600 voting age Illinois residents were polled by Crains/Ipsos and the results were about what you would expect. President Obama is the top choice with 55%, Romney with 29% and 16% saying they are either undecided or do not plan on voting.
The poll has a margin or error of 4.7% overall and that number is higher in individual sub-groups.
This is not a particularly useful poll since it measured voting age adults, rather than registered voters who are likely to vote. Thus, the numbers themselves are not as important as the margin of Obama's lead. It suggests that Illinois will not be even remotely competitive for Mitt Romney and of course this leads to concerns about Republican candidates for Congress across the state.
There are a couple of details in this poll worth noting:
1) Despite being the home state candidate who earned 62% of Illinois votes in 2008, Obama's gets a mere 55% of support in this poll. I would've expected something closer to 60 or 65%. It would seem to confirm the theory that voter enthusiasm for Obama has declined significantly even in his home state.
2) 16% of voters are either undecided or choosing to sit out the election. The poll does not detail the pure number of those sitting the race out, but in Illinois those sitting out this election are likely Democrat leaning voters. Republicans nationwide are enthusiastic about firing President Obama so their turnout is expected to be strong. Democrats are the ones struggling with voter enthusiasm. A lower than average turnout in Illinois, will definitely result in a narrower Obama win in Illinois in November.
3) Romney's 29% of support is a very poor showing. As a Republican, you would want to see 30%+ in a poll like this and 35%+ would be a glimmer of hope for Congressional candidate counting on some support from the top of the ticket.
4) Romney is polling at 16% in Chicago in this poll and that is only 4 points away from the target that the state GOP would set for this election. Romney is pretty much guaranteed 14% of the Chicago vote based on historical analysis but 17% is a reasonable expectation and 20% would be over-performing.
5) There is not much detail in the poll about suburban and downstate numbers, but we know the President is well short of majority support there. Those numbers are very important for vulnerable GOP Congressmen, most of whom are running in suburban Chicago.
What does all this mean?
Reasonable Illinois politicos are anticipating a 12 - 15 point Obama win in November. Turnout will be the key to Obama's margin of victory. It will also make a big difference in tight congressional races.
Without any other major offices on the November ballot and a lag in Obama enthusiasm, Illinois turnout is expected to be lower than 2008, especially among Democrats.
If there is a national landslide for Romney, Obama's Illinois margin may come down to single digits. If Obama runs the table, his margin could top 20%.
Either way, the latest poll confirms that Illinois is no Presidential battleground.
It is still a major Congressional battleground. Thus, you won't see a lot of mail or TV ads from the Chicago President or the Massachusetts businessman. However, you can expect to see a whole boatload of campaign messaging from Robert Dold, Joe Walsh, Judy Biggert, Brad Schneider, Tammy Duckworth and Bill Foster.
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