Detroit aftermath

After saying in 2011 that Detroit bankruptcy wasn’t the option, the recent decision by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to allow the City of Detroit to file for Chapter 9 default protection produced the usual array of politically motivated responses. Opponents screamed about his flip-flop, while supporters insisted that the CPA-trained governor simply had explored every other possibility before making the decision. Beyond Michigan’s borders, many are watching how the dramatic aftermath plays out; will this be a sad– but isolated–incident, or will it be a harbinger for other units of government that are drowning in red ink?

Clearly, key to the debate is the ultimate decision about the pension benefits of city workers. Detroit is hardly alone in having horribly underfunded pensions for public workers. At risk is the financial future of thousands, and the eyes of the nation’s government and public-union leaders will be fixed on the drama that will certainly unfold in the near future.

On the evenings of July 23-24, we called Michigan residents to determine, among other things, their views on these questions:


 As you probably know, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently decided to go along with the decision to declare Detroit bankrupt. We’d like to know whether you generally APPROVE or DISAPPROVE of that decision.

      • Approve
      • Disapprove
      • Undecided

Does Gov. Snyder’s decision make you MORE LIKELY or LESS LIKELY to support him in next year’s election?

      • More likely
      • Less likely
      • Undecided

Detroit’s bankruptcy could possibly lead to a reduction of city workers’ retirement benefits in the future.  We’d like to know which of the following statements comes closest to your view on the situation.

      • It’s unfortunate, but necessary to cut retirement benefit due to the financial situation.
      • There is no excuse to cut any benefits.
      • Benefits should have been cut even without bankruptcy.
      • None of these

To provide some context, we asked each participant whether or not their household included a public or private-sector union member, and we derived from our calling list if the participant lived in Detroit or not.

Here are the basic weighted poll results:

Poll type: Automated - Date: July 23-24, 2013 - Participants: 1,338 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.9%

Approve or Disapprove of Bankruptcy
Approve55%
Disapprove33%
Not Sure12%
More or Less Likely to support Gov. Snyder in 2014
More Likely41%
Less Likely42%
Not Sure17%
Bankruptcy Opinion
Unfortunate but Necessary29%
No Excuse39%
Cuts without Bankruptcy15%
None of These17%
CROSSTABS
Approve Bankruptcy by GENDER
ApproveDisapproveNot Sure
Female47%40%14%
Male65%25%10%
Approve Bankruptcy by PARTY AFFILIATION
ApproveDisapproveNot Sure
Republican73%16%10%
Democrat39%48%13%
Independent56%31%13%
Approve Bankruptcy by AGE BRACKET
ApproveDisapproveUndecided
18-2459%5%36%
25-3452%41%7%
35-4454%40%7%
45-5456%33%10%
55-6455%36%9%
65+54%30%17%
Approve Bankruptcy by ETHNIC ORIGIN
ApproveDisapproveNot Sure
African American46%44%10%
Asian62%12%25%
Hispanic33%36%31%
White57%31%12%
Other/Refused
Approve Bankruptcy by UNION HOUSEHOLD
ApproveDisapproveNot Sure
Public Sector49%39%12%
Non-Public Sector47%45%8%
No Union60%26%14%
Approve Bankruptcy by LOCATION
ApproveDisapproveNot Sure
Detroit20%65%15%
Rest of State58%30%12%

The results were weighted to adjust for any over-/under-sampling through our proprietary 65 different fields of criteria.

We’ll post the full set of data with other crosstabs soon.

The most interesting result to us was the comparison of those who favored the governor’s decision to proceed with bankruptcy (55%) to those who say it will make them more likely or less likely to support him in future elections (split decision 41% more likely, 42% less likely).  As the twists and turns of the upcoming proceedings unwind, those numbers are bound to change.

And we’re bound to be watching.

 

Treading Water

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker has been a lighting rod since first being elected in 2010. Walker’s take-no-prisoner persona early in his first term exacerbated the polarizing reforms he promoted and muscled through the state legislature. The subsequent highly charged political atmosphere led to a hard-fought recall election which Walker won handily.  In speeches, Walker continues to  somewhat rue his role in the rhetoric that dominated the period and has become a sought-after speaker for pro-smaller government and business groups around the country. In a recent event in Illinois where Walker was the keynote speaker, the crowd — which was made up of business types who are accustomed to oceans of state government red ink — literally gasped when Walker touted turning Wisconsin’s big deficit into a tidy surplus.

