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Poll: Durbin leads Democratic field by huge margin

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016

* Press release…

Yesterday, on July 26, 2016, We Ask America Polls™ conducted a statewide hybrid poll (part automated/part live interview) measuring Democratic voters’ views on which potential candidates for Illinois governor would most likely receive their vote. The respondents were asked one primary question plus a short series of demographic-related questions. The primary question was this:

“There are a number of Democratic candidates rumored to be interested in running for Illinois governor in two years. We’d like to know which—if any—of the following possible candidates you would most likely vote for if they do run for Illinois governor. “

    Cheri Bustos………4.88%
    Dick Durbin……….48.87%
    Robin Kelly………..3.63%
    Chris Kennedy……4.50%
    Pat Quinn…………..9.91%
    Kwame Raoul……..1.46%
    Heather Steans……0.63%
    Someone else…….7.21%

Crosstabs are here.

I’m told that Lisa Madigan wasn’t included because she said a couple years back she wouldn’t run for governor unless her father stepped aside as House Speaker.

…Adding… More from the pollster…


    1. As expected, those with the best name recognition stood out, with a U.S. Senator dwarfing the field: Sen. Dick Durbin scored nearly 50 percent–significant especially with at least one other recent statewide office holder on the list.

    2. Former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s numbers paled compared to Durbin, and were within the margin of error of the generic “someone else” option: Quinn certainly enjoyed the benefit of better name recognition than most of the others, but simply couldn’t muster enough support to climb into a double-digit range of results. His extremely weak numbers downstate (5.29%) kept him below that threshold.

    3. Should Durbin decide against a run for governor, the field must be considered wide open. Former Gov. Quinn’s numbers cannot be considered a deterrent to any potential candidate. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) is a close family friend of Sen. Durbin’s and won a hotly contested race against Republican incumbent Bobby Schilling four years ago. Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-2) is a former state representative who also served as chief of staff for the State Treasurer. Chris Kennedy is a business executive who was the former Chair of the University of Illinois Board…as well as the Illinois anchor for the Kennedy clan; State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) filled Barack Obama’s state senate seat when Obama left the Statehouse for the U.S. Senate and has been an active leader in Springfield; and State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) is a Princeton and Harvard-educated reformer who has championed a number of causes including nursing home and environmental reforms.

Notes & Comments

A poll this early in the process cannot be viewed as a predictor of any kind for the fall of 2018. While the list of candidates mentioned in this poll was merited by direct mention of possible candidacy in published reports, some will not run and others not listed undoubtedly will test the waters. Some candidates that many feel may possibly run were left off if they had expressed a strong enough denial. For example, Attorney General Lisa Madigan has repeatedly stated that she will not run as long as her father remains Speaker of the Illinois House–and was therefore not offered as an option.

Note that a short job related description was read about each potential candidate during the polling process. For example: “Congresswoman Cheri Bustos” - “State Senator Kwame Raoul.”

We Ask America Polls paid for this poll and was not asked to conduct it by any candidate, individual or political committee. The poll was purposely conducted during the Democratic National Convention in an effort to discuss the issue with Illinois Democrats during a time where they may be paying more attention to political issues.


This poll was conducted July 26, 2016 using both automated (recorded) and live operator-initiated calls. In all, 1,128 registered voters completed all questions on the poll. About 30% (338) of the responses came from cell phones. The voters dialed were randomly selected from a proprietary registered-voter database to assure the greatest chance of providing an accurate cross-section of opinion from the statewide sample. Weighting formulas were applied to correct any over- and under-sampling. Each respondent was asked to verify that he/she was a Democrat who planned to vote in the next Democratic Primary Election.

Our sampling methodology ensures that We Ask America poll results are “projectable,” meaning that if every resident in a given geography were dialed, the results would not differ from the reported poll results by more than the stated margin of error at a 95% confidence level (the industry standard), if the same survey was repeated. For this case, results with a margin of error of ±3.0 % at the 95% confidence level means that if the same survey were conducted 100 times, 95 times out of 100 the results would not vary in either direction by more than 3.0% in either direction.

Emphasis added for obvious reasons.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Conn Smythe - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:57 am:

    How did they not include Lisa Madigan?

  2. - The Captain - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:58 am:

    How is Lisa Madigan not listed?

  3. - Downstate GOP Faithless - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 10:58 am:

    Someone tell me, at this stage, why the question does not include the AG? I am really just wondering.

  4. - Meida Critic - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:00 am:

    I don’t suppose it’s possible to get past the 2016 election before talking serious about the 2018 election, is it?

  5. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:00 am:

    Albeit a distant second, Pat Quinn? Really??

  6. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:00 am:

    Que sorpresa! The best known candidate without fatal unfavorable numbers would win in a walk!

  7. - Jolly1 - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    READ the whole story people..
    . I’m told that Lisa Madigan wasn’t included because she said a couple years back she wouldn’t run for governor unless her father stepped aside as House Speaker.

  8. - Formerly Known as Frenchie M - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:04 am:

    Problem with Durbin is that someone will invariably remind him that if loses an election to Rauner — of all people — that that loss — to Rauner — will be his legacy.

    This, despite all the good work he’s done in Washington. The race will be so polarizing — and nasty — that it will define Durbin’s legacy — one way or the other.

