Analysis: Precinct-level Vote Totals Now Available

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The State Board of Elections made the precinct-level vote totals available late last week for the 2016 General Election and as promised I’ve compiled them, cleaned them up, made them available for download and incorporated them into my database. The full menu of options can be found here.

Having this granular data allows us to compile vote totals for any two areas that overlap. For example we can determine how each statewide candidate did by congressional or legislative district.

Note: these totals may differ from similar analysis performed elsewhere. Surprisingly enough, many districts only include partial precincts. Different methods for dealing with partial precincts can result in different totals.

 

In 2014 the Republican statewide candidates ran strong across the state, Rauner won 70 House districts, Topinka 69 and Cross 64. This cycle at the top of the ticket the Democrats came storming back with Clinton winning 77 of them while Duckworth won 74. As discussed in the post-mortem in some parts of downstate Trump’s intensity of support was off the charts, it just wasn’t broad enough to be felt throughout the state.

The Comptroller’s race was a bit more even, Mendoza and Munger each bested the other in 59 House districts despite Mendoza winning statewide by 5 points. The House Republicans picked up a net of four seats and overcame the poor showing at the top of the ticket but still underperformed Munger, only winning 51 House seats compared to 67 for the Democrats.

House Districts Won By: # Districts
House Democrats 67
Hillary Clinton 77
Tammy Duckworth 74
Susana Mendoza 59
House Districts Won By: # Districts
House Republicans 51
Donald Trump 41
Mark Kirk 44
Leslie Munger 59

Districts That Changed Hands

 

Let’s take a look at some of the districts that flipped this cycle. In many cases the legislative incumbents outperformed the top of their ticket, unfortunately for this group it wasn’t enough to hold onto their seats. There was a lot of ticket splitting going on though and in some cases there were very large discrepancies between what happened in the legislative race and the top of the ticket suggesting that voters were paying close attention and the campaign messages were getting through the clutter.

 

Sen-59   (R) Dale Fowler vs. (D) Gary Forby (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 10.4%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 40.74% R+ 5.5% R+ 23.45%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS
R+ 11.56% R+ 30.97% R+ 6.01% D+ 12.05% R+ 7.35% R+ 24.91%
12 PRES 12 GA
R+ 20.15% D+ 18.2%

Gary Forby was 10 points short of holding a district that Donald Trump won by 41 points, that’s quite a headwind. Forby’s district wasn’t on the ballot two years ago when Rauner won it by 31 points but he did manage a big win in 2012 even with Romney besting Obama by 20 points. Munger did quite well here winning by 23 while Kirk managed to win by just 5.5 points. Perhaps as many as 17% of the voters in this district were Trump/Forby voters but it wasn’t enough.

 


 

Rep-71   (R) Tony McCombie vs. (D) Mike Smiddy (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 25.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 5.81% R+ 1.96% R+ 5.66%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
D+ 1.68% R+ 14.05% D+ 3.71% D+ 22.4% R+ 15.72% R+ 8% D+ 0.9%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 15% D+ 4.2%

Challenger Tony McCombie outperformed every other candidate here by a notable amount in defeating Mike Smiddy. In a district that Obama won by 15 points four years ago and that Rauner won by 14 points two years ago she won by 26 points in a year when Trump and Munger could only manage 6 point wins and Kirk managed a narrow 2 point victory. The voters seemed to really key in on this race at a much greater intensity than the others on the ballot this time.

 


 

Rep-63   (R) Steven Reick vs. (D) John Bartman   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 13.0%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 12.28% R+ 9.62% R+ 22.57%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 20.2% R+ 34.02% D+ 2.49% D+ 20.31% R+ 19.82% R+ 25.77% D+ 17.08%
12 PRES 12 GA
R+ 7.67% D+ 99.2%

When Jack Franks withdrew from this race to run for McHenry County Board Chairman (a race he ultimately won) it was going to be difficult for the Democrats to hold this seat and appointed replacement John Bartman could not, losing by 13 points which roughly mirrored the presidential race. As mentioned in the post-mortem Munger did much better in the collars than either of her two fellow Republican statewide candidates, 10 points better than Trump here and 13 points better than Kirk. Four years ago Romney won this district by almost 8 points, two years ago Rauner won it by 34, the Dems were just sunk without Franks.