But everyone likes other states’ leaders, and Walker isn’t traveling the nation to talk about the things that aren’t working so well for the state. His opponent will cherry pick statistics that paint a gloomy picture of Wisconsin (for example, employment numbers aren’t great), but Walker’s successes are viewed by many as genuine and he’s good at projecting the glass as half full.

Clearly, the effect of Walker’s reforms and accomplishments will not be fully measured before next year’s election. With Wisconsin’s economy viewed as “treading water” and the discontent from last year’s political wars still fresh in the minds of voters, how will the public view Scott Walker now?

As with all governors in this series of polls, we asked likely Wisconsin voters a straightforward and simply worded question: “Do you approve or disapprove of the job Governor Scott Walker is doing?”

Here are the results:


Poll type: Automated - Date: May 8-9, 2013 - Participants: 1,081 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 3.1%
 ApproveDisapproveNeutral/Uncertain
43.50%53.91%2.59%
BY GENDER************
Female41.42%56.39%2.19%
Male47.31%48.71%3.97%
BY PARTY ID************
Republicans86.88%12.41%0.70%
Democrats9.00%88.00%3.00%
Independents40.46%55.27%4.28%

As we pointed out in yesterday’s initial poll in in this series, these approval ratings are probably as much a measure of voters’ opinion of state government as a guide to re-electability. Gov. Walker’s overall approval rating now is nearly identical to what we saw in July, 2011 although he seems to have lost some mojo among Independents. Yet, Walker survived a nasty recall attempt and has lived to see some positive results from his efforts. Assuming he runs again, he’ll face a Democratic opponent who won’t have President Obama leading the ticket. Still, many Wisconsin voters continue to carry the scars of the uncivil war that broke out after Walker’s ramrod approach to his reforms blew up.

We believe that–once again–Wisconsin will be among the most politically interesting states to watch in 2014.

 

 

Struggling

We Ask America Polls™ kicks off our 2013 public poll offering with a series of surveys focusing on governors who will be up for re-election next year. It’s important to note that this series of polls asks only one main question: Do you approve or disapprove of the job [governor’s name] is doing? To be fair, governors are often viewed by the public as the main symbol of state government, and these polls do not measure or predict how well a particular politician will do against any given opponent. The proof of that may be found in our first offering in our home state of Illinois: Democrat Pat Quinn.

We’ve profiled Gov. Quinn before (Tenacious Gadfly), and not much has changed since then. Illinois continues to struggle under oppressive ($100 billion) public pension debt and multi-billion dollar budget deficits despite a sizable “temporary” state income tax now pumping more into state coffers. Quinn is often portrayed in press and the political blogosphere in terms of being hapless–not a great portrait for someone seeking re-election in tough times. Indeed, rumors continue to swirl of the possibility of fellow Democrats trying to take him out in next year’s Primary. But political coroners have tagged Quinn’s toe a number of times in the past only to be confounded. Will that be the case in 2014? Perhaps, but these approval numbers simply cannot be dismissed easily:


Poll type: Automated - Date: May 8, 2013 - Participants: 1,057 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 3.1%
 ApproveDisapproveNeutral/No opinion
ALL VOTERS27.98%61.69%10.33%
BY GENDER************
Women28.09%59.64%12.27%
Men27.83%64.68%7.49%
BY PARTY ID************
Repubicans11.01%83.82%5.17%
Democrats47.55%38.05%14.39%
Independents15.43%75.74%8.82%
BY LOCATION************
Chicago44.34%41.48%14.18%
Suburban Cook36.26%51.68%12.06%
Collars23.76%67.14%9.09%
Downstate15.39%76.96%7.65%

It’s problematic for Gov. Quinn that support among Independent voters continues to erode for him. Again, let’s be clear that these approval numbers can’t be viewed as a predictor of doom. Quinn’s dismal approval rating didn’t stop him from winning in 2010.

But we’re sure that some will look at these results and assume that Quinn can best be described as the Walking Dead.


Next up: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).

