October 04, 2016

Simon Poll: Clinton, Duckworth hold leads in Illinois

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- 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 Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

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 Sept. 27 and ending on Oct. 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:

  • Republican U.S. Sen. 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.
  • Democratic Illinois 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 are not 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 by 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,” John Jackson, one of the designers of the poll and a visiting professor at the institute, said. “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 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 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.

The pattern holds in the comptroller contest:  Mendoza is leading in 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, institute director, 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, Rauner, Madigan, and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton.  The poll asked whether the respondents approved or disapproved of the job each was doing.

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 Chicago, where his disapproval outnumbers starkly overtake his approval (62 percent to 34 percent). 

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 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 Madigan’s tenure with 73 percent disapproving and 20 percent approving. 

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

Poll results are available here.

For more results, contact Yepsen at 618/453-4003 or Jackson at 618/453-3106.

The margin of error for the entire sample of 1,000 voters is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The margin of error for likely voters is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. This means that if we conducted the survey 100 times, in 95 of those instances, the population proportion would be within plus or minus the reported margin for error for each subsample. For subsamples, the margin of error increases as the sample size goes down. The margin of error was not adjusted for design effects.

Live telephone interviews were conducted by Customer Research International of San Marcos, Texas, using the random digit dialing method. The telephone sample was provided to Customer Research International by Scientific Telephone Samples. Potential interviewees were screened based on whether they were registered voters and quotas based on area code and sex (<60 percent female). Interviewers asked to speak to the youngest registered voter at home at the time of the call. Cell phone interviews accounted for 60 percent of the sample. A Spanish language version of the questionnaire and a Spanish-speaking interviewer were made available.

Field work was conducted from Sept. 27 to Oct.  2. No auto-dial or “robo” polling is included. Customer Research International reports no Illinois political clients. The survey was paid for with non-tax dollars from the institute’s endowment fund. The data were not weighted in any way. Crosstabs for the referenced questions will be on the institute’s polling website, http://paulsimoninstitute.siu.edu/opinion-polls/index.php

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is a member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research’s (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative. AAPOR works to encourage objective survey standards for practice and disclosure. Membership in the Transparency Initiative reflects a pledge to practice transparency in reporting survey-based findings. 

Simon Institute polling data are archived by four academic institutions for use by scholars and the public. The four open source data repositories are: the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research (http://ropercenter.cornell.edu/polls/), the University of Michigan’s Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (http://home.isr.umich.edu/centers/icpsr/), the University of North Carolina’s Odum Institute Dataverse Network (https://dataverse.unc.edu/), and the Simon Institute Collection at OpenSIUC (http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/ppi/). 

Note: The “Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Poll,” the “Simon Poll” and the “Southern Illinois Poll” are the copyrighted trademarks of the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University. Use and publication of these polls is encouraged -- but only with credit to the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU Carbondale.