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Roskam race moved to “Toss Up” by Cook Political Report

Friday, Nov 17, 2017

* Cook Political Report

The last two weeks have seen some significant movement in Democrats favor. First, there were the impressive results from last Tuesday’s elections. This week, we’ve seen two polls — one by Quinnipiac and one by Marist — that show Democrats with a congressional ballot advantage of +13 to +15. Three other recent polls — ABC/Washington Post, Fox, and NBC/Wall Street Journal — show Democrats with an advantage of anywhere from +7 to +15.

These are political wave numbers. […]

My colleague David Wasserman has been digging into the question of just how big of a wave Democrats need to get in order to surf into the majority. The short answer: they need to see a generic ballot advantage of +8 or more, which roughly translates to getting at least 54 percent or more of the national House vote in 2018.

The last time Democrats enjoyed a margin of +8 or more in a mid-term year was 2006. That year, Democrats won the House vote by 8.5 percent. The last time that Democrats got into the double digits was 2008 when they carried the House vote by D+11. This has led to a lots of talk that Democrats can only hit significant margins of victory in presidential elections when their base is more engaged and involved. It also helped to have a transformational candidate - Barack Obama - at the top of the ticket. Something they obviously don’t have in 2018. But, there is precedent for Democrats winning the House vote by double digits in mid-term years. In the post-Watergate midterm of 1974, Democrats won by a whopping 17 points. In Ronald Reagan’s first midterm of 1982, Democrats won the House vote by 12 points.

* As a result, Cook has moved Peter Roskam from “Lean Republican” to “Toss Up”

IL-06: Peter Roskam (R) - Chicago west suburbs: Wheaton, Palatine

Toss Up. Roskam has been a party loyalist since 2006, narrowly losing a bid for GOP whip in 2014 and casting conservative votes. But his suburban Chicago district has moved away from the GOP so fast that Democrats are now wishing they hadn’t protected him in their 2012 gerrymander. In 2016, Clinton won this seat 50 percent to 43 percent. Only eight House Republicans represent a seat Trump lost by more. Defeating Roskam will be Chicago Democrats’ top priority.

The large Democratic field is led by financial adviser and former North Barrington Village Trustee Kelly Mazeski, who had $343,000 on hand at the end of September. Clean energy businessman Sean Casten, former congressional aide Carole Cheney and 2016 nominee Amanda Howland are running too. Fortunately for Democrats, Illinois’s March 20 primary should give the nominee more time to consolidate support and raise money to compete in a very expensive market.

…Adding… I’ve generally avoided covering the Dem primary because there are so many hopefuls and I wasn’t sure who would even survive the petition season. This may change things…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - yeah so what - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:29 pm:

    How can the change the rating on this race if they don’t even know who is opponent is ?

  2. - PublicServant - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    Well he let is constituents down. They’re going to get crushed by SALT. He’s going to get what’s coming to him for not voting his district’s interests. Buh-bye.

  3. - Actual Red - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:35 pm:

    =yeah so what=
    They look at generic ballot polling to get a sense of the political environment. These polls have been showing larger Democratic advantages. Compare that to the partisan lean of the district as seen in previous elections. District went Dem in the last presidential election, and the national environment favors Dems. Looking at previous races around the country, that indicates it’s likely to be close. Like all polling analysis, it’s a measure of probability and not a prediction.

  4. - VanillaMan - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:35 pm:

    My gut says that he’s in trouble until the tax cut gets passed. Then it will be close with him leaning.

  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:37 pm:

    ===until the tax cut gets passed===

    Except the polling on that tax bill is horrible.

  6. - PJ - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:40 pm:

    ===until the tax cut gets passed===

    You mean the one with terrible polling numbers that will actually be a tax increase for lots of people in his district who deduct state taxes?

  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:41 pm:

    ===lots of people in his district who deduct===

    IIRC, it’s something like half.