Wrap up

We wrap up this season’s polling with a synopsis of our final polls compared to the actual outcome. Despite all the really interesting emails and comments we received along the way, We Ask America’s final regional polling of our Big Ten States came within the margin of error of the final results. Our Senate poll in Missouri failed to pick up the big margin Claire McCaskill would enjoy, and we had the wrong guy on top in the Virginia Senate race–although within the margin of error. And we really nailed the Illinois presidential race–but that’s our home base so we should know the Land of Lincoln fairly well. Following are the final results in those key states rounded to the nearest whole number followed by final poll results in each. We only included states where we polled in the final week, and put Nebraska senate results in as well since we polled that late.  Assume the margin of error in each poll was about ±3%, and remember that rounding to the nearest whole number can produce a result that doesn’t equal 100 percent:

PollCandidatesElection ResultsFinal Poll
ILObama57%57%
Romney41%41%
3rd Party2%2%
* * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * *
COObama51%50%
Romney47%47%
3rd Party2%3%
* * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * *
FLObama50%49%
Romney49%50%
3rd Party1%1%
* * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * *
IAObama52%49%
Romney47%47%
3rd Party1%4%
* * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * *
MOObama44%42%
Romney54%54%
3rd Party2%4%
* * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * *
OHObama50%50%
Romney48%46%
3rd Party2%4%
* * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * *
VAObama51%49%
Romney48%48%
3rd Party1%4%
* * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * *
WIObama53%52%
Romney46%45%
3rd Party1%3%
* * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * *
VA - SenateKaine52%50%
Allen48%50%
* * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * *
WI - SenateBaldwin51%49%
Thompson46%46%
3rd Party3%5%
* * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * *
MO - SenateMcCaskill55%49%
Akin39%45%
3rd Party6%6%
* * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * * *
NE - SenateFischer58%59%*
Kerrey42%41%*

*Note that we allowed “undecided” as an option in the Nebraska poll at the request of a reader, so the Nebraska Senate results above are extrapolated from those poll participants who chose a candidate. The original results can be found here. We dove into that race since there were some remarkably wrong polls being pumped into the mainstream media and we were the only pollster to get the GOP Primary correct (not that there was a lot of competition).

When we released our final Ohio and Wisconsin polls we received an onslaught of nasty-grams from the tin-foil hat bunch who took those results as proof-positive that we were part of the national polling conspiracy. Oddly, we haven’t heard back from them since the election.

We Ask America plans to go national soon (its easier than changing our name to We Ask Parts of America), and have really enjoyed the comments, critiques, suggestions and rants that you’ve been kind or angry enough to share. Continue to watch for us to run public polls on national and state-specific issues.

But for now…sleep!

 

 

Hot off the presses-2

We’ve just wrapped up our weighting on three important polls–Wisconsin, Virginia and Ohio–and want to push the top-lines out to you as quickly as possible. All of these polls were conducted from Oct.30-Nov. 1 through automated means. The responses came from likely voters, and the results have been weighted to correct for over-/under-sampling.  We took great care in Ohio and Virginia to make sure we had adequate coverage of regions that are afflicted by Hurricane Sandy outages, and now feel we have the right mix of voters. If and when time permits, we’ll provide background numbers for you, but our data integrity chief has given a thumbs up so we’re pushing them out the door.

STATEResponsesMoE ±Barack ObamaMitt Romney3rd Party
Wisconsin1,2103%51.5%44.8%3.7%
Virginia1,0693.0%48.5%47.6%3.9%
Ohio1,6492.6%50.2%45.8%4.0%

In addition to the presidential numbers in Wisconsin and Virginia, we polled the races for U.S. Senate. In Wisconsin, Democrat Tammy Baldwin is leading Republican Tommy Thompson 48.5% to 46.3% with 5.2% going to third-party candidates–a real tightening in this contentious race. You may remember that Thompson trailed in his primary until close to the end and pulled out a come-from-behind victory. Deja vue? We’ll see.

In a more controversial vein, we stubbornly continue to be contrarians in the Virginia Senate race where we find Republican George Allen with a tight 50.4 to 49.6 lead over Democrat Tim Kaine. Unlike those polls that show a similar Dem/GOP/Ind mix that resembles Virginia’s 2008 results, we’re seeing closer to a 33/33/34 response.

Back to the salt mines…

Nebraska

A number of readers have been asking us to poll the Nebraska Senate race featuring Democrat former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey and Republican Deb Fischer since we had some success there in the surprise Republican primary win by Fischer. Kerrey has moved toward the center in his effort to keep retiring Senator Ben Nelson’s seat in the hands of Democrats, but has faced an uphill battle in a state where Mitt Romney has a double-digit lead over Barack Obama.  He’s made some hay by trying to exploit a land dispute Fischer had years ago with a neighboring ranch, but may have gone over the top by claiming Fischer was trying somehow to grab property that didn’t belong to her. Still, Kerrey is a skilled communicator and Fischer has yet to be tested in a statewide arena, so we thought we’d check to see if those claiming the race was tightening are correct.

