Preckwinkle’s Problems

Last week’s Illinois Manufacturers’ Association poll on the Cook County beverage tax indicated high discontent with the one-cent-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax. Does that resentment translate to political problems for the chief advocate for the tax, Board President Toni Preckwinkle?

From August 15 through August 16, 2017, We Ask America Polls™ conducted a hybrid (part automated/part live interview) telephone poll measuring Cook County likely voters’ snapshot opinions on the Cook County Board President. Three questions were asked in a particular order:

“In general, do you APPROVE, or DISAPPROVE of the job Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle is doing?”

“Do you AGREE, or DISAGREE with the following statement: ‘I will probably vote to re-elect Toni Preckwinkle as County Board President no matter who is running against her.’”

“Does that fact that Toni Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote that created the Cook County beverage tax make you MORE LIKELY or LESS LIKELY to vote to re-elect her?”

Note: Question 3–pointing out that Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote in the beverage tax–was purposely put at the end of the three questions to avoid any negative effect on the  other questions. The matter was addressed in a negative form similar to how potential opponents to Ms Preckwinkle will likely view the issue.

DOWNLOAD FULL RESULTS HERE.

Findings

  1. Toni Preckwinkle suffers a significantly lower job-approval rating than Donald Trump: Having only 21 percent of likely voters approving of her general performance is likely to generate serious competition for her next year in her bid for re-election.
  2. Her re-elect numbers are extraordinarily low: The re-elect question referred to the phrase “no matter who runs against her” to provide a clear-cut option. Wording it in that manner helps to determine the strength of Preckwinkle’s core support—those who will vote for her no matter what. Normal re-elect results for incumbents when this type of option is offered is in the high-30s or low-40s percentile. Preckwinkle’s 16 percent is surely going to encourage potential opponents to look closer at a possible run.
  3. Casting the deciding vote on the beverage tax may be Toni Preckwinkle’s Kryptonite. Already weakened by the issue, casting the deciding, tie-breaking vote will be an issue that potential opponents will hammer on repeatedly to great effect. The 10 percent result may mean that even if Preckwinkle leads a repeal effort, she remains very vulnerable for her initial action.

Notes & Comments

  • There was virtually no difference between the City and suburban areas in the overall approve/disapprove results.
  • Although not a traditionally huge demographic in county elections, nearly 91% of younger likely voters chose the negative option in the re-elect question. Overall, Hispanic voters had the highest negative answer (83%) on the re-elect question. Adding the “deciding vote” fact pushed the “Less Likely to Re-elect” to 98 percent among Hispanics.
  • Men gave a significantly lower approval of Ms Preckwinkle than women (14% vs 25%).

Poll details:

Type: Hybrid; automated to landline phones, live operator interviews to cell phones.
Responses: 902 Likely Voters
Margin of Error: 3.27%
Poll dates: Aug. 15-16, 2017

DOWNLOAD FULL RESULTS HERE.

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Cook County Beverage Tax Poll

From August 3 through August 6, 2017, We Ask America Polls™ conducted a hybrid (part automated/part live interview) telephone poll measuring Cook County likely voters’ views on the recently implemented beverage tax on sweetened products. The primary question was this:

“As you may know, a new tax has taken effect in Cook County that places a one-cent-per ounce- tax on most sweetened beverages. We’d like to know if you APPROVE, or DISAPPROVE of the new Cook County beverage tax that places a new tax on most sweetened beverages.”

The poll also asked voters’ opinions on the main motive for the tax increase (health vs. increased spending) and their opinions on re-electing officials who voted for the new tax. Click HERE to download the results.

Findings

  1. The new beverage tax received the highest disapproval percentage of any similar tax we’ve ever polled: Nearly 87 percent disapproved of the tax, 12 percent approved of it and only one percent had no opinion.
  2. Very few believe the “health” argument for passing the tax: Only 8 percent believe that the tax was implemented to improve the health and well-being of Cook Co. residents.
  3. Commissioners who voted for the tax will have a tougher time convincing voters to re-elect them next year. Across all demographics, pro-beverage tax commissioners face potential problems if challengers use this issue against them in next fall’s elections. While nearly 10 percent of voters said they would be MORE likely to vote for a pro-beverage tax commissioner, close to 83 percent stated they would be LESS likely to re-elect a county commissioner who supported the measure. Potential political challengers will certainly use this issue that scores points on Election Day.

