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McLaughlin poll: Oberweis at 46 percent in five-way primary

Wednesday, Feb 5, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* McLaughlin & Associates does a lot of polling for a lot of GOP candidates and entities, but keep in mind that this is a quickie two-day poll of 300 likely Republican primary voters with a +/- 5.6 percent margin of error. Even so, this lead is way outside even that high MoE…

Survey Summary: The Republican Primary Election – Jim Oberweis has an overwhelming lead.

The results of our recently completed survey in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District show that with only 6 weeks to go and even with more candidates in the race, Jim Oberweis maintains a 30 point lead over his closest competitor. Jim Oberweis is in a very strong position to win the Republican Primary election for U.S. Congress. Almost half of voters polled, 46%, say they would vote for Oberweis, while only 16% say they would vote for Sue Rezin, followed by 6% for Catalina Lauf, then just 2% for both Jim Martel and Ted Gradel.

    If the Republican primary election for U.S. Congress was held today, for whom would you vote?

The majority of Republican primary voters in Illinois 14 are favorable to Jim Oberweis, 55%, with only 20% unfavorable. Sue Rezin, who lives outside the district and has said that she will not move into the district, is still widely unknown among Republican primary voters with, 59%, who have never heard of her, only 19% are favorable towards her, 5% are unfavorable, and 17% have no opinion. This explains why State Senator Rezin’s first campaign mail has been an attack on Jim Oberweis.

The vast majority of Republican primary voters in Illinois 14 have never heard of the other three candidates in the race, Catalina Lauf, Jim Marter and Ted Gradel. 72% have never heard of Catalina Lauf, 74% have never heard of Jim Marter, and 77% have never heard of Ted Gradel.

    Now, I am going to read you a list of names. Will you please tell me if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of each person? If you have no opinion or have never heard of each person, just say so.

In contrast to Senator Rezin’s attack on Jim Oberweis for losing past elections to Senator Durbin, Republican Primary voters are actually more likely to vote for Jim Oberweis because he ran against liberal Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.

    Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for Jim Oberweis if you knew that in his race for U.S. Senate, he defeated Liberal Democrat Dick Durbin in each county in your congressional district and came the closest of any Republican to beating Dick Durbin?


With only 6 weeks to go, Jim Oberweis is the clear frontrunner in the Republican Primary in Illinois Congressional District 14 with the highest and most favorable name recognition of any Republican candidate in the district. His opponents have a long way to go in a mere 6 weeks in a very expensive media market. Jim Oberweis is clearly the best Republican to unseat Pelosi Democrat Lauren Underwood and win back an important Congressional seat for the Republicans.

Methodology: Republican Primary

This poll of 300 likely Republican Primary election voters in Illinois Congressional District 14, was conducted from January 28th and January 29th, 2019. All interviews were conducted via telephone by professional interviewers. Interview selection was random within predetermined election units. 41% of interviews were completed on cell- phones. These samples were then combined and structured to correlate with actual voter turnout in a Republican Primary election. This poll of 300 likely Republican Primary election voters in Illinois Congressional District 14, has an accuracy of +/- 5.6% at a 95% confidence interval.

* Here are the latest cash-on-hand numbers for the primary

Oberweis: $1,073,397.35
Gradel: $649,126.92
Rezin: $329,389.18

None of the others had more than $32K on hand.

…Adding… Daily Herald

This is the first time Oberweis has polled against Lauf, who has found momentum as the “Anti-AOC” candidate on Fox News and conservative podcasts. Her campaign was not impressed with Oberweis’ poll.

“We’re not sure why someone who’s been running for office for decades and loaned his campaign millions of dollars would push a poll showing him below 50%, but we don’t try to understand the tactics of career politicians,” Lauf’s campaign team said in a statement. “We’re seeing overwhelming enthusiasm on the ground behind Catalina’s candidacy.