We do not believe they are:

Poll type: Automated Date: November 1, 2012 - Participants: 1,178 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.95%
 Deb Fischer (R)Bob Kerrey (D)Undecided
ALL VOTERS53.6%41.2%5.2%
DEM only18%79%3%
GOP only85%12%3%
IND only48%42%10%

As in all of our polls, these results have been weighted to normalize and over-/under-sampling in key demographic and geographic areas. In the same poll, we asked likely voters their choice for president; the results were Obama 41%; Romney 54%; Generic 3rd Party 2%; Undecided 3%--so Fischer seems to be mirroring the state’s political mood.

Absent some major political explosion, it appears that the improbable winner of the Republican Primary will find herself a member of the world’s most exclusive club.

Hot off the presses

Today we begin our last public polls of the season with numbers from Colorado, Florida, Iowa, and Missouri. These were going to get released tomorrow, but we’re getting a lot of folks urging us to at least release top-lines, so we’re happy to oblige.  We’ll try to get more details out soon to allow our propeller-head followers a chance to dig into the numbers, but the weather-related problems back east are playing havoc with our schedules.

All of these polls were conducted the evening of October 30 through automated polling methods. All results are weighted to correct for under-/over-sampling in a number of demographic categories. And our last rounds of polls force a decision from our participants…no “undecided” answers are allowed. This allows us to get a better idea where the handful of stragglers really stand.

STATEResponsesMoE ±Barack ObamaMitt Romney3rd Party
Colorado1,2462.9%50.1%46.7%3.2%
Florida1,1463.0%48.9%49.8%1.3%
Iowa1,1743.0%48.8%47.3%3.9%
Missouri1,2172.9%42.2%53.8%4.0%

In addition, we polled the Missouri Senate race where we found Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill up 48.6% to Republican Todd Akin’s 45.2% (Libertarian Jonathan Dine received an important 6.2% as well.)

More soon.

Favorite Son

There’s been a surprising amount of conjecture coming our way lately about the possibility of Mitt Romney inching closer to Barack Obama in Illinois. We’ve not paid much attention that that conjecture until it started to be uttered in some national circles and a handful of reporters we respect called to ask if there was anything to it.

There isn’t.

We polled 1,198 Illinois likely voters last night. Following are the weighted head-to-head results and a regional breakdown:

Poll type: Automated Date: October 30, 2012 - Participants: 1,198 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.95%
 Barack ObamaMitt Romney3rd Party
ALL VOTERS57%41%2%
Chicago82%16%2%
Sub. Cook66%31%3%
Collar Counties44%55%1%
Downstate46%51%3%

For those of you uninitiated in the Illinois political scene — outside of following the hijinks of our politicians in Popular Prison Monthly — Chicago and Suburban Cook County each account for about 20% of the vote in the Land of Lincoln. No matter how well Romney does in the five suburban “collar counties” or downstate (the rest of Illinois outside of Chicago, Suburban Cook & the Collars), the huge hunk of burning love that his home base provides the president simply cannot be toppled. Some of our projections include turnout scenarios that put Romney as close as 10 points from the lead, but there is no way that Chicagoland is going to abandon it’s Favorite Son.

End in Sight

We begin our home stretch with a series of polls conducted in the six targeted congressional districts in Illinois. As we previously reported, redistricting in the Land of Lincoln was totally controlled by Democrats. Last night, we conducted our final public polls in those six districts where we find some remarkably competitive races despite President Obama’s lead.

Illinois 8 – Democrat Tammy Duckworth vs. Republican incumbent Joe Walsh

As we’ve profiled before, this race pits Duckworth, a disabled Iraqi war veteran, against Tea Party favorite Joe Walsh. While Duckworth hasn’t proven to be a great candidate, she has a distinct advantage in this re-drawn district by running against a guy who seems to enjoy being a lightning rod for controversy. Walsh surprised many by keeping this race competitive as long as he did, but Duckworth’s campaign has taken advantage of Walsh’s without-exception pro-life views while whacking him for not paying child support. That one-two punch seems to have pushed Walsh over the edge where he now may be in a free fall:

Poll type: Automated Date: October 28, 2012 - Participants: 1,010 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 3.1%
 Tammy DuckworthJoe Walsh
ALL VOTERS54.6%45.4%
Republicans19%81%
Democrats90%10%
Independents52%48%

Whether it gets worse for Mr. Walsh before Election Day is anyone’s guess, but Tammy Duckworth now appears to be in line for a win on November 6.