Notes & Comments

  • While it may be argued that this poll was taken soon after consumers first experienced so-called Sticker Shock from the new beverage tax and therefore doesn’t necessary reflect how they’ll feel about it next year, the extraordinarily high rate of disapproval (nearly 87 percent) indicates that this tax is not going to be merely shrugged off in the long run. Very high response percentages often are linked to a combination of intellectual and emotional factors—and that combination can affect elections.
  • The Ethnic Origin Demographic breakouts indicate that the tax is LEAST popular among African American and Hispanic voters. The group with the highest approval rate for the tax are Asians (17 percent).
  • There are statistically no differences between City and Suburban Cook residents in the approve/disapprove answers, and little difference in the other questions.

Poll details:

Type: Hybrid; automated to landline phones, live operator interviews to cell phones.
Responses: 1,119 Likely Voters
Margin of Error: 3.0%
Poll dates: Aug. 3-6, 2017

Click HERE to download the results.

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IL Turnout Tool

With pollsters split on the Illinois governor’s race, it’s important to remember how regional turnout can move election results fairly dramatically in the Land of Lincoln. To illustrate that point, we developed an online turnout effect calculator to allow those who possess both political tendencies and way too much time on their hands a chance to play the with different turnout scenarios.

The calculator splits Illinois into four regions (Chicago, Suburban Cook Co., Collar Counties and Downstate) and we preset the turnout in each of those areas to match the 2010 midterm turnout. Of course, you can change those anyway you want. We’ve also populated the vote splits with our latest poll results, but you can wipe that out and put your own numbers. After you twiddle the numbers, click the submit button to see what it does to the final results. The whole thing is designed to fit on an iPad, and we included a RESET button to put all the numbers back to presets.

With the Illinois governor’s race as tight as it seems, this shows how tweaking a few numbers effects the final result. Instructions are on the page (just click on the INSTRUCTIONS button).

Have fun.

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IL Congressional

We Ask America Polls™ did a round of internal polls in targeted Illinois congressional races last night. This morning, it was decided to make them public since no group, campaign or individual requested or paid for them. For now, we’ll show you the toplines with brief comments. Check back later and we’ll offer you some crosstabs.

Here we go:

Illinois 10:

Brad Schneider (D)45.09%
Bob Dold (R)47.16%
Undecided7.75%

Our numbers in the hotly contested 10th District race illustrate why it’s considered one of the nation’s most competitive.  This week’s report of a large TV buy for Dold from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg could tip the scales, but this one should still be considered a toss-up.

Illinois 11:

Bill Foster (D)51.64%
Darlene Senger (R)40.32%
Undecided8.04%

Incumbent Bill Foster has taken a decided double-digit lead on Darlene Senger  in the redrawn 11th District. Foster’s background as a scientist and wealthy entrepreneur has made it difficult for Republicans to peg him as anti-business.  Unless the GOP can prove he’s the one responsible for all of Jay Cutler’s interceptions, Foster should be safe on Election Day.

Illinois 12:

Bill Enyart (D)41.83%
Mike Bost (R)43.50%
Paula Bradshaw (G)5.79%
Undecided8.89%

Along with IL-10, the 12th District falls within the margin of error and is really anyone’s race.  State Rep. Mike Bost holds a slight lead in this Democratic leaning district, despite efforts from the left to portray him as a loose-cannon.

Illinois 13: 

Rodney Davis (R)52.83%
Ann Callis (D)35.63%
Undecided11.53%

In what was once thought to be a swing district under the new map, House freshman Rodney Davis appears in good shape to hold on to his slightly Democratic central Illinois District.  Davis’ lead may inch towards single digits on November 4th with a big Dem GOTV effort, but he should be safe.

