Home Sweet Home

Independence Day marks the beginning of a new season for the polling trolls at We Ask America, and we begin with a statewide approval poll on President Barack Obama in his home state (and ours), Illinois. Around here, any approval poll of the president has as it’s main focus one primary target: understanding the effect the presidential election could have on the new congressional districts.

Illinois’ congressional redistricting results this year have raised more than a few eyebrows among political pundits. Depending which side you’re on, it is either a work of art…or a splenectomy without anesthesia.

The Land of Lincoln lost one seat (from 19 members down to 18) in reapportionment, and Republicans currently hold an 11-8 edge. They had great success last year in defeating fairly weak Blue Dogs, but also won victories in the 8th District (Republican Joe Walsh was victorious in a squeaker over Democrat Melissa Bean), and in the 17th (Bobby Schilling soundly beat Democrat Phil Hare). But Democrats hold every high trump card in Illinois’ redistricting game, so if the new map stands, the mix will undoubtedly change. (Rather than going into great detail about the new map, I urge you to read Sean Trende’s excellent article in Real Clear Politics HERE.)

Republicans, who quickly raised the cash for a legal challenge to the remap (still unresolved), must also contend with the fact that Illinois’ native son will once again be on the ballot–leading many to fear the worse. However, lingering unemployment, a stagnant (at best) economy, and high gas prices have a habit of eroding a president’s popularity, even in his home state. Right?

We asked 1,272 Illinois voters how they thought President Obama was doing with this simple question:

[box] In general, do you APPROVE or DISAPPROVE of the job Barack Obama is doing as president?[/box]

Here’s how they responded:

Type of Poll: Automated
Date of Poll: 7/5/2011
Participants: 1,272 Illinois voters
Margin of Error: ±2.75%
STATEWIDE APPROVE/DISAPPROVE 
Approve55%
Disapprove43%
Uncertain2%

Here are the crosstabs:

[box type=”info”] For those unfamiliar with Illinois, Chicago and Suburban Cook County comprise about 40% of the voting public, with the “Collar Counties”  (DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Will) and Downstate comprising the remaining 60 percent.[/box]

CROSSTABS BY GENDER:APPROVEDISAPPROVEUNCERTAIN
Female58%39%3%
Male51%48%2%
CROSSTABS BY PARTY ID:
Republican24%74%2%
Democrat81%16%2%
Independent47%50%3%
CROSSTABS BY REGION:
Chicago84%14%2%
Sub. Cook61%36%2%
Collars45%53%2%
Downstate44%54%2%

These numbers can undoubted be interpreted by whichever ideological spin is applied. Democrats will see that the President remains hugely popular in his native Chicago, while GOPers will point to his fading popularity in areas where he upset the apple cart in 2008…particularly in the Collar Counties. And there’s lots of time for the economy to improve…or go down hill.

But for now, President Obama has to be looking back to Chicago as Home, Sweet Home.

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