 


 

Rep-79   (R) Lindsay Parkhurst vs. (D) Katherine Cloonen (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 7.4%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 12.84% R+ 3.14% R+ 14.31%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 6.72% R+ 22.2% D+ 13.3% D+ 26.36% R+ 14.1% R+ 8.82% D+ 0.38%
12 PRES 12 GA
R+ 1.03% D+ 0.2%

Cloonen won each of the last two cycles in what were essentially coin flips, races that were so close she won by about 100 votes each time. Two years ago Rauner won this district by 22 points suggesting that with enough investment it could be picked up, and it was Parkhurst won by 7. Four years ago Obama held Romney to a narrow 1 point victory here but in 2016 Trump won the district by 13 and Munger won it by 14. Cloonen was able to halve Munger’s margin but it wasn’t enough.

 


 

Rep-117   (R) David Severin vs. (D) John Bradley (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 5.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 42.9% R+ 6.04% R+ 24.72%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 14.48% R+ 32.09% R+ 6.69% D+ 11.93% R+ 5.32% R+ 25.51% D+ 99.38%
12 PRES 12 GA
R+ 22.07% D+ 33.3%

They share the same voters so just like Gary Forby mentioned above John Bradley ran into a massive headwind that he just couldn’t overcome. Four years ago Romney won this district by 22 points, two years ago Rauner won it by 32 suggesting that it was fertile ground for a pickup. Bradley lost by just 6 in a district that Trump won by 43 points and Munger won by 25. Perhaps as many as 21% of the voters here were Trump/Bradley voters but it wasn’t enough.

 


 

Rep-76   (R) Jerry Long vs. (D) Andy Skoog (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 1.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 9.49% D+ 2.43% R+ 5.18%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 3.89% R+ 9.5% D+ 10.71% D+ 30.66% R+ 5.25% R+ 6.46% D+ 0.98%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 6.08% D+ 26.2%

This area of the state appears to have settled into swing territory. Two years ago Jerry Long made a spirited challenge against long time incumbent Frank Mautino coming up just short. Mautino left the legislature to become Auditor General but the local papers were still regularly following the investigation into irregularities in his campaign fund. This time around Long was able to best Andy Skoog, Mautino’s appointed replacement, by just shy of 2 points in a year when Trump won it by 9 and Munger by 5 while Duckworth enjoyed a 2 point win for the Democrats. Obama won it four years ago by 6 while Rauner won by almost 10 two years ago. We’ll likely be keeping an eye on this area for the next few cycles.

 


 

Rep-112   (D) Katie Stuart vs. (R) Dwight Kay (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 3.2%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 5.53% D+ 9.4% R+ 0.75%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 4.48% R+ 20.63% R+ 2.02% D+ 11.68% R+ 15.98% R+ 12.2% R+ 17.48%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 0.1% R+ 0.6%

Two years ago Rauner won this district by over 20 points but in presidential election years this looks to be a swing district. Four years ago Dwight Kay was re-elected in a narrow victory in a year when the presidential race here was essentially a tie. This time around Katie Stuart picked up the district for the Democrats by 3 points while the three statewide races were kind of all over the place, Trump won by almost 6, Munger won by less than a point and Duckworth won by more than 9. Even aside from the three statewide races the Republicans still did well here, the Republicans picked up the County Board Chairman’s race from the incumbent Democrat and Mike Bost, Rodney Davis and John Shimkus all won the precincts they had in common with this district (Shimkus was unopposed). This area will almost certainly be heavily contested next cycle.

 

 

Targeted Districts Won by Incumbents

 

Here is a rundown of some of the Senate and House districts that were the focus of heavy spending where the incumbent retained the seat.