Illinois 17:

Cheri Bustos (D)54.98%
Bobby Schilling (R)38.94%
Undecided6.08%

In a rematch from 2012, many have felt from the beginning that incumbent Cheri Bustos would be tough to beat. Barring anything unforeseen, Bobby Schilling will continue wishing it was 2010.

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IL & MI

[box type=”info”] We continue our polls in Midwestern states today with our home base—Illinois—and races in Michigan. [/box]

Illinois: Everything old is new again

Governor Pat Quinn has made a career out of proving those who dismiss his chances in political races wrong. Earlier this year, most pundits outside of Illinois had Quinn high on their likely-to-be-dumped lists. The reasons were logical: the Illinosi lags behind other Midwestern neighbors in economic recovery, has the highest pension debt in the nation and continues to lose jobs to greener economic pastures. Enter Republican Bruce Rauner, a highly successful investment professional with deep pockets and an in-your-face promise to “shake up Springfield.” Conventional wisdom dictated that Quinn was in serious trouble.

But Rauner had a much tougher Primary than expected thanks partially to a successful campaign by teachers unions to encourage crossover votes, and Quinn has since seemed to hit his stride earlier than usual in the race. Many assumed that Rauner would launch a shock-and-awe level attack that would bury Quinn, but his campaign seems has yet to overwhelm observers or voters. And Rauner’s purposeful penchant for avoiding details has left more questions than answers.

Rauner had a 10-12 point lead a few weeks ago. With Quinn hitting his stride and Rauner stumbling a bit, what do the voters think? We asked more than 1,400 likely voters on September 18-19 the following question:

If the election for Governor were held today, would you vote for Democrat Pat Quinn, Republican Bruce Rauner or Libertarian Chad Grimm?

Poll type: Automated - Date: 9/18-19/2014 - Participants: 1,418 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 3%
 Pat QuinnBruce RaunerChad GrimmUndecided
ALL VOTERS41%44%6%9%
BY GENDER
Women44%42%4%9%
Men36%47%8%9%
BY PARTY
Republican11%79%5%5%
Democrat74%14%3%10%
Independent29%48%10%12%

After holding a double-digit lead a few weeks ago, the gap narrows…just as it did four years ago when Republican State Senator Bill Brady led Quinn by 10 points a month out from the election only to lose a relatively close race.  Despite running a state that’s home to massive debt, terribly low job creation rates, and a pension system that has almost single-handedly lead to a credit rating close to “non-investment grade”, Pat Quinn has pulled within the margin of error.

There is time left, and Bruce Rauner has the wherewithal to unleash the hounds with a wave of his checkbook, but the ticking of the clock is growing louder every day.

Michigan: Who goes first?

Who’s in more trouble, Brady Hoke or Governor Rick Snyder?  At least Governor Snyder didn’t lose to Notre Dame on national television…or get humiliated by a team nicknamed The Utes. As to which individual gets to keep his job in 2015, that one’s still TBD.

Republican Governor Rick Snyder has found himself in the middle of a re-election dogfight with Democratic former Congressman Mark Schauer.  Schauer, who’s also a former state lawmaker in Michigan, is a seasoned campaign veteran who casts himself as a pro-middle class candidate.

It should be noted that no first-term Michigan governor has lost a re-election bid in more than 100 years.  Snyder, who some say waited too late in the game to hit the airwaves with his pro-business campaign messaging, seems to be banking on the fact that Mr. Schauer will run out of funds before this thing is all said and done. But blood in the water usually leads to increased contributions, so that may be a false hope.

To this point, all we know is this one is close…real close:

Poll type: Automated - Date: 9/18-19/2014 - Participants: 1,182 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 3%
 Rick SnyderMark SchauerMary BuzumaMark McFarlinPaul HomeniukUndecided
ALL VOTERS43%43%2%1%1%10%
BY GENDER
Women40%44%2%1%0%13%
Men48%41%2%1%1%6%
BY PARTY
Republicans86%8%2%0%0%3%
Democrats6%82%1%0%0%10%
Independents46%34%4%2%1%13%

Michigan Senate

In the same poll as above, we asked Michigan voters their views on the race for U.S. Senate. Senate forecasts small and large have given the GOP an edge heading into this November’s election. The mildly blue state of Michigan may just buck that trend. In the race for an open seat, Democratic candidate Congressman Gary Peters has held a consistent lead over Republican candidate Terri Lynn Land since April.  Despite being a GOP stalwart throughout most of the 20th century, Michigan has been reliably Democratic since 1992, and all things considered, it seems that trend will continue.