“She is not only the only candidate who will stand with President Trump and the only candidate who can beat liberal Lauren Underwood, but the much needed new energy and new face for the Republican Party.” […]

“What is ludicrous is that Oberweis and his pollster contrived a question seeking to laud Oberweis for having lost to Dick Durbin,” said a written statement from the [Rezin] campaign. “What is the point? Oberweis lost that race. He has lost elections for this congressional seat twice already. “If a candidate is supposed to get credit for a previous failed campaign then, by all means, Jim Oberweis is the undisputed king of Illinois politics.”

…Adding… Rezin campaign…

Jim Oberweis and his discredited pollster can maintain their self-delusion all they want but reality will once again hit them in the head on March 17 when Oberweis loses yet another election–just like all six of Oberweis’ previous elections for Congress, US Senate and Governor. 

We note, the Republican U.S. House Majority Leader lost his primary election in 2014 because Oberweis’ pollster was wrong by an astounding 45 points.

What is ludicrous is that Oberweis and his pollster contrived a question seeking to laud Oberweis for having lost to Dick Durbin. What is the point? Oberweis LOST that race. In fact, he has lost elections for this congressional seat TWICE already.

When a candidate goes out of his way to make one of his numerous election losses into a reason why he is supposedly sure to win this primary, it is evidence of him living in a parallel universe and making the same delusional mistakes that led to his losses in his previous six elections for Congress, US Senate and Governor.

Now that voters are fully tuning into this election, Sue Rezin is excited about engaging primary voters over the next six weeks and to the result on Election Day–just like all of her previous election victories—all five of them.


  1. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:11 am:

    Oberweis is perfectly positioned to lose the general election.

  2. - John Lopez - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:12 am:

    Push poll, and 20% unfavorable rating.

    Left off Jerry Evans and Anthony Catella.

    Name ID alone, plus 2014 Durbin loss.

    Most primaries in March are won and lost in February and March, not January.

    On Gradel’s cash on hand, over $100K cannot be used in primary.

    Rezin and Gradel have a lot of work to do, and the push poll very small sample size makes this questionable too.

  3. - NotBecky - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:15 am:

    LOL - Lauf folks making fun of poll because Oberweis isn’t quite at 50%

    Do they know how multi candidate elections work?

  4. - MacArthur - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:15 am:

    Sure it was end of January though. Also John Lopez, early voting starts tomorrow and more and more voters are taking advantage of it. Now is not the time for any of the other candidates to wait til mid feb or March to ramp things up.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:15 am:

    Oberweis will be “retired” in March or November, the only thing less for discussion is if a pass will be handed to the incumbent (Oberweis winning in March)

    === “If a candidate is supposed to get credit for a previous failed campaign then, by all means, Jim Oberweis is the undisputed king of Illinois politics.”===

    Tasty stuff.

    It’s Oberweis’ to lose.and then lose it in November.


  6. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:17 am:

    ===Push poll===


    Every poll uses push questions, my dude. A push poll asks the push questions first and then asks ballot preference.

  7. - Can - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:19 am:

    Just clicked the “About Us” tab on the pollster’s (McLaughlin & Associates) website. It appears that John McLaughlin, CEO and Partner, worked on Viktor Orban’s campaign in Hungary. So there’s that.

  8. - Steve Rogers - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:22 am:

    Wow, all of the candidates except Oberweis are nearly 60% or greater “never heard of”. That may help explain why the poll has Oberweis at a 30pt lead.

  9. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:22 am:

    Some interesting background on this race:

  10. - John Lopez - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:43 am:

    Oberweis was taking shots at Rezin at the debate on the 22nd, over a week before this poll was done, so he was already concerned about Rezin with his fall poll he did in October, which he did not release to anyone.

    Yes, I saw blogger, and 14th district voter Jeff Ward’s piece on Lauf and Rezin yesterday Dance Band. I got a few laughs, especially Ward giving Lauf the “dumb blonde” treatment over the ERA question at the Batavia forum.