 

Sen-23   (R) Seth Lewis vs. (D) Thomas Cullerton (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 1.4%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 11.94% D+ 8.87% R+ 4.43%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS
R+ 1.99% R+ 19.19% D+ 11.71% D+ 25.21% R+ 15.4% R+ 15.06%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 7.14% D+ 2.4%

Four years ago I was surprised when the Democrats won this mostly DuPage County senate district and now four years later Tom Cullerton has retained the seat. Seth Lewis outperformed the top of his ticket, losing by only a little over a point in a district where Clinton won by 12 and Duckworth by 9. It wasn’t all bad for the Republicans here, Munger won by over 4 but as we discussed in the post-mortem the power base of the Illinois Republican Party is moving from the collar counties to downstate so we’re going to be seeing race outcomes like this one in the suburbs for the next few cycles.

 


 

Sen-49   (R) Michelle Smith vs. (D) Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 5.4%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 10.29% D+ 10.26% R+ 0.03%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS
D+ 0.59% R+ 13.73% D+ 14.6% D+ 26.88% R+ 11.12% R+ 22.19%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 7.3% D+ 6.4%

Four years ago Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant won this district by a little over 6 points and this year despite all the spending it didn’t change all that much, she won by a little over 5. Clinton and Duckworth won by more than 10, compared to just 7 points for Obama four years ago, while the Mendoza/Munger race was essentially a tie here. Rauner won this district by almost 14 two years ago but it isn’t on the ballot next cycle so the Republicans will have to wait for the year of Trump’s re-elect to make another attempt.

 


 

Sen-28   (R) Mel Thillens vs. (D) Laura Murphy (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 7.00%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 19.83% D+ 12.9% R+ 2.22%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS
D+ 6.49% R+ 14.82% D+ 21.65% D+ 38.13% R+ 12.81% R+ 10.08%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 12.62% D+ 14.6%

Two years ago the Republicans did very well in this district, Rauner won by 15, Topinka by 13 and Cross by 10. However in presidential years this northwestern suburban district trends pretty Democratic. Laura Murphy, who was appointed to the seat when Dan Kotowski left, won her first chance at re-election by 7 points in a district Clinton won by 20, Duckworth won by 13 and Obama had won by 13. The lone bright spot for the Republicans was Munger edging Mendoza by 2.

 


 

Sen-31   (R) Mike Amrozowicz vs. (D) Melinda Bush (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 8.2%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 12.8% D+ 5.95% R+ 3.76%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS
R+ 2.8% R+ 18.68% D+ 14.64% D+ 26.42% R+ 13.26% R+ 13.34%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 6.86% D+ 2.8%

Four years ago Melinda Bush won a relatively narrow 3 point victory, this time around she won by a more comfortable 8. Clinton won this far north Lake County district by 13 while Duckworth won by just 6 and Munger won by almost 4. Two years ago Rauner won this district by almost 19 points but it is not on the ballot next cycle so the Republicans will have to wait four years for another shot at it.

 


 

Rep-20   (D) Merry Marwig vs. (R) Michael McAuliffe (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 12.2%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 8.3% D+ 5.76% R+ 5.3%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
D+ 7.85% R+ 5.89% D+ 22.95% D+ 40.45% R+ 15.71% R+ 6.21% R+ 24.9%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 7.1% R+ 21.2%

This was the most expensive race this cycle, much of it coming from the Republicans and much of that coming early as McAuliffe was up on Chicago broadcast TV in August during the Olympics, something completely unheard of for a legislative race. In the end McAuliffe overperformed all of the other Republicans winning by 12 in a district Trump lost by 8, Kirk lost by 6 and Munger only won by 5. Even in the wave Republican election year of two years ago Rauner only won this district by 6, although Topinka did win it by 16. It’s a district that favors moderate Republicans.

