Friday, June 18, 2010

The Big Question in Illinois

There's not much doubt the single most important factor that will determine who wins the races for Governor and Senate in Illinois this fall: the willingness of Democratic voters to hold their noses and vote for Alexi Giannoulias and Pat Quinn even if they aren't too personally fond of them.

Giannoulias and Quinn are getting a lower level of support from people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 than any other Democratic candidates across the country we've polled on since the beginning of April, and it's not even close. Only 50% of Obama supporters are currently committed to voting for Giannoulias and just 48% say they'll cast their votes for Quinn.

No other Democrat we've polled on recently has been getting less than 60% of the Obama vote- the one at that level is Roxanne Conlin, running what has to be seen as an incredibly uphill battle against Chuck Grassley in Iowa. Even politicians with sub 30 approval ratings (Chet Culver at 68%) or who are pretty much completely unknown (Vincent Sheheen at 70%, Rodney Glassman at 65%) are doing a far better job of locking up the Democratic base vote.

Even Jon Corzine still got more than 70% of the Obama vote as he was headed for defeat in New Jersey on our final poll before the election there last fall. Corzine's numbers may actually bode well for Giannoulias and Quinn though- he was polling in the low 60s among Obama voters in mid-September and had significantly improved that by the end of the campaign. And Giannoulias and Quinn's current positions are far superior to where Corzine was standing at this point a year ago. A fair number of the base voters will come home in the end- it's just a question of whether it will quite be enough.

The candidate with the Obama base vote most strongly unified around him? Terry Goddard, running against Jan Brewer in Arizona. Just another indication of how the Arizona immigration law has the potential to galvanize and unify Democratic voters, particularly in that part of the country.

Here's the data on how Democratic candidates are doing with Obama voters at this point:

Candidate (State/Office)

Current % of Obama vote

Terry Goddard (Arizona Governor)


John Hickenlooper (Colorado Governor)


Michael Bennet (Colorado Senate)


John Lynch (New Hampshire Governor)


Jerry Brown (California Governor)


Barbara Boxer (California Senate)


Charlie Melancon (Louisiana Senate)


Paul Hodes (New Hampshire Senate)


Vincent Sheheen (South Carolina Governor)


Jack Conway (Kentucky Senate)


Elaine Marshall (North Carolina Senate)


Chet Culver (Iowa Governor)


Rodney Glassman (Arizona Senate)


Roxanne Conlin (Iowa Senate)


Alexi Giannoulias (Illinois Senate)


Pat Quinn (Illinois Governor)


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