is no way to sugarcoat this.”

    It is not so much that Rauner spent millions (he did) and won as Quinn lost. A different nominee may have turned out the voters and prevailed. Quinn fatigue was a factor.

  27. - Chilaborguy - Friday, Jan 30, 15 @ 12:47 am:

    Hey Wordslinger, it doesn’t really matter what you consider Illinois to be politically. By any and every measure Illinois is a safely Democratic state just barely falling outside the ten most Democratic states in the nation. The only state in the Midwest even remotely as Democratic as Illinois is Minnesota and it is far more competitive at the local level than Illinois.

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