 


 

Rep-45   (D) Cynthia Borbas vs. (R) Christine Winger (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 6.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 2.46% R+ 1.21% R+ 14.89%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 9.63% R+ 28.01% D+ 4.21% D+ 18.83% R+ 21.95% R+ 23.23% R+ 8.88%
12 PRES 12 GA
R+ 2.12% R+ 10.8%

As the collars have been trending toward the Democrats this east-central DuPage district was one they hoped to put in play, but it’s not quite there. Two years ago Rauner won this district by 28 points but Romney won it by just 2 in 2012 and Clinton won it by 2 this time. Christine Winger won it by a comfortable 7 and Munger won by 15 so it’s still a Republican district for competitively contested elections. This may not be a district to keep an eye on two years from now but it seems likely it will be worth paying attention to in four years.

 


 

Rep-81   (D) Greg Hose vs. (R) David Olsen   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 6.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 15.97% D+ 3.68% R+ 12.21%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 2.92% R+ 22.9% D+ 8.68% D+ 24.18% R+ 19.88% R+ 20.1% R+ 19.98%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 1.67% R+ 100%

This is another one of those DuPage districts that could potentially be a swing district in four years but wasn’t there this cycle. Four years ago Obama won it by less than two points while this cycle Clinton won it by 16 and Duckworth by 4 while Munger still prevailed by 12. David Olsen, appointed to the seat when Ron Sandack stepped down, managed a comfortable 7 point win.

 


 

Rep-118   (R) Jason Kasiar vs. (D) Brandon Phelps (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 16.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 38.56% R+ 4.91% R+ 22.17%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
R+ 8.58% R+ 30.01% R+ 5.31% D+ 12.33% R+ 9.27% R+ 24.34% D+ 99.74%
12 PRES 12 GA
R+ 18.17% D+ 100%

Brandon Phelps hasn’t has a Republican opponent in either of the two previous cycles under this map but during that time Republican statewide candidates have been running up big numbers in this district. Romney won it by 18, Rauner by 30 and Cross by 24. However Phelps, the nephew of popular former congressman David Phelps, maintains a similar local popularity winning this district by 17 points even though Trump won it by 39 and Munger by 22. Perhaps as many as 30% of the voters in this district were Trump/Phelps voters. This district is adjacent to the district John Bradley just lost and those two House districts make up the Senate district that Gary Forby just lost, this area is trending Republican rather rapidly but so far Phelps has been able to weather the storm. This area will likely be a focal point in 2018.

 


 

Rep-46   (R) Heidi Holan vs. (D) Deborah Conroy (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 18.00%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 23.44% D+ 21.11% D+ 8.3%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
D+ 7.99% R+ 7.66% D+ 21.56% D+ 33.59% R+ 6.79% R+ 4.42% D+ 5.06%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 18.75% D+ 15.4%

This DuPage County district makes up half of Tom Cullerton’s senate district and just as Cullerton did Deb Conroy was able to retain the seat. Two years ago Conroy defeated Heidi Holan by 5 points even while Rauner won it by 8, Topinka by 7 and Cross by 4. This time around in a rematch against Holan Conroy won it by 18, which was somewhat similar to her 15 point margin in 2012. This district has been reliably Democratic in presidential years, Obama won it by 19, Clinton by 23, Duckworth by 21 and Mendoza by 8. The Democrats appear to have a beachhead in this part of DuPage County.

 


 

Rep-111   (R) Mike Babcock vs. (D) Daniel Beiser (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 5.2%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
R+ 16.26% D+ 10.96% D+ 0.94%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
D+ 1.14% R+ 16.52% D+ 2.85% D+ 19.11% R+ 9.83% R+ 5.06% D+ 100%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 5.18% D+ 17%

This district is adjacent to the district that Katie Stuart picked up for the Democrats from Dwight Kay and those two districts combine to form the senate district held by Bill Haine who was surprisingly unopposed this cycle. The Republicans put a surprising amount of money in this race, perhaps for good reason, Rauner won it by 17, Topinka by 10, Cross by 5 and this cycle Trump won it by 16. Despite all of that Dan Beiser won a rather comfortable 5 point race while Duckworth won by 11 and Mendoza narrowly edged Munger by a point. This looks like one of those areas where Trump was a strength but he didn’t have much coattails, we’ll see what happens in this district in 2018.

