The Downstate Vote

Bruce Rauner recently announced that he is going to spend the remainder of the race campaigning in and around the Chicago area. There is some decent logic behind this strategy, it has long been the conventional wisdom that Bill Brady lost the 2010 Governor’s race in the suburbs, and the numbers back that up. Take a look at the table below that shows the performance of Brady (Governor, lost) and Mark Kirk (US Senate, won) in their 2010 respective races by region (expanded collars).

General Election Republican Performance – Expanded Collars (FAQ)

Region 2010 Kirk 2010 Brady Difference Vote Share
Cook County (all) 31.63% 28.61% 3.02% 37.51%
___Chicago (only) 19.47% 17.41% 2.06% 18.50%
___Cook Burbs (only) 43.47% 39.50% 3.97% 19.02%
Collars (11) 56.36% 52.93% 3.43% 28.42%
Downstate (90) 59.26% 59.18% 0.08% 34.07%
Total: 48.01% 45.94% 2.07% 100.00%

The expanded collars table groups “downstate” as the 90 counties outside the Chicago media market. You can see that in 2010 it made up a little more than 34% of the vote and the performance of Brady and Kirk is nearly identical, even though Brady is considered to be from the conservative wing of the Republican party while Kirk is less so. Even though Brady is from McLean County and Kirk is from the Chicago suburbrs, the voters in these downstate counties rated them equally and their performance was essentially the same.

The biggest difference was in the Chicago media market. The difference between the two candidates in the Chicago suburbs was about 4% but it varied by township. The difference was most pronounced in the affluent north and western suburban townships:

Township 2010 Kirk 2010 Brady Difference
Northfield 59.17% 49.37% 9.80%
New Trier 57.55% 48.81% 8.74%
Niles 42.87% 36.03% 6.84%
River Forest 47.31% 40.62% 6.69%
Wheeling 57.76% 51.31% 6.45%
Riverside 51.76% 46.42% 5.34%

In the 11 counties in the Chicago media market other than Cook County (collectively referred to here as the Collars) the difference between Kirk and Brady was about 3 and a half points with the Lake County numbers the most pronounced:

County 2010 Kirk 2010 Brady Difference
Lake 56.59% 50.10% 6.49%
Kankakee 56.32% 52.93% 3.39%
DuPage 57.50% 54.31% 3.19%
LaSalle 54.16% 51.08% 3.08%
Kendall 57.71% 54.96% 2.75%
McHenry 59.53% 56.87% 2.66%
Will 52.66% 50.29% 2.37%
DeKalb 54.16% 52.02% 2.14%
Kane 55.83% 53.79% 2.04%
Grundy 56.89% 54.86% 2.03%
Iroquois 74.62% 73.44% 1.18%

If the Rauner campaign can win over the Kirk-Quinn voters from 2010 they could have enough votes to win the election and since all of those Kirk-Quinn voters from 2010 are in the Chicago media market it makes sense for them to focus their campaign there now that we have reached the home stretch.

But what about Pat Quinn and the other candidates? 2010 was a strange year for Democratic performance downstate in that it was abnormally low. Take a look at the table below showing the Democratic performance of the candidates in competitive contested elections over the last few decades in the downstate counties outside of the Chicago media market:

Candidate Downstate
2008 Obama 50.81%
1996 Durbin 50.20%
1998 Poshard 50.04%
1990 Hartigan 48.09%
2002 Madigan 46.52%
2000 Gore 46.52%
2002 Blagojevich 46.41%
2006 Giannoulias 45.13%
2012 Obama 45.11%
2004 Kerry 44.89%
2006 Blagojevich 39.72%
2002 Dart 39.24%
1998 Mosely-Braun 36.53%
2010 Kelly 35.40%
2010 Quinn 33.99%
2010 Giannoulias 33.82%
1994 Netsch 28.75%

In 2010 Pat Quinn, Alexi Giannoulias and Robin Kelly all performed worse than Carol Moseley-Braun did in 1998 outside the Chicago media market, and she was carrying a lot of baggage by then while unsuccessfully trying to fend off a well funded challenger. On this list only Dawn Clark Netsch performed worse than the competitive Democratic candidates of 2010 and she lost in a blowout by 30 points. In 2002 Tom Dart lost his race for Treasurer to the popular Topinka and in 2006 the Republicans actively campaigned against Blagojevich in their legislative campaigns tying the local Democratic candidates to the unpopular downstate incumbent governor, yet both of those candidates performed more than 5 points higher than Quinn and Giannoulias in the 90 counties outside of the Chicago media market.