  9. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:06 am:

    “someone else” sure is over performing. lol. Name recognition is everything here. I don’t think there’s any surprise. Had Lisa been included, I would guess she would be a few points either side of Durbin. Probably a point or two up because of her name rec in Chicago.

  10. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:11 am:

    I’m still not sold on his strength…he’s popular, but I’m not sure if most voters actually know much about him. Even against weak candidates, his victory margin has been shrinking more and more. I don’t know how solid that popularity will remain once his positions and vote record, coupled with the ‘Washington insider’ label, are put in the spotlight.

  11. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:14 am:

    – Albeit a distant second, Pat Quinn? Really?? –

    Only other person listed with true statewide name recognition.

  12. - Almost the Weekend - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:18 am:

    Durbin is by far the most qualified to run. The biggest factor in my opinion is it makes the Rauner teams work that much harder. He will not be able to use his Chicago v. Downstate pandering because Durbin and his team know everything about different regions of the state and he has a house in Springfield.

    Rauner likes to go downstate to bash Chicago, term limits, but has no accomplishments to run on. Durbin can go downstate knowing exactly what this area needs and also talk about what he has done at the federal level for that area. Example: Quad Cities, keeping Rock Island Arsenal open and funds for a new I-74 bridge.

    Rauner won’t have anything accomplished in four years. That’s his biggest problem. Four steps backwards and one stop forward.

  13. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:19 am:

    Would be interesting to see this same poll with Lisa running, predicated on the Speaker retiring. Bet that would be pretty clear.

  14. - Shake - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:20 am:

    Durbin vs Rauner. Durbin In A Landslide, Easy…

  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:23 am:

    === Easy===

    Is that you, Kirk Dillard? Or maybe it’s you, Pat Quinn?

  16. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:25 am:

    - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:14 am:

    – Albeit a distant second, Pat Quinn? Really?? –

    Only other person listed with true statewide name recognition.

    Exactly! lol

  17. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:25 am:

    Or is it you Dick Durbin?

  18. - illini - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:27 am:

    Guessing there are no Democrats who have roots south of Chicago and the collar counties, other than Sen Durbin, who could be added to this mix of candidates!

    Other than Durbin and Quinn, I’m fairly certain that most of these names would not be recognized by 95% of Downstate Democrats, or those who are typically inclined to vote Democrat.

  19. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:28 am:

    could have just had a poll of “Which of the following names have you heard before?”

  20. - LessAnon? - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:28 am:

    Can’t imagine Durbin would want to take this on. He has things too good right now, and he’d be giving that up to get pounded for over a year by an opposing campaign with an endless supply of resources. Back to reality, without Durbin or Lisa running, it’s pretty slim pickin’s

  21. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:31 am:

    Let’s see what happens this November. And then see what the FY17 budget is.

    Without lots more revenue, there will be a collapse of services. Who will be left standing?

  22. - Illinois Bob - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:32 am:

    What can they offer Durbin to make this worth his while? I wouldn’t wish that job on anybody given the toxic culture in Springfield. Ya gotta be thinking some “goody” worth seven figures for him personally, and substantially more than he could cash in for as a retired Senator.

    There really is no better political gig than Senator. With 100 members there’s far more influence to peddle for your vote than in the House, and three’s no less accountable gig than being a Senator.

    He also can stay there as long as he wants.

    I just can’t see what’s in it for him.

  23. - just maybe - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:34 am:

    Cong. Cheri Bustos has family and roots in southern Illinois and a strong connection to SIUC.

  24. - Downstate - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:37 am:

    Tom Dart, who’s very popular in Cook County, has been making the rounds downstate and has lots of friends in every region of the state. Would be interesting to see where he would land in this poll.

  25. - Chicago J - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 11:44 am:

    Kwame Raoul went way down in my estimation, when he participated in the “criss cross” tactic to defeat legislative redistricting reform.

  26. - MOON - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:33 pm:

    Durbin does not have the stomach to take on Rauner and his deep pockets.

  27. - *...* - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:28 pm:

    Hm, would’ve liked to see Tom Dart’s name in the polling…not sure why they didn’t include it seeing as it has been thrown around and included in another poll a couple months back.

  28. - Virtually Illiterate Collectivist - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:31 pm:

    Can’t read too much into this, but the one legit take away is bad news for Quinn. Durbin and him are the only candidates with universal name recognition among Dem voters and Durbin is out-polling him 5 to 1.

  29. - atsuishin - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 5:06 pm:

    quinn cant even make double digits :(

  30. - Former State Employee - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 5:53 pm:

    I don’t like Bruce Rauner, and I understand how bad his numbers are but anyone on this list except Dick Durbin will get crushed. Especially Cherie Bustos. Also Kwame, whose primary claim to fame is his connection to the President. And I hate my statement, but the party better get their act together if they want to beat him and they aren’t going to do it with someone who can’t pull their weight.

  31. - G'Kar - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 8:26 pm:

    “We Ask America Polls paid for this poll and was not asked to conduct it by any candidate, individual or political committee.”

    I know this is late, and perhaps a naive question but why would WAA do this for free?

  32. - Jimmy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 9:49 pm:

    The poll was purposely conducted during the Democratic National Convention in an effort to discuss the issue with Illinois Democrats during a time where they may be paying more attention to political issues.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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