 


 

Rep-62   (R) Rod Drobinski vs. (D) Sam Yingling (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 4.8%
16 PRES 16 US SEN 16 COMP
D+ 16.23% D+ 8.89% R+ 2.44%
14 US SEN 14 GOV 14 AG 14 SOS 14 COMP 14 TREAS 14 GA
D+ 0.79% R+ 15.94% D+ 16.75% D+ 29.9% R+ 11.98% R+ 11.23% D+ 4.2%
12 PRES 12 GA
D+ 11.18% D+ 10.6%

Despite all of the heavy spending in this race the final margin wasn’t much different from two years ago when these two candidates faced off, 4.8 points this year vs. 4.2 points in 2014. Two years ago Yingling won despite a strong showing from the Republicans, Rauner won it by 16, Topinka by 12 and Cross by 11 but in presidential election years the Democrats have done well here, Obama won it by 12, Clinton by 16 and Duckworth by 9. Munger did manage to win it by 2 and it seems likely that the Republicans will be back again in 2018 for another try.

 

2016 General Election Post-Mortem

Published on

I’ve been busy catching up on all of the things I put off until after the election so here’s a very belated post-mortem.

Note: the vote totals are not yet final and certified, those numbers will change. The numbers shown here are for 100% of precincts reporting on election night and do not yet include any ballots counted post-election night.

 

President

The Democrats swept the three statewide races and of the three Hillary Clinton won by the largest margin, 16.5 points (compared to about 15 points for Duckworth and about 4.5 for Mendoza), and had the most total votes. Of the three Democratic candidates Clinton may have had the most paid media even if it wasn’t paid for by her campaign directly, Leading Illinois for Tomorrow (LIFT), a federal superpac, spent roughly $9 million on ads that were ostensibly designed to drive up Governor Rauner’s negatives but mostly just functioned as Trump attack ads (see here and here, for example).

In the Chicagoland region her numbers were historically strong. In Chicago she basically matched Obama’s 2012 numbers and wasn’t far off his 2008 totals. In the Cook County suburbs she was even better than Obama’s 2012 numbers and far ahead of Kerry 2004 and Gore 2000. She won the collars outright and again bested Obama 2012, Kerry 2004 and Gore 2000.

 
Region Clinton 14 Quinn 12 Obama 08 Obama 04 Kerry 00 Gore
Cook County 74.65% 64.74% 74.01% 76.21% 70.25% 68.63%
___Chicago 83.71% 77.35% 84.00% 85.41% 81.28% 80.14%
___Cook Burbs 65.38% 52.75% 63.82% 66.64% 58.97% 56.44%
Collars 52.30% 37.91% 50.53% 55.79% 45.46% 43.92%
Downstate 37.86% 33.93% 45.33% 51.00% 44.75% 46.39%
TOTAL 55.70% 46.35% 57.60% 61.92% 54.82% 54.60%
 

The Trump Vote

Outside the Chicagoland area it was a different story. Trump won the 90 counties outside the Chicago media market roughly 57-37, some in historically commanding fashion. Looking at the vote totals by media market what’s strange is that down the middle Trump’s numbers were downright ordinary. In the Rockford, Peoria and Champaign/Springfield/Decatur media markets his vote totals were very similar to Romney 2012 and all lagged Bush 2004 and espeically Rauner 2014. Yet in the remaining media markets Trump’s numbers blew away the other Republican presidential candidates this century and either rivaled or surpassed Rauner’s 2014 numbers. Remember, Rauner won the state by 4 points (with very impressive downstate numbers) and Trump lost it by more than 16 so to rival or surpass Rauner’s performance in these areas was no small feat for Trump.