  8. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:42 pm:

    ===until the tax cut gets passed===

    And not only is the polling horrible, if it gets enacted for the 2017 tax year, with SALT (or at least most of it) going away, the mortgage deduction going away, his middle and upper middle class constituents are going to be hit hard in April. They’ll remember paying extra when they vote.

  9. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:42 pm:

    I must not be understanding this right. If the polling is indicating a several point swing toward the Ds since last election, why are Davis +3 and Bost +5 still Lean Republican and not Toss Up? Those are the 2016 ratings right?

  10. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:43 pm:

    I will believe it when I see it Wheaton Glen Ellen never never go Democrat. This is Jeanne Ives base. If this actually turns Democrat the Republicans are in a world of hurt both nationally and statewide

  11. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:48 pm:

    Time for Pete to revive Obama Voters for Roskam. Maybe this time he should add Clinton Voters for Roskam, too.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:52 pm:

    What will be the list interesting about seats like Roskam’s where Clinton won, and the seat was won be Republican is if women and the frustrated electorate with Trump will be mobilized in a micro way to go after a Roskam, in actuality, when faced with that decision in the voting booth

    Virginia said it is possible.

    The polling here points to that too.

    A year out, will that anger and frustration subside enough to let micro wins stop a huge wave?

  13. - Ron - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:52 pm:

    Roskam is toast. So is the republican majority in congress.

  14. - Roman - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    == Democrats are now wishing they hadn’t protected him in their 2012 gerrymander. ==

    Yep, took the Dem leaning precincts out to create the Duckworth seat. When the map came out I remember thinking that’s exactly the way Roskam would have drawn it if you gave him the chance. Now it’s in play. The GOP state legislators in the district have to be a little uncomfortable, too.

  15. - Roman - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:03 pm:

    - DuPage Saint -

    Hillary won Jeanne Ives’ district by nearly 10 points.

  16. - The Captain - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:10 pm:

    The Clinton numbers here in 2016 were a bit of an outlier, they just didn’t like Trump so she won by 7. In that same election with the same voters Duckworth still lost by 6 and Mendoza still lost by 21. Maybe Virginia and the generic ballot numbers really are a sign but this is a heavy lift and anti-Trump fervor has to translate to other candidates in a way that it didn’t transfer to Duckworth and Mendoza in this district. I’m just not there yet.

    On the other hand, if this district is genuinely in play because of the environment how could Rauner possibly win re-election? Any way you look at it this district is much more Republican than the state as a whole so if a run-of-the-mill Republican like Roskam is in a tossup here what kind of superhero campaign is Rauner going to have to run just to have a chance? Mike Madigan is going to have to be history’s heaviest political anvil.

  17. - Chicago_Downstater - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:17 pm:

    I know that Politico can be a little cracked from time-to-time (see the article where they still think Kennedy is the Democratic front-runner), but this is a very interesting article that I think speaks to Roskam’s hazardous election:

    I can’t help but think that this also bodes ill for Rauner in the suburbs. Which is why I can’t figure out why he won’t come out against the National Republican’s tax plan. It’s not like he needs national party’s approval, but he definitely needs those suburban votes.

  18. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:17 pm:

    ===and anti-Trump fervor has to translate to other candidates in a way that it didn’t transfer to ===

  19. - Try-4-Truth - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:17 pm:

    ===== On the other hand, if this district is genuinely in play because of the environment how could Rauner possibly win re-election? =====

    I really don’t see how Gov. Rauner can win under most circumstances. If JB (Kennedy, Biss, whoever) melt down in a biblical way, then maybe, but if not, I just don’t see a path to victory for our Governor.