They weren’t just losing, they were losing downstate counties that had a history of going to Democrats like Madison, Fulton and Franklin by almost 20 points:

Candidate Madison
1990 Hartigan 57.47%
1996 Durbin 56.98%
2002 Blagojevich 55.97%
2006 Blagojevich 55.31%
2008 Obama 53.75%
2000 Gore 53.17%
2006 Giannoulias 53.13%
1998 Poshard 52.01%
2004 Kerry 51.26%
2002 Madigan 51.23%
2012 Obama 48.11%
2002 Dart 47.47%
2010 Kelly 42.72%
2010 Quinn 40.31%
2010 Giannoulias 39.97%
1998 Mosely-Braun 38.79%
1994 Netsch 35.42%
Candidate Fulton
2008 Obama 59.62%
2006 Giannoulias 56.70%
1996 Durbin 56.61%
2002 Blagojevich 55.02%
2000 Gore 54.92%
2002 Madigan 54.77%
2012 Obama 54.23%
1998 Poshard 54.19%
2004 Kerry 53.30%
1990 Hartigan 50.54%
2002 Dart 50.23%
1998 Mosely-Braun 46.60%
2006 Blagojevich 45.84%
2010 Kelly 42.85%
2010 Quinn 40.81%
2010 Giannoulias 40.21%
1994 Netsch 32.58%
Candidate Franklin
1998 Poshard 83.74%
1990 Hartigan 65.08%
1996 Durbin 60.23%
2006 Giannoulias 58.52%
2002 Blagojevich 58.32%
2002 Madigan 56.83%
2000 Gore 53.10%
2006 Blagojevich 50.89%
2002 Dart 50.31%
1998 Mosely-Braun 48.75%
2008 Obama 47.64%
2004 Kerry 45.56%
2010 Quinn 43.53%
2010 Kelly 42.97%
2012 Obama 40.49%
2010 Giannoulias 40.23%
1994 Netsch 37.27%

The downstate numbers for the Democratic candidates in 2010 weren’t just bad, they were historically bad. So the question becomes, was this a once cycle free fall or the new normal?

One simple answer is that by 2012 Barack Obama was back up to 45.11% in the downstate 90 counties. As I mentioned before some of those numbers were probably helped in the Quad Cities by Iowa advertising, take a look at the map of Obama’s performance by county and you can see that his numbers in the Quad Cities media market are noticeably better than his performance in the surrounding areas. But either way, one cycle later and those numbers bounced back to a historical norm.

The Presidential race was the only statewide race in 2012 but the Democrats performed strongly in a bunch of targeted State Senate races as well. First time candidate Andy Manar won the 48th Senate District (1D, 1R House members) by more than 10 points in a central Illinois district that stretches from Springfield to Decatur and down to eastern Madison County. (you can view district maps here) In the 36th SD (2D House members) up near the Quad Cities Mike Jacobs won re-election by more than 9 points. In the 46th SD (1D, 1R House memebers) in the Peoria area Dave Koehler won re-election by more than 8 points. In the 47th SD (2R House members) that runs from Quincy to Galesburg to almost Springfield John Sullivan was re-elected by almost 13 points. In the Metro East’s 56th SD (1D, 1R House members) Bill Haine won by more than 17 points. And in deep southern Illinois’ 59th SD (2D House members) perennial target Gary Forby won by more than 18 points.

The historically low downstate numbers for the Democrats in 2010 didn’t carry over into the 2012 races. What can we expect in 2014 though? It’s not a presidential year so the electorate will be smaller and more Republican leaning than in presidential years. Also Illinois native and favorite son Obama will not be at the top of the ticket, instead it will be Dick Durbin in what looks to be a pretty safe race and then Pat Quinn who remains unpopular downstate, even among his own party.

In 2014 the Governor’s race was the only statewide race on the Democratic side to feature more than one candidate. Pat Quinn faced off against little known candidate Tio Hardiman, the former executive director of Cease Fire. Hardiman had lost his job at Cease Fire after his wife filed a domestic violence case against him, later withdrawn. Prior to running Hardiman also had a different guilty plea to a misdemeanor for domestic violence against a former wife expunged from his record.

You would not expect that a Chicago former executive director of Cease Fire with a history of domestic violence to become the preferred candidate of downstate Democrats but in the 2014 Democratic primary for Governor that is what happened. In this case it likely had less to do with people voting for Hardiman and more likely these votes were cast against Quinn in protest.

