Simon Institute Poll Finds Duckworth (D) Leads Kirk (R) in US Senate Race; Madigan More Unpopular than Rauner


File photo
File photo

Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump by an overwhelming 53 percent to 28 percent margin among likely voters in the 2016 race for president in Illinois, according to a new poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Libertarian Gary Johnson garnered 5 percent and the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, received 2 percent support. Nine percent said they remained undecided at this point.

The poll was conducted in the week after the first debate starting on Tuesday, September 27 and ending on Sunday, October 2. The sample included 1,000 registered voters, 865 of whom said they were likely voters. The likely voter sample has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.

The poll also showed:

markkirkRepublican Senator Mark Kirk trailing his challenger, Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.  This race showed Duckworth with a lead of 48 percent to Kirk’s 34 percent among likely voters.  The Libertarian candidate, Kent McMillen, received the support of 3 percent of the respondents while 2 percent said they would vote for the Green Party candidate, Scott Summers, and 10 percent remained undecided.

Speaker MadiganDemocratic House Speaker Michael Madigan is more unpopular than Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner among all registered voters. The two are locked in a stalemate over the state budget and voters aren’t much impressed by either. There are 63 percent who disapprove of Madigan’s performance and 55 percent who disapprove of Rauner’s.

* In the race for state Comptroller, incumbent Leslie Munger is running to retain the seat she was appointed to by Governor Rauner upon the death of Judy Baar Topinka.  She is being challenged by Democrat Susana Mendoza.  Mendoza is leading by a 40 percent to 32 percent margin among likely voters.  There is a large 22 percent of the voters who remain undecided.

Madigan aside, with a month to go, things are looking good for statewide Democratic candidates.

“This is Clinton’s home state and it is a state that has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988,” said John Jackson, one of the designers of the poll and a Visiting Professor at the Institute. “This poll shows that Clinton is certainly living up to the conventional expectations for a Democratic candidate in the kind of big and diverse Midwestern state she must win to be elected.”

The poll showed Clinton winning by 67 percent to Trump’s 19 percent in the City of Chicago where Democratic candidates usually do well while Trump is more competitive downstate where the candidates are essentially tied (Trump 40 percent to Clinton’s 39 percent).  Suburban Cook and the collar counties are where the balance of power resides in Illinois and Clinton is winning there by about 30 percentage points (Clinton 56 percent to Trump 25 percent).

In the U.S. Senate race, the geographic breakdown is 61 percent for Duckworth in the city of Chicago to 26 percent for Kirk.  In suburban Cook and the collar counties, 51 percent plan to vote for Duckworth compared to 31 percent for Kirk. Downstate Kirk is winning with 44 percent compared to Duckworth’s 36 percent.

Leslie Munger
Comptroller Leslie Munger (R)

The pattern holds in the Comptroller contest:  Mendoza is leading in the City of Chicago at 52 percent compared to Munger’s 23 percent.  Downstate the incumbent, Munger, is leading by 43 percent compared to Mendoza’s 28 percent. The balance of power is held in the Cook county suburbs and collar counties where Mendoza is leading by 42 percent to Munger’s 28 percent.

David Yepsen, director of the Institute, said “Republican candidates who win statewide need to run better in the collar counties than Trump, Kirk and Munger are running. As always, that will be the battleground region in the coming month.”

Job Approvals

The advertising in many of the 2016 legislative campaigns in Illinois has focused largely on three people who are not on the ballot, that is, Governor Bruce Rauner, Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, and Senate President John Cullerton.  The poll asked whether the respondents approved or disapproved of the job each was doing.

Gov Rauner is a no-show at the Republican National Convention

The results for Rauner show that his job approval ratings are underwater with 40 percent somewhat approving or strongly approving and 55 percent somewhat disapproving or strongly disapproving of the job he is doing.

However, the governor is more popular downstate where he is somewhat closer to positive territory with 45 percent approving and 51 percent disapproving of the job he is doing.  In the suburban areas, Rauner is in negative territory with 55 percent disapproving and 39 percent approving.

The Governor’s biggest problem is in the City of Chicago where his disapproval outnumbers starkly overtake his approval (62 percent to 34 percent).

Speaker Madigan’s overall job approval ratings are also in negative territory with 63 percent somewhat disapproving or strongly disapproving and 26 percent somewhat approving or strongly approving.

Madigan’s best job approval ratings are in the City of Chicago where the ratings are 32 percent approve and 56 percent disapprove.  His suburban Cook and collar county job approval ratings are 28 percent approve to 59 percent disapprove.  Downstate yields the harshest assessment of the Speaker’s tenure with 73 percent disapproving and 20 percent approving.

In the recent negative ads wars, Senate President John Cullerton has not been the lightning rod that the Speaker has.  There are 41 percent who disapprove or strongly disapprove of Cullerton’s performance while 26 percent approve and 29 percent aren’t sure.