Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest 6/29/15… Is Tammy Duckworth’s 17-point lead just too good to be true?

Reposted from Daily Kos Elections by Jeff Singer

Tammy Duckworth, an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, jumps with the U.S. Army?s Golden Knights parachute team, February 2010. Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran who received a Purple Heart.  REUTERS/Handout/Courtesy of Tammy D

attribution: REUTERS
Illinois Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth

Leading Off: IL-Sen: What the what? Local pollster Ogden & Fry just released a new survey of Illinois’ Senate race, and they have Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth beating GOP Sen. Mark Kirk by a rub-your-eyes-and-look-again margin 44 to … 27! Now, that’s a lot of undecideds, and if both candidates were scoring in the 20s, we’d write this off as another useless poll of the sort that, say, Franklin & Marshall regularly churns out.

But Duckworth at 44 is quite plausible, at least in a vacuum; the only other poll of this matchup, from conservative pollster We Ask America, had her at 46 and Kirk at 45. That makes Kirk—the incumbent—taking just 27 in this latest poll downright shocking. Part of that low tally is because he’s barely known, with a job approval rating of 17 positive and 31 negative. That means more than half of respondents don’t even have an opinion of him, but seeing as Duckworth represents just a small fraction of the state while Kirk serves the whole thing, how could she possibly be anything but even lesser-known than he?

Now, whenever you see results like this, your skepticism should automatically dial up to 11. What’s more, Ogden & Fry is a new firm without much of a track record. They first surfaced with their frequent polls of Chicago’s mayoral race earlier this year, and while their final numbers were decent, they often did not offer respondents the option to say they were undecided. That’s generally not considered a good practice, but on the other hand, they’ve wound up with a ton of undecideds here, which of course, as we’ve noted, leads to its own set of interpretive problems.

This is a classic case of needing to see further polling, but even if they’re far off the fairway, there’s no way Mark Kirk can feel good about these numbers….


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26 thoughts on “Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest 6/29/15… Is Tammy Duckworth’s 17-point lead just too good to be true?”

  1. Just about every right-winger in the state (minus me of course) is going to say they are “undecided” on Kirk the way this poll works.

    The vast majority of those voters on the right will decide they eventually have to vote for the GOP nominee next year.

  2. She’s going to have to fight for the nomination. Many African-American Democrats feel they have the right to slate the nominee. She also has some ethical questions regarding former VA employees suing her for malicious behavior and there and she has ties to Blagojevich that will not be helpful.

    Certainly, she has a heroic backstory, but as somebody in the state, despite my partisanship, I will say that her political skills are seriously suspect and she would severely exposed on the issues and having to discuss them under a statewide spotlight.

    Kirk is no Joe Walsh on the issues. That’s the only person she has ever beaten, and majorly underperformed in doing so.

  3. Duckworth will get the nomination and will win. Not sure what the margin of victory will be.

  4. You also said Pat Quinn was going to win in 2014.

    We will see what happens. Mark Kirk has never lost an election and has beaten the political odds a few times.

  5. Yeah, and I also said that Harry Reid was going to lose his last race and I got that wrong too. I can see a scenario where Kirk wins but I would say it is unlikely.

  6. You were saying Democrats maintaining control of the Senate in 2014 was a done deal, so your perspective may be clouded.

  7. The last one was to james.

    As for Mark Kirk, I think it is far too early to say what is going to happen. Rauner being Governor, and the financial support that will be had from that, is going to be a big benefit to Kirk. The Senator had been counted out in 2000, 2006, 2008, and 2010 and he won every time.

  8. I don’t recall saying that, and I know I didn’t believe that as the election neared. I would not be surprised if I predicted Dems would retain control early on, but that is not how I felt as the election was approaching.

    You, on the other hand, were predicting a victory for Romney until the last day.

  9. james was the one who stubbornly insisted Democrats would keep the Senate, up until the end (just as he did for the House in 2010). Then, after they lost he said he was happy. I tried to clear up that I was referring to him.

    I predicted a far narrower victory for Romney than many professional pundits and political analysts did, and at the end I made it very clear that I sensed things had shifted in the final week and I was not overly optimistic.

  10. I stopped posting on this site around July of last year. At about that time I was quite sure that the Dems would lose seats, but I was less pessimistic than Jack – who turned out to be right.

  11. He, he, he….

    I thought the Dem’s get out the vote would get Davis the Governor of Texas…


    At least coimg up on the last weeks of October I accepted that the Dem’s would lose ….
    I STILL think it has actually helped the party and even Obama….
    Democrats need to get their shit together…
    They tend to NOT focus…
    And be PRACTICAL….

  12. I don’t agree that losing in 2014 helped the Democrats, but I do think that the GOP capturing the Senate ironically makes it less likely that they will capture the Presidency. Probably nothing more than a gut feeling, but I don’t think the country wants the GOP to simultaneously control the presidency, senate, house and Supreme Court.

  13. Of course this poll is very optimistic for Duckworth (who should have no problem getting the Democratic nomination), but one of the reasons for the strong lead over Kirk could be the Senator’s poor choice of words on many occasions in the last few months. Tough to appeal to women voters after you essentially call them all whores (whether he apologized or not).

  14. People will need to be comfortable that Kirk hasn’t suffered any brain damage, and they probably won’t give him the benefit of the doubt. Also, Kirk will have to defend some votes – like his opposition to Sotomayor.

  15. Kirk speaks more slowly now and obviously has physical limitations, but he has been interviewed many times and has spoken on many issues and he clearly does not have brain damage.

    I have had the thought that he seems to have not much of a filter on various things he says, but examples have been pointed out where that was the case before his stroke as well, in regards to statements that got him into trouble, that he was able to overcome. Since his voice sounds different though, people may look at it another way.

    The fact that Kirk was at the Chicago Gay Pride Parade yesterday will cause a lot of right-wingers to be very upset. I think he is going to have low poll numbers through the primary at least because so many conservatives want to dump him or are talking about how he is basically a Democrat and they want him to lose.

    If they go third party or stay home in large numbers, that would obviously be a big political problem, but I believe most of those people will eventually choose to hold their nose and vote to keep a Republican Senator.

  16. Looking at the time frame, Sotomayor joined the Supreme Court in 2009, before Mark Kirk was in the Senate, so he obviously did not vote on that. If he expressed opposition to her confirmation, it was already a part of the 2010 Senate campaign that he won.

    Kirk expressed support for the Elena Kagan confirmation, also before he was in the Senate, and as a Senator voted to confirm Lorretta Lynch as Attorney Genereal.

    He’s a very moderate Republican on social issues. For those who like to split their tickets, he’s close to a perfect Republican to vote for, which is why he has won so many times in a very tough district, and once statewide. One of the issues that has been talked about over the past couple of weeks was his strong support for the trade bills that Zreebs is for and how Duckworth voted against them.

  17. “Hold their noses?” There won’t be enough noses to go around next year. Getting late here in California. Off to bed.

  18. I don’t know how much of Kirk’s brain was affected by the stroke – maybe it was only that part which affects his speech, but I suspect that time will tell. I haven’t been following him closely, but from the outside looking in, he sure seems to be taking a low profile.

    The primary to replace Duckworth in my district is getting interesting. I have no idea who to support at this time. To the best of my knowledge, there is no Republican running – which is strange because it is winnable for a strong GOP candidate.

  19. It’s my District as well and I do not think it would be winnable for a Republican. There is one GOP candidate who is planning to run, but I expect somebody slightly more credible to get in.

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