First take a look at the map of Hardiman’s performance in the City of Chicago, it’s very consistent with no wards above 30%. Next look at his performance map in the Cook County suburbs, again the same consistency with no townships above 30%. Then look at his county by county performance map, the difference jumps out at you, especially in southern Illinois. Hardiman won Marion county with more than 72% of the vote. In 6 other counties (Alexander, Clinton, Jefferson, Shelby, Union and Washington) he took more than 60% of the vote. The southern half of the map is littered with counties painted shades of blue, green or grey for Hardiman. Once you get outside of Cook and the traditional 5 collar counties everything is over 30%.

It may have been true that 2010 was a historically poor year for Democrats downstate that won’t automatically translate to a repeat performance for Democrats this cycle but it’s also true that Quinn is facing a popularity issue this cycle with downstate members of his own party. If he’s that unpopular among Democrats it’s likely to be true of downstate independents as well.

There is natural room for vote growth for Quinn in his downstate numbers. Even if he can only muster being as popular as Blagojevich was during his 2006 re-elect that would still improve his downstate numbers by about 5 points and a 5 point improvement downstate would translate to about 60,000 votes his way (and 60,000 away from his opponent) based on 2010 numbers. The mid 40′s looks to be about the sweet spot for a typical Democratic candidate in a contested, competitive election, a far cry from the 34% Quinn took in 2010, but if he could somehow increase his downstate performance by 10 points it would be worth 120,000 votes his way (and 120,000 away from his opponent). In 2010 the race was decided by about 30,000 votes so these are meaningful numbers.

But in order to do that he’s going to have to campaign hard there and win over voters that were clearly very angry with him back in March. Unlike Rauner who will focus like a laser on the City and suburbs, Quinn’s path to victory likely includes a significant downstate component.

And what about the downstate Democratic candidates for Treasurer and Comptroller Mike Frerichs and Shelia Simon? Both are native downstaters who can likely count on above average support from the area. But if they’re looking at the very visible Quinn anger displayed in the primary can they afford to risk being lumped in with Quinn downstate if his numbers don’t improve? I am sure they would like to have the luxury to count on longstanding downstate support so they could focus their time and money on the Chicago media market but if Quinn’s downstate numbers don’t improve is that a risk they can afford to take? The Democrats have three downstate candidates on their statewide slate this year, Durbin, Simon and Frerichs, a more favorable downstate slate over recent cycles. They should be well positioned to rebound in their downstate performance but it will be interesting to see how the whole ticket performs and where the candidates and their campaigns spend their time and money to capitalize on the geographic makeup of their statewide ticket.

Constitutional Office Candidates Current Cash Position (beta)

Constitutional Office Candidates Current Cash Position (beta)

A-1 Totals by Committee by Date (beta)

Thanks to the wonderful efforts of the DataMade team at Election Money who have made the Illinois State Board of Elections campaign finance data far more usable I have attempted my first crack at creating a (somewhat) current dashboard for the current cash position of each of the major party candidates for constitutional office. Please send me your feedback including any suggestions for new dashboards. My hope is to do the same for the State House and State Senate races and also look at some of the outside money PACs that file with the Illinois SBE. Here are some notes:

  • Data Currency: My server automatically copies the files from Election Money every night at 1am. They update their contribution data daily (usually in the evenings) and their candidate listings, committee listings and report summaries are updated weekly. The A-1 totals listed here should be current to within about 24-36 hours.
  • Data Depth: So far I have only been downloading the 2014 contribution data so if you try searching for A-1 totals prior to 2014 that data isn’t available yet. I’ll include the historical data once I know everything is working correctly.
  • I hope to eventually be able to add the debt total (line 9) from the most recent Quarterly report but it is not available yet. When describing a campaign’s Cash on Hand you should be sure to take into account both their investment total and their debt.
  • Remember that the Net Funds Available does not take into account any spending figures since the last quarterly reporting period. Committees are required to file A-1 reports in the interim that list their large contributions received but the only time any expenditure info is reported is on the quarterly reports. The Net Funds Available figure is the sum of the last quarterly report CoH, last quarterly report investment total, subsequent A-1 reports individual contributions and transfers in.
  • The data shown here is only from the candidates’ principal campaign committee. Prior to the introduction of contribution limits in 2011 campaigns/candidates often had multiple committees but now they are limited to one committee per office. Outside PACs can spend funds in support or opposition for these candidates but they are not allowed to coordinate that spending or effort with the candidates or their committees.

Constitutional Office Candidates Current Cash Position (beta)

A-1 Totals by Committee by Date (beta)

Updated Data: 2014 Illinois Primary Results

I mentioned this on Twitter but forgot to update the front page. All of the 2014 Illinois primary data has been completely updated. All of the vote total analysis in the ANALYSIS section is up to date as well as the MAPS and even the ELECTIONS page profiles. If you’re interested in the primary postmortem scroll down below, it turns out our election night numbers were pretty accurate and all the items held up when compared to the actual certified vote totals.