  20. - Lunchbox - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:18 pm:

    I disagree with this race characterization. Remember that Mark Kirk won this district back in 2014 and Roskam won re-election last year by 18.4%. Even if next year’s electorate is as diverse as a presidential, this is still Roskam’s race to lose. Look back to 2008 (won by 15.1%) and 2012 (also won by 18.4%.) There will be a 6th Congressional district Dem forum moderated by Mary Ann Ahern on December 12th in Carol Stream, it will be interesting to see who stands out among the candidates. Polling aside, until the Dems have a candidate and can fundraise, I’d hold off on switching to a toss up based on history alone.

  21. - Chicago_Downstater - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:25 pm:


    All very fair and reasoned points. Sometimes these polls can be a flash in the pan and I think it does lose some legitimacy without a named opponent. Still, it’ll definitely be an interesting election to watch this cycle.

  22. - Lunchbox - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:35 pm:

    Thank you, Chicago_Downstater! This definitely will be an interesting election to watch. I’m literally one street away from the 6th so I’ll be close enough to the fun. As the Cook Report pointed out, the 2012 gerrymander made this a much safer Republican district. Count on Durbin and Duckworth and other IL House Dems to pressure the DCCC to get involved if they get a candidate they think can win (looks like they are settling on Mazeski.)

  23. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:36 pm:

    While I hope he’s right, I’m not sure I agree with Charlie Cook on this one. Obviously it depends on his opponent, but it also depends on whether the “independents” in the district will abandon their typical support for Roskam. The D candidate I’m most intrigued by is the Bill Foster-like guy Sean Casten. If he can raise the $$, he would be a very formidable opponent for Roskam.

  24. - union thug gramma - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:40 pm:

    ====- Chicago_Downstater - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @

    I can’t help but think that this also bodes ill for Rauner in the suburbs. Which is why I can’t figure out why he won’t come out against the National Republican’s tax plan. ====
    Come out against it? He’s proud to tell media he was one of the main architects of it! As one who lives in the district, I’ve even seen some of my very staunch republican neighbors complain about Roskam and some of his votes…and that was before the possible loss of medical, student loan, property tax, state tax deductions.

  25. - Roman - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:48 pm:

    - The Captain -

    Maybe you’re right…maybe the Clinton numbers in the Chicago ‘burbs were a bit of an outlier. But Virginia says otherwise. The Dems exceeded Hillary’s perfomance in that state’s suburban enclaves and erased a 66-34 seat GOP advantage in the state assembly. The Trump effect is hardening rural/small town America’s support for Republicans while pushing the burbs toward the Dems.

    A lot can happen in a year — and the Virginia Republicans didn’t have Mike Madigan to kick around. But I wouldn’t want to be a suburban-based Republican congressman or state legislator in Illinois right now.

  26. - Dome Gnome - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    A friend of mine got out in the cold to protest Roskam at a Downer’s Grove fundraiser last night, along with 400 of his closest friends. They brought the town hall meeting to him.

  27. - Bluefish - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    Roskam has been having a stellar year. This didn’t sit well with a lot of parents in his district.

  28. - Curl of the Burl - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    A lot of this will come down to fundraising. So far in 2017 the RNC has greatly outraised the DNC, and recently the NRCC has started to retake their fundraising lead over the DCCC.

    If the DCCC has to key in on one race to target in Illinois it will be interesting to see if they want to go after Roskam or Bost. Both could be vulnerable - although I would assume Roskam is more vulnerable.

  29. - Curl of the Burl - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 3:03 pm:

    I also think Mr. Roskam has at times imitated the old Illinois Senate Republican practice/thought of “I won’t be in trouble if they can’t see me!” that cost them 5 seats in 2006 and confirmed that elected officials and candidates need to be visible even when things aren’t going their way. He’s too elusive and, at times, strange. He needs better staff and campaign advice.

  30. - JB13 - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 3:34 pm:

    So Illinois voters now care whether someone raises their taxes? Interesting. Please, tell us more.

  31. - Amalia - Friday, Nov 17, 17 @ 4:18 pm:

    do they mean toss up like Roskam’s votes in Congress, especially lately, are sickening?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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