 

Illinois 10 – Democrat Brad Schneider vs. Republican incumbent Bob Dold

This affluent congressional district has always been one to ignore Party labels. Challenger Schneider’s campaign never seemed to understand that and is trying to portray pro-choice Bob Dold as a right-wing nut to a very well-informed electorate. While missing that target, Schneider has also stumbled a bit about the reality of his business experience. Questions about his resumé are being tied into his refusal to release his income tax records. Still, this district is strongly pro-Obama enough that Dold finds it hard to pull away outside of the margin of error:

Poll type: Automated Date: October 28, 2012 - Participants: 1,257 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.8%
 Brad SchneiderBob Dold
ALL VOTERS46.4%53.6%
Republicans15%85%
Democrats84%16%
Independents42%58%

The core of the new IL-10 helped elect Barack Obama in 2008 but also gave the nod to Republican Congressman (now U.S. Senator) Mark Kirk), so the edging ahead by Dold seems to fit the profile. Plus, among the most likely voters (those who voted in 2008 & 2010), Dold enjoys a ten-point lead.

 

Illinois 11  –  Democrat Bill Foster vs. Republican incumbent Judy Biggert

The new 11th District leans slightly Democratic and is not a great fit for either candidate here. Foster was a one-term congressman who was defeated in 2010, while Biggert has has a long career in both the Illinois General Assembly and Congress. Neither are particularly strong campaigners, but each have lots of campaign and outside money flowing. Foster’s vote for Obamacare has not been universally accepted in this area, and Biggert’s long career made it easy for her opponent to cherry pick past votes that could be splashed in direct mail and on TV. Like other area Democrats, Foster’s campaign has tried to paint pro-choice Biggert as an extremist. Unlike IL-10, though, much of the 11th District is new to both candidates. Here are last night’s results including the GENDER breakouts because that what seems to be a driving force here:

Poll type: Automated Date: October 28, 2012 - Participants: 1,303 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.7%
 Judy Biggert (R)Bill Foster (D)
ALL VOTERS 49.6% 50.4%
Females50%50%
Males48%50%

This race has swung back and forth in the polls for the past few months. Two weeks ago we may have guessed that Foster was poised for a breakout, but Biggert has fought back and this one is now a real horse race.

 

Illinois 12 – Republican Jason Plummer vs Democrat Bill Enyart vs Green Party’s Paula Bradshaw

Illinois 12 encompasses a large part of southwest Illinois and has elected conservative Democrats since the original lungfish crawled out of the ocean. Still, Barack Obama is not particularly popular here, and Republican candidate Jason Plummer hoped to be able to parlay his family’s well-know lumber business and 6-foot 8-inch frame into a winning effort. Many thought he was well on his way, but a series of post-primary moves by the Democrats have put Plummer on an uphill climb against his main competitor, former Adjutant General Bill Enyart.

Poll type: Automated Date: October 28, 2012 - Participants: 1,313 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.7%
 Bill Enyart (D)Jason Plummer (R)Paula Bradshaw (G) 
ALL VOTERS 50.6% 45.6% 3.8%
Republicans16%81%3%
Democrats86%11%3%
Independents37%57%6%

[NOTE: A reader caught that we had transposed the Plummer/Enyart Independent numbers in our original post. It has been corrected and the following narrative remains correct. We apologize for the error.] While Plummer has a 20 point lead among Independents, the 37/27 advantage Democrats have in IL-12 coupled with Enyart’s better numbers among his own party melt that Independent advantage away.  We’re not ready to say Enyart is breaking out from the pack, though. Examining the results from only those who voted in 2008 and 2010 (the most likely) gives Enyart a razor-thin lead that could be evaporated based on turnout. But this is a very tough district for any Republican.

 

Illinois 13  –  Republican Rodney Davis vs Democrat David Gill vs Independent John Hartman

While IL-13 leans slightly Democratic, the core of this newly configured district has chosen the opponent of Democrat David Gill in the last three congressional elections. It’s difficult to overcome that record, and Gill’s platform may prove to be a bit further to the left than the downstate area can accept. Republican Rodney Davis came into the race late and had to claw and scratch his way into the name recognition game, but it appears to be working. He recently received the endorsements of three top area newspapers which didn’t hurt matters.

