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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