Friday, October 07, 2005

Democrat-Financed Poll Tries to Catalyze Anti-Kirk Acrimony

Clockwise from right:Barry Bradford, Jay Footlik, and Zane Smith.

   The numbers in this poll, done at the bequest of the 10th district Democrats by Penn, Schoen, and Berland, have no credibility whatsoever. It makes absolutely no pretenses at objectivity. There is even a tabulation for "[those who profess to support him]After Anti-Kirk Messages." The "anti Kirk" messages read something like this:
   Kirk is going to put a nuclear power plant in Highland Park, eliminate Medicaid, and invade Venezuala, and voted to create tax credits for the purchase of AK-47s.
   The "candidate profiles" of the Dems, on the other hadn, read something like this:
   Smith, Footlik, and Bradford wake up in the morning and save people from burning buildings. When they aren't teaching in inner city schools, that is. None of them have ever had parking tickets.
   Also, two of the candidates(i.e. Barry Bradford and Jay Footlik) about whom they asked aren't even running. I think that the media should recognize it for what it is: a Democratic push poll designed to rally the troops in a district that is suffering from some serious liberal lackadasicality because of Kirk's strength and ability to garner crossover support. It's also a poor attempt to get "Mr. Brown" Smith's moribund campaign off life support. (In an interview with Northshore pundit Jeff Berkowitz, Smith repeatedly referred to SCOTUS nominee John Roberts as "Brown...Mr. Brown.")
   In a brief synopsis at the beginning of the report, the "other candidates(i.e. Bradford and Footlik)" are identified as being "within 5 points of Kirk." Well ,with 29% "undecided," 5% is quite a bit.
   At the end of the day, however, even Penn, Schoen, and Berland can't undo Kirk's years of diligent service to the people of the 10th. His "favorability" rating: 70%, higher than Dick Durbin's 60 and Blago's 45(which is in itself interesting, if one sees the 10th as a microcosm of suburban sentiment, this should be heartening for Republican gubernatorial candidates). (It also bears noting that John Edward Porter, Kirk's predeccassor and former boss, regularly garnered favorability ratings in the 70s and was considering highly popular, so much that he often ran unopposed. Of course, this was on the 1990 map, but the 10th was redrawn in 2000 to be even more GOP friendly.) The subgroup of "Kirk voters(those who voted for Kirk in 04)" was particularly interesting. Ninety percent had a favorable view of Kirk. The fact that 76% of them were enamored of Obama shows that not only has Kirk acquired bipartisan support, but affirms that his voters are not only a majority, but a representative faction of the district as a whole. (In 2002, Kirk defeated Perrit 69-31, and in 04, he defeated Goodman, 65, 35.)
   Kirk had favorability ratings of 88% among Republicans, 76% among Independents, and just under half of the self identified Democrats, all of which are sanguine and seem to insulate him from a GOP primary challenge. He also boasts a 68% overall approval rating, 72% among male voters. With nearly one quarter undecided, half affirmed that "Kirk deserves to be re-elected." These betray no vulnerability on Kirk's part: after all, prior to his 2002 win, in a poll commissioned by his campaign, he had 54% against Peritt, and a 60% approval rating.
   This poll also seems to be less than representative in that it underreports Kirk's win by 4 percentage points. Only 61% of survey respondents voted for Kirk, in contrast to 65% of the district as a whole. The sample must have been awfully skewed, or the answer lies in the 18%, who, much to my astonishment, could not recall for whom they had voted. (Perhaps so, because only 16% reported having voted for Goodman, as opposed to the 35% he garnered on election day. They must have been ashamed of themselves!) Male voters were more likely to identify themselves as having voted for Kirk, but, of those who voted for "Kirk and Kerry," more female than male voters cited "he has done a good job" or "I liked his stance on the issues" as why they voted to re-elect him. Interestingly, no "Kirk/ Bush" sample was provided. The 10 Century Dems must have given up on them.
   Another point that diminishes the credibility of the poll was the fact that showed Smith and Bradford leading Kirk among "Kirk voters(those who had voted for him in 04)" and Footlik and Smith both garnering a majority of Republican votes, Footlik to the tune of 61%.
   The once mighty 10th CD Dems have atrophied in recent years. Well prespected moderate Gooper had represented the district for the past 20 years, and his retirement was a critical juncture for the political future of the 10th. Kirk's win affirmed the potency of the suburban formula of moderate Republicanism. Committeewoman Lauren Beth Gash held Kirk to a 51-49 margin in 2000 and won her seat in the Illinois House by unseating a moderate Republican incumbent. She has an independent streak-having been the only Democrat vote on the GOP-backed CPS "reform." However, her organization presently suffer from a number of ails, not the least of which is voter ennui and an inability to unify around a viable candidate. Oh, and did we mention fundraising in one of the state's most expensive media markets? Last time, Lee Goodman spent only $40,000-only 10% of Hank Perritt's expenses in 02. That must be the Ubercheap Wal-Mart Campaign-in-a-Box kit. Said maybe contender Barry Bradford in a comment on OD earlier this week, "I think it is a shame that the requirements of fundraising at all level of politics are reducing the number of "citizen politicians." More home makers, teachers, and farmers and fewer lawyers, millionaire businesspeople, and career politicians on both sides of the aisdle might lend more balance and sanity to our government." We agree. Let's see, who was it in the 2000 primary who was the only one of the major candidates who lacked a personal fortune? Who was forced to fundraise from individuals-and soon met and surpassed Lauren Beth Gash's contributions for one quarter? Let's thinks that was Kirk.

-Cap Fax has a post on the subject.


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