Poll type: Automated Date: October 28, 2012 - Participants: 1,360 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.7%
 David Gill (D)Rodney Davis (R)John Hartman (I)
ALL VOTERS 45.1% 50.2% 3.9%
Republicans10%85%5%
Democrats84%12%4%
Independents38%55%6%

Independent John Hartman continues to earn some respect, but Davis may be a more comfortable fit in an area that tends to be moderately conservative.

 

Illinois 17 – Republican incumbent Bobby Schilling vs. Democrat Cheri Bustos

We consider this one a dead heat. Schilling and Bustos change leads every other poll (we’ve done several there in the past 14 days, the last one had Bustos up by nearly 3 points) and it’s averages out as a simple 50-50 split. While heavily Democratic, this area has a blue-collar and somewhat conservative lean to it. Incumbent Congressman Schilling fills the “one-of-us” role well as a pizza restaurant owner who is both unpretentious and affable. But Schilling leans farther to the right than the district as a whole. Still, he’s found a strident-free way of communicating with constituents. Bustos, who was previously a news reporter and East Moline alderwoman, came to the race as a camera-ready fresh face with a solid political pedigree that hasn’t disappointed although her stance on issues remains a tad nebulous. Both work hard and both leave favorable impressions.

Poll type: Automated Date: October 28, 2012 - Participants: 1,325 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 2.8%
 Bobby Schilling (R)Cheri Bustos (D)
ALL VOTERS 52.0% 48.0%
Republicans89%11%
Democrats16%84%
Independents58%42%

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, this one should come into election day as a pick ’em race.

 

Safe at Home

Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. has been traveling down a bumpy road the last few years. His still-unresolved connection to an alleged 2008 scheme by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to sell or trade the appointment of a U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the election of Barack Obama as president resulted in a ongoing congressional ethics committee probe. That was closely followed by some sordid accusations about his private life–a tough one-two punch in the gut for most politicians. His ongoing negative press combined with the newly redrawn district made some Democrats believe that Jackson could be vulnerable in the Primary, and he was indeed challenged by former U.S. Representative Debbie Halvorson. That effort flopped, and Jackson appeared ready to cruise to an easy November win.

Then, Jackson disappeared amidst vague reports of hospitalization for an undisclosed ailment at an undisclosed location. Chicago-area reporters and radio talk show pundits had a field day playing “Where’s Jesse?” until it was finally announced that Jackson was been receiving treatments for a bi-polar disorder at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. While that could’ve settled matters for the time being, Jackson’s complex situation encouraged many to take a “wait for it…” approach. Then, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Jackson was being investigated by federal authorities for the possible misuse of campaign funds to decorate his home. And federal authorities confirmed that the probe was initiated before Congressman Jackson sought treatment.

While Jackson’s district is solidly Democratic and few questioned whether he would be re-elected, a number of readers–including a few reporters–have asked us to poll this area, apparently believing that Jackson’s problems would certainly have to translate into a disgruntled electorate. So, we asked 819 likely voters in Illinois’ Second Congressional District two basic questions plus a string of demographic-based inquiries. First, here are the weighted results to a straight head-to-head question about their choice for congressman. As with all our polls this late in election season, we force participants to make a choice–no “undecideds.” And remember that rounding to whole numbers can cause a total to not add up to 100 percent.

Poll type: Automated Date: October 21, 2012 - Participants: 819 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 3.5%
 Jesse Jackson Jr. (D)Brian Woodworth (R)Marcus Lucas (I)
ALL VOTERS58%27%15%
WOMEN ONLY65%21%13%
MEN ONLY49%35%16%
AFRICAN AM.ONLY81%8%11%
ASIANS ONLY71%21%8%
HISPANIC ONLY40%33%27%
WHITE ONLY32%54%14%

Then we asked the poll participants this question: Do you AGREE or DISAGREE with this statement: “I am happy with the congressional candidates on the ballot. I do not wish someone else was running instead.” Here’s what they said about that:

 AGREEDISAGREE
ALL VOTERS55%45%
WOMEN ONLY59%41%
MEN ONLY50%50%
AFRICAN AM.ONLY69%31%
ASIANS ONLY57%43%
HISPANIC ONLY50%50%
WHITE ONLY43%57%

Clearly, Jackson enjoys the support of the voters he represents, and perhaps its time for those who continue to express incredulity to get over it. Jesse Jackson Jr. is safe at home.