Post Mortem: IL-GOV 2014 Primary

Thank you to all who spent time with us last night. We had a lot of fun and I have leftover pizza in the fridge so that’s a plus but I’m not sure that we’ll do that again. It’s very labor intensive. My hope is that enough people saw how you can cut and slice all the data that comes in and make it much more useful and helpful than simply knowing the running total for the candidates. Primaries are one thing, but come the general election there is even more useful available data and even more ways to use it. The news organizations get a ton of useful data throughout the night and simply don’t tell you very much about it or display it in a useful way and they don’t put it into a historical context. With the help of a bunch of great volunteers we were able to do that for one race, imagine if they programmed their computers to output it for all the races. I really hope they do.

Ok, on to some observations: (remember none of these results are official and when the official certified numbers are released in about a month there will be some minor changes)

  • In 2010 Dillard got 155,334 votes and in 2014 the Tribune is reporting 100% of precincts in and his total is 301,869, he almost doubled his output from 2010. Now the big question is whether Dillard was the beneficiary of Republicans coming home to him or was the push to get Democrat and independent crossover votes the key to his success? In the 2010 Republican Governor’s primary there were 767,485 total votes, for 2014 the Tribune total currently shows 808,409 with 100% reporting (that number will still likely go up after some absentee, vote by mail, provisional and overseas ballots get included in the final certified totals). So Dillard increased his vote total by about 146K votes while the overall size of the vote only increased by about 41K, that means one of two things:
    1. Dillard’s surge came mostly from regular Republicans.
    2. Dillard’s surge came from from crossover Democrats and independents while at the same time many regular Republicans stayed home. This seems the less likely of the two, in 2006 735,810 voted in the Republican Gubernatorial primary while in 2002 that number was 917,828. Last night’s total Republican primary voters falls within a pretty normal range.
  • The most surprising numbers (to me at least) were Dillard’s downstate numbers compared to Brady. According to our numbers in the downstate 96 counties Dillard beat Brady 40-19. In the 90 counties outside the Chicago Media Market Dillard beat Brady 41-20. The only media market where Brady beat Dillard was Evansville (29-26) a media market so small it only has 5 counties. In the Peoria media market (Brady’s home turf) Dillard beat him 35-25, in the Paducah market (deep southern Illinois) Dillard beat him 49-19, in the Quincy market it was 65-8. Downstate went overwhelmingly for Dillard.
  • It was a much different story in Cook and the collars though, this is where Rauner won the race. Rauner had a slight edge on Dillard in the city proper 43-39 (about 5% of the statewide vote) but Rauner did even better in the 5 collar counties besting Dillard 48-36 (about 28% of the statewide vote) and his best area was the Cook County suburbs where he bested Dillard 52-32 (about 16% of the statewide vote). Dillard lost his home county of DuPage 46-39.
  • It is going to be fun to look at the color coded maps in this race (will be available sometime after the totals are certified next month), particularly the township by township totals in the Cook County suburbs. I’m guessing Rauner ran up some pretty big numbers in the affluent northern suburbs but I’m just as eager to see who won the blue collar NW & SW side townships. I bet there will be some interesting data there.
  • Downstate Dillard did well and bested Rauner overall (40-31 in the downstate 96 and 41-29 in the 90 counties outside the Chicago media market) but Rauner still had pockets where he did well. Rauner won the Quad Cities media market and almost fought to a draw in the Rockford media market. Remember, when these candidates (or outside groups) buy ads they don’t appear on every channel in the state, they generally appear in some but not all media markets. The data that I wish this website had but doesn’t is the campaign spending for/against candidates by media market. It would make this analysis a lot more fun. I’m told that at least some of this data is publicly available, depending on how labor intensive it is that may be on the future to-do list.
  • Incumbent Pat Quinn gave up 28% to an underfunded and not well known opponent, but anyone who says this means trouble for him in the general election is just baiting for pageviews. Quinn may or may not win the general but the outcome of that race does not correlate to his primary election results. The last two incumbent governors who ran for re-election faced a primary opponent. In 1994 incumbent Jim Edgar gave up 25% to Jack Roeser in their Republican Gubernatorial primary and he went on to win his general election by 30 points. In 2006 incumbent Blagojevich gave up 29% to Edwin Eisendrath and he went on to win the general by a larger margin (10%) than he won his 2002 gubernatorial (7%).