Here are the results:

Poll type: Automated - Date: 9/18-19/2014 - Participants: 1,182 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 3%
 Terri Lynn LandGary PetersJim FulnerRichard MatkinChris WahmhoffUndecided
All Voters39%42%3%1%1%14%
BY GENDER
Women34%46%2%1%0%17%
Men44%38%4%1%2%11%
BY PARTY
Republicans82%5%2%1%0%10%
Democrats4%84%1%1%1%9%
Independents38%34%5%2%1%21%
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3rd Time Around

We Ask America  jumps back into conducting public polls this week in a handful of Midwestern states…starting with one of our favorites: Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s political scene simply doesn’t follow conventional wisdom. The state’s electorate, which has earned a reputation of progressive and independent thought, have endured a somewhat tumultuous recent political past. Current Gov. Scott Walker (R) promised when he was first elected in 2010 to be a force to be reckoned with. That was an understatement. Supporters liked Walker’s take-no-prisoner approach to challenging public-sector unions, but his actions enflamed his detractors who came fairly close to recalling him in 2012. Walker prevailed, but continues to be a galvanizing national figure.

This time around, Walker faces Democrat Mary Burke, a former TREK bicycle executive and State Secretary of Commerce. Burke doesn’t provide the same type of easy contrast that Walker was able to use in the past against his opponents. The race has gotten increasingly nasty, with much of the clamor coming from outside political forces. Like all governors from both political parties, Walker ticks people off daily with decisions he must make as a sitting chief executive…although he seems to have mitigated his bull-in-the-china-shop ways. But Walker fell short on some lofty job-creation promises–perhaps due to factors out of his control–and he’s wearing the collar for that among other challenges he faces.

Burke isn’t getting by easy either. Since she has a record of public service, political pathologists have found plenty of things to talk about from her past stint as Commerce Secretary and she’s getting labeled as an outsourcer for sending jobs to China at TREK.

So, is Wisconsin prepared to elect Scott Walker for a third time in four years, or will Mary Burke be able to succeed where others have failed?

We asked 1,170 likely voters whether they preferred Republican Scott Walker, Democrat Mary Burke or a third-party candidate for Wisconsin governor. Here’s what they said:

Poll type: Automated - Date: 9/3/2014 - Participants: 1,170 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 3%
 WALKERBURKE3RD PARTYUNDECIDED
All Voters44%48%2%6%
***BY GENDER***
Women39%54%2%5%
Men49%43%2%6%
***BY PARTY***
Republicans90%6%2%2%
Democrats5%89%2%4%
Independents44%44%3%9%

With so much talk about the effect that President Obama had on the ballot in 2012, we followed up our head-to-head question asking whether they generally approve or disapprove of the job the President is doing. It could be an important factor for those of you in the election turnout pool. Here’s what they said:

 APPROVEDISAPPROVENEUTRAL
All Voters44%48%8%
***BY GENDER***
Women48%44%8%
Men35%57%8%
***BY PARTY***
Republicans8%91%1%
Democrats80%10%10%
Independents35%54%11%

With the volatility of the Wisconsin gubernatorial campaign sure to escalate, we’ll be back in a few weeks to see where matters stand.

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A steep climb

The ballyhooed union crossover vote in Illinois’ Republican Primary is going to find a steep climb in tomorrow’s Primary Election according to our latest tracking poll. Last night, we ran our usual automated tracker where we asked likely Republican voters to verify their intention to vote in the Primary following by their choice for governor. Here are those results:

Poll type: Automated - Date: 3/16/2014 - Participants: 1,126 Likely GOP Voters - Margin of Error: ± 3%
Bill Brady19.35%
Kirk Dillard27.36%
Bruce Rauner44.24%
Dan Rutherford9.04%

Frankly, no big surprise in these numbers. Bruce Rauner has been maintaining a sizable lead despite an onslaught of negative ads against him. Kirk Dillard’s numbers continue to improve, and the vaunted crossover vote looms. But let’s look at just how much of a challenge Dillard has to catch up.