    In case you missed it, the mailer Rezin sent out 2 weeks ago, and for all we know what really promulgated Oberweis to do a “quickie” poll last week, can be viewed here:

    Gradel has only started to campaign, and he has money to spend.

    When will the Tribune publish their first poll on this race?

  11. - ItsMillerTime - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:47 am:

    So I get this poll is not the best, but it does seem to build on the narrative that Oberweis is the leading candidate. Trump, Rauner, Oberweis, at the risk of exaggeration why do Republicans seem so fascinated with rich old dudes who don’t know how run a government?

  12. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:49 am:

    This ‘Lauf’ person is just a satire candidate, yes?

  13. - Lord of the Fries - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 11:10 am:

    The folks at McHenry County Blog don’t understand how modern polling works. This is not a push poll.

    If Oberweis doesn’t get complacent with these numbers then he should have a clear path to the primary victory…. and then start as an underdog to Underwood.

  14. - John Lopez - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    I don’t claim to be an expert, just go by what I see. That 2014 U.S. Senate race question is nonapplicable to 2020, but as you said, it only matters if you get the most votes.

    Oberweis’ being complacent? Him and his campaign staff and key volunteers have been showing that since last fall, and the strut his people do at debates is noticeable.

    If Oberweis does a few simple things, it’ll keep him out of complacency, including:
    - run like your 20 points behind
    - NO more time at your Florida home between now and primary

    I agree, and have written on this, Oberweis is at the point he can let his money do the talking, with Rezin and Gradel the only ones with any realistic shot.

    Gradel is at 2%, so Oberweis is only worried about Rezin, as he SHOWED at the Jan 22 debate.

  15. - Touré's Latte - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 11:36 am:

    Can not lose a primary, can not win a general. Guarantees Underwood a second term.

    Another example of the IL GOP needing leadership of some sort. They had two years to groom a candidate and end up with Oberweis? lol

  16. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 11:51 am:

    Before you “guarantee Underwood a second term” and start measuring for a trophy case, you do realize Trump won the 14th district by 4% don’t you?

  17. - Ike - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 11:57 am:

    They didn’t have two years to groom a candidate. More like 10 months. November 2018- September 2019 (petitions start).

  18. - Dave Fako / Fako Research & Strategies - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 12:06 pm:

    No comments on the poll results, but this is not a push poll and is done by a reputable GOP public opinion research firm. They have given adequate, albeit somewhat limited disclosure of their methodology, particularly noting the cell phone share of interviews and methods they used to represent the likely GOP primary turnout. The sample size is at the low end for a Congressional, but not unusual or too small or unrelible. n=400 is more common. For comparison most statewide polls use a sample size of n=600-800 and most national polls are in the 800 - 1200 range.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 12:11 pm:

    - Lucky Pierre -

    Oberweis is a proven loser, less his state senate seating.

    That district seems to be changing by the minute. The collars are not the same from 2009.


    How can Raja, that “seat” be an unopposed seat?

  20. - Lord of the Fries - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 12:34 pm:

    The districts are changing but we can’t take the ‘18 elections as standard. Every midterm for the party in the White House is always bad for the house and senate, especially when someone like Trump is in the white house. If a D is to oust Trump then Underwood and Casten would have a tough reelect in ‘22. Raja’s seat would potentially be at play too, I suspect he knows this which is why he is fundraising like crazy, or he wants higher office.

  21. - KSDinCU - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 12:44 pm:

    Maybe others have made this observation, but just think of the slogan potential of an Oberweis vs Underwood matchup.

  22. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 1:03 pm:

    ==Wow, all of the candidates except Oberweis are nearly 60% or greater “never heard of”. That may help explain why the poll has Oberweis at a 30pt lead. ==

    That’s what I’m thinking. Oberwies comes in with high name recognition and multiple opponents with little name recognition. Rezin can try to change that, but it is a very tall hill to climb in 6 weeks. And, if one or two of the other opponents get even a little traction, it just makes Rezin’s task more difficult. At this point, folks who don’t like Oberweis will just pick one of the others…

    It’s hard to see how the milkman loses the primary. It’s also hard to see how he wins in the fall.