Last, the law was changed last year so that starting with this election all 110 election authorities in this state have to provide the State Board of Elections with precinct-level results in all of these races. Depending on how usable that data is we could potentially format it, collate it and have some fun with it. For example, it would be interesting to know which state rep/sen districts Rauner and Quinn performed the best/worst in. At least it would give them a pretty good idea where they need to shore up their base. Hopefully it is data we can use.

Election Night Live

Update: Sorry we didn’t update this post throughout the night. Things got much busier than I anticipated and I didn’t have time. We did throw out some Tweets though and I’ve copied and pasted them below.

As promised we are bringing live election results for the Illinois Gubernatorial Primary tonight.

Live Election Results Dashboard

As the night goes on we may share any interesting items of note by updating this post and/or on Twitter at @ILElectionData.

Announcement – Live Election Night Results

On the night of the Illinois primary I plan to have live election night returns for the Illinois Gubernatorial Republican Primary. While you can get live statewide totals at almost any Illinois news site (and some even give you county by county totals) I plan to have live data that shows real time totals for the statewide vote broken out by county, by media market and by region (both traditional and expanded collars) and showing vote share. Right next to the live results you’ll be able to scroll through all of the historical results for Republican primaries going back years or even decades. I spent the weekend building the dashboard display for this and I’m happy with how it turned out.

Most major news organizations subscribe to the AP election package and they get live data from the AP on election night, that is how they are able to display the election results. I have tried to pay the AP for this data and they refuse to let me subscribe because this isn’t a “news organization”. So while I’d really like to have complete access to live data on every race in the state and be able to display it in a way that is helpful and useful to the people who like or need to see results in great detail for this election we still have to do it by hand and so we can only do this one race for now.

This effort is more likely to crash this website than to work and be cool but we are going to try it anyway. I have bribed a group of friends with pizza and beer to lookup the live election results for the Republican Gubernatorial primary from all 110 election authorities. I have created a big spreadsheet that a group of about 10-12 friends will be entering data into and it is set up to run a bunch of calculations and display all the data the way I like to see it. If it works it should be interesting and a lot of fun, but most likely the hosting company will be down that day or the website will crash though. Either way I just hope it works well enough to encourage the big news organizations in Illinois to take a look at how they display election night results and see what they could be doing better.

New Section: ELECTIONS

This website has a lot of data stored about various elections, for example you can find performance maps in the MAPS section as well as campaign budget information in the BUDGETS section. I wanted to create an easily navigated quick glance section by race for this data to make the data easier to find and use. Now there is a new section called ELECTIONS. Click on each of the pages below to find a quick glance page for each of the constitutional offices in Illinois with direct links to map and budget data.

Statewide Profile

Constitutional Offices

Federal Offices

Congressional Offices (2012 – 2022 Map)

Congressional Offices (2002 – 2012 Map)

Statewide Primary Election Maps Now Available

Maps for statewide primary elections are now available in the MAPS section. A direct link can be found here.

You can find performance maps for every Democratic and Republican primary candidate for statewide office going back to at least 2002 and many races from 1994-2000 are also available. You can see maps by county, by Cook County township and/or by Chicago ward.

I’m pretty happy with this development as now this website can display all of the statewide maps I’ve had in my files and had hoped to include.

Updated Data: All Maps (by Candidate)

You can now see MAPS for all candidates in an election instead of just one. I’m very, very happy to be able to share this latest update, this was something that really bothered me from the day this site went live almost a year ago. Even now the Google software used to generate these maps is officially listed as “experimental” so it should come as no surprise that certain functionality was limited or unavailable when I first launched this site but unfortunately the only workaround would have involved an incredibly labor intensive process so I just waited. Now I’m very happy to be able to visually display all of the data I wanted.

Previously for each race that MAPS were available you could only see the map for one candidate in each race, you could at best then infer how the opposition performed but the limitation was frustrating. Now you can see the performance map for all the candidates. So for example if you happen to remember that in 2006 the Rockford Register Star was fed up with the Democratic and Republican candidates for Governor and instead endorsed Green Party candidate Rich Whitney you can look at this map and see what effect that endorsement had.

So far all the map data has been for general elections only but now I can and will add all the statewide primaries. That will probably take a few weeks (I just do this in my spare time) but I want to have it done before the NHL playoffs start and I’m sure March Madness will make it harder to find some free time.

After I get the statewide primary maps up I’d like to add more to the Chicago Aldermanic data set. The 2011 elections are already in there but I’ve always been meaning to add 2007 and 2003. So that’s the update plan for now. As always I hope you find this information useful. Let me know if you find any errors or have any requests.