The following chart shows results based on both 750,000 and 800,000 voters turnout models. It also shows how many crossover votes it would take to catch up.

DILLARD'S DILEMMA  
GOP turnout:750,000800,000
To catch Rauner:126,600135,040

That many votes represents a whole lotta love the unions have to generate for their crossover effort. Nothing of this scope has ever been accomplished in Illinois. Still, there may be enough crossover to move numbers tomorrow. But a few won’t be enough.

Dillard needs a stampede.

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Over?

A report today that  some  Illinois unions had pulled their anti-Bruce Rauner ads from the airwaves because they had “accomplished their goal” caused a bit of stir among hardcore political types. The surprise move led many to speculate that the union brain trust now believes that Mr. Rauner’s numbers are sufficiently high that he cannot be beat in the Primary next week. Still, the Chicago Tribune recently published results from their second poll which led some to believe that Kirk Dillard still has a fighting chance. And Capitol Fax reported that Mr. Dillard has recently received $400,000 from teacher unions.

Is this still a ball game?

Since this is Tracking Tuesday at We Ask America, we decided to not only run our tracker but to also take away voters’ opportunity to say they’re undecided–a move we usually take when we’re within a week of the election.

So, after we asked participants to verify their registration and intent to vote in the Republican Primary, we asked this:

If the Republican Primary Election for governor were held today–and you HAD to choose a candidate–for whom would you vote?

Here are their responses:

Poll type: Automated - Date: 3/11/2014 - Participants: 1,235 Likely GOP Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.90%
 Bill BradyKirk DillardBruce RaunerDan Rutherford
ALL VOTERS18.90%25.76%46.46%8.88%
BY GENDER****************************
Female21.63%23.56%45.51%9.30%
Male15.33%28.63%47.71%8.33%

We’ll post some more crosstabs on this tomorrow morning.

Clearly, it would take an enormous shift in the political universe’s primordial ooze for anyone in the field to catch Bruce Rauner. The big chunk of cash unions spent against him on negative ads  may have had an effect on his long-term viability, but the Republican voting universe isn’t buying it.

We may take another look this race Sunday. But if we do, it will only be to see how close we can call it.

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Slow down, Buckaroos

Our friend Rich Miller of Capitol Fax fame wrote today about the nature of some past elections to take unforeseen swerves in the road. Since a number of people have contacted us about that very subject, and about whether our latest poll for the Illinois GOP governor’s race is “projectable” (meaning, can those results mathematically be manipulated to project the final outcome) we decided to post this analysis. The need to jump to conclusions should be avoided here, and we feel compelled present the following.

Can poll results be projected? Maybe, but slow down, Buckaroos. As Capitol Fax pointed out, Illinois has a history of producing big shifts of opinion in its collective political thinking—and it can happen quickly.

First, take a look at the chart below that plots our 2010 GOP tracking polls and then read the detail below it. (You can click on the chart to enlarge it.)

 2010

Note that the dark red line representing undecided votes stops on January 27th, 2010. After that we started asked our participants to make a choice with an undecided option.

In 2010, the Primary Election was held on February 2.  Republican Kirk Dillard led the field going into the final week before the Primary. But Andy McKenna had been pounding Dillard and Jim Ryan with a huge TV buy of negative ads for weeks and Dillard’s progress slowed. Finally, after untold negative ads slapping the Hinsdale State Senator around, Dillard finally dipped in the polls, as did Ryan.

At the same time, Bill Brady was largely ignored by the hoi polloi. His downstate ads were modest in rating points, but spoke directly to a Republican base that was clearly peering across the horizon to look for an answer. In racing terms, circumstances put Brady in an ideal position to “draft” behind the frontrunners until the final lap.

From Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, the dynamic changed dramatically. Brady caught Dillard at the end line with a photo finish. Our Election Eve poll captured that and we duly reported our results to an incredulous audience. The next day they were believers.

Can someone make those kinds of gains again? You bet they can, and—ironically—it may be Dillard who is best positioned to do so this time around. But the dynamic is very different now. Both Dillard and Brady are getting pounded on social media, online ads, radio and TV courtesy of Mr. Rauner. The fourth candidate—State Treasurer Dan Rutherford—is trailing at a distance. A hypothetical ten-point jump in the polls by Dillard simply wouldn’t get him close enough unless it was accompanied by a free fall by Rauner.

Unions

No one here is sloughing off union claims that they’re asking their members to pull Republican ballots and vote for Dillard. They may even have a fair amount of success with that program. The problem is the steep angle of the hill they’re trying to climb.

After we encouraged you to not project poll findings, we’re going to do just that. But we think you’ll understand why we’re ignoring our suggestion when you see the following.

Below is a chart showing what the final outcome of the Illinois GOP Primary race for governor would be based on our latest tracking poll. If you assume a modest 750,000 Republican voter turnout, the chart shows you how many votes those percentages would translate into for each candidate in the Primary. Finally, we show you how many votes it would take to catch Bruce Rauner.

Here’s the chart:

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 3.40.46 PM

So if nothing else changes, unions would have to find more than a quarter million voters who are willing to 1) pull a Republican ballot; and 2) vote for Kirk Dillard. Partisan voters often find it very difficult to pull an enemy ballot. Finding 250,000+ people to do so is a Herculean task.

Of course, monitoring that situation is relatively easy, and you can bet the We Ask America gnomes will keep their beady eyes on that, especially in Cook County.

With the dynamics involved, predicting the precise outcome of the Illinois GOP Primary for governor is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle in a hurricane.

But for now, Mr. Rauner’s likeness is still on the box.

 

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The Walking Dread

Democratic Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is a survivor. He has had his political obituary written a number of times in his career only to avoid the zombie apocalypse through incredible tenacity, hard work and a bit of luck. But Pat Quinn will face more than just a Republican opponent in the fall election; he has some Democratic family matters to confront. His role in pushing for public pension reforms was not exactly warmly received by state employees and retirees, and his continuous gadfly approach to governing takes its toll. But surely he can count on the full backing of his fellow Democrats when it’s crunch time, right?

Well, maybe. To see how welcome Gov. Quinn will be at the next family picnic, we asked 1,162 likely Democratic voters two questions. Here’s the first:

In general, do you approve or disapprove of the job Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is doing?

Here are the results to that question:

Poll type: Automated - Date: 3/4-5/2014 - Participants: 1,262 Likely Dem. Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.90%
Approve56.76%
Disapprove31.42%
Neutral11.83%

OK…nothing too surprising above. Not great, but OK. Then, we asked them this:

Do you agree, or disagree with the following statement? “I will probably vote to re-elect Pat Quinn as governor no matter who is running against him in the fall.”

Here are those results:

Agree49.63%
Disagree34.25%
Undecided16.11%

Whoa…a third of likely Democratic voters disagreed with a fairly mildly written re-elect question, and another 16% aren’t so sure. The crosstab below showing those responses to the re-elect question by LOCATION tells the story:

LocationAgreeDisagreeUndecided
Chicago53.34%26.26%20.40%
Suburban Cook57.91%29.86%12.23%
Collars51.57%34.35%14.08%
Downstate37.74%47.63%14.63%

 

Now, political families fight, but when push comes to shove they tend to stick together. Still, having a third of likely Democratic voters say they’re not sure they’ll vote for an incumbent governor is a swift kick in the patootie.

Will those miffed voters come back home in the fall? Probably. But depending on how deep voters’ walking dread goes, some may not vote at all and a handful may vote against Gov. Quinn because they’ve had it with his schtick. Still, it’s likely Quinn will face Bruce Rauner whose attacks on union bosses will make Quinn the lesser of two evils for some.

But Mr. Quinn may want to tend to a bit of family housekeeping sooner than later.

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