  23. - John Lopez - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 1:42 pm:

    KSDinCU: “The past [Oberweis, age 74] vs. the future [Underwood, age 34] and the future is now.”

    Include pictures of the two of them, not the 12 year old picture Oberweis uses of himself on his comparison pieces, but his 2020 picture & Underwood’s pic.

    Can’t hide 40 years age difference plus she’s already in Congress. Airbrush can only do so much.

  24. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    The future is now with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Mike Bloomberg?

  25. - Woodstock Wally - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 2:00 pm:

    Is everyone just ignoring that the Gradel guys has like $650k. no way he finishes with 2%. Rezin has much less and will get less.

  26. - Sheila - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 2:06 pm:

    Oberweis keeps noting that he beat Durbin in the 14th District in 2014. We’ll first the district has changed some since then. Trump did beat Clinton by 3 in the 14th in 2016 but that may be different now too.

    The main point is that in 2014 in the 14th Oberweis seriously underperformed other Republicans and he got exactly half the votes that Rauner did for Governor. Rauner got 33.36% more than Pat Quinn. Oberweis got 16.97% more votes than Durbin. Source is Oberweis is a weak candidate and will fail in this primary and would lose in a landslide if he did get the nomination.

  27. - John Lopez - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 2:17 pm:

    Woodstock Wally, first see my comment above, nearly $105K of that $650K amount Gradel had at end of last year cannot be spent in the primary. Around $105K came from donors who’ve maxed out the amount legal to give in a primary. But similar difference to what you said, Gradel can do a lot with that money.

    But Gradel needs to START doing things effectively with his 1/2 million very soon, and that means TV ad buys. Gradel’s released quite a few videos, some likely to be TV commercials, but haven’t heard of any ad buy, yet.

    So far, Gradel has done one mailing.

    And, should Gradel gain traction and become a threat to Oberweis and Rezin, a negative to be used on him at some point will be the issues with US Stem Cell Clinic LLC in Florida, including the consent decree he had to sign when named a defendent in a suit by the FDA in 2018.

    While Gradel’s explanation is plausible, it will be an exposure used against him, should he become a threat to Oberweis. And if he wins the primary, Underwood/Democrats will eat him for lunch with it.

    But Gradel first has to chip-into the lead of both Oberweis and Rezin. He’s done polling, and he has released a comparison piece going after the two state senators, so he’s started his comeback.

    We must remember, Gradel was a walk-on placekicker at Notre Dame back in the 80s, and this comeback for him in the primary will need touchdowns, not field goals.

  28. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 2:23 pm:


    This isn’t a nuanced or race based on policy or thoughtful politics.

    The ball game is Oberweis’ name ID and cash and deciding do you go after Oberweis and try to bring him back to the field or do you spend to raise your own name ID and build a field operation if you can identify pluses and vote them.

    The numbers found in this poll are “honest” to the name ID and base building of Oberweis.

    It’s too late to decide to go all nuanced in a field with this many folks.

  29. - John Lopez - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 2:27 pm:

    Go sigh yourself Willy.

    We weren’t born yesterday, we know this is Oberweis’ to lose, and nearly all of us know Oberweis will lose to Underwood in November.

    Guess there’s a part of me that still believes in miracles and hope that the Republicans aren’t doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

    But, reality is reality unless proven otherwise, and we see President Trump where he is on the verge of a 2nd term, so won’t give up on hope in spite of your condescending attitude you always show.


  30. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 2:28 pm:

    === hope===

    Hope is not a strategy.

  31. - Victor Kingston - Wednesday, Feb 5, 20 @ 10:47 pm:

    As I have said before and will say again 100 times, attacking a polls methodology with no details means your internals said the same thing and you’re mad about it. It’s the cowardly campaign managers hedge.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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