 
MM Trump 14 Rauner 12 Romney 08 McCain 04 Bush 00 Bush
C/S/D 55.75% 61.77% 55.13% 49.09% 57.59% 52.94%
Chicago 30.57% 44.85% 34.75% 31.49% 39.35% 38.30%
Evansville 79.26% 76.33% 70.46% 58.08% 66.91% 61.75%
Paducah 66.03% 61.67% 57.32% 51.78% 55.90% 49.48%
Peoria 53.39% 59.87% 53.88% 48.37% 55.47% 52.60%
Quad Cities 50.64% 55.34% 42.87% 41.20% 47.86% 44.35%
Quincy 68.40% 70.41% 60.95% 55.52% 60.96% 55.03%
Rockford 51.49% 59.39% 49.10% 45.32% 53.57% 52.14%
St. Louis 57.29% 59.79% 50.70% 44.83% 49.81% 46.37%
Terre Haute 74.52% 70.78% 66.33% 55.40% 64.61% 59.56%
TOTAL 39.13% 50.27% 40.73% 36.78% 44.48% 42.58%

We have good data on total media buy spending for each campaign but the data I wish I really had but don’t is the spending for each campaign media buy by media market. I can tell you from my past experience working on statewide campaigns when we went up on TV the first markets we bought downstate were the three down the middle (Rockford, Peoria and Champaign/Springfield/Decatur) because they are entirely within the state so those buys/markets were more efficient than the rest which include viewers in other states. I suspect the reason that Trump’s numbers down the middle were so pedestrian has to do with media buys. If we had the LIFT spending by media market perhaps we’d find that the bulk of their spending was in Chicago and these three downstate media markets while neglecting the rest, or perhaps some other media buy explanation holds the key, but I’d bet the reason has to do with paid advertising.

 

US Senate

Here’s what I wrote in my What to Watch For post on election day:

Downstate – In 2010 the downstate 96 counties were especially strong for the Republicans. Kirk and Brady both got 59% of the vote. The Democrats rebounded in 2012, Romney only got about 53% of the vote there, but the Republicans came back strong in 2014 when Rauner took 61%. Can Kirk replicate the downstate Republican performance of 2010 and 2014 or will the Democrats improve as they did in 2012?

Suburbs (especially the northern ones) – in 2010 Kirk won his race by about a point and a half and Brady lost to Quinn by about half a point. Most of the difference came in the Cook County suburbs and the collars and most of that difference came in the northern end. Kirk had represented the north shore in Congress and those voters rewarded him in his Senate race. Kirk did about three and a half points better than Brady in the 5 traditional collar counties combined but it was even more pronounced in Lake County where the difference was six and a half points (56.6% to 50.1%). He’s going to need to run just as strong in Lake County again to help his chances.

Kirk just couldn’t match his 2010 performance this time around, he even lost his stronghold of Lake County 50-45 and the bottom fell out just about everywhere. He did about 7 points worse downstate, 10 points worse in the Cook County suburbs and 11 points worse in the collars.

 
Region 16 Kirk 10 Kirk
Cook County 24.94% 31.63%
___Chicago 16.35% 19.47%
___Cook Burbs 33.68% 43.47%
Collars 45.48% 56.24%
Downstate 52.09% 59.02%
TOTAL 39.97% 48.01%
 

Comptroller

Susana Mendoza scored an impressive victory against a much better funded incumbent which may add a new variable to an otherwise unchanging Springfield budget battle, but it’s worth noting that while losing Leslie Munger still outperformed the top of her ticket by about 12 points.

 
Region Munger Trump Kirk 14 Rauner
Cook County 29.12% 21.16% 24.94% 33.26%
___Chicago 19.10% 12.47% 16.35% 20.63%
___Cook Burbs 39.27% 30.05% 33.68% 45.32%
Collars 51.56% 41.76% 45.48% 59.51%
Downstate 56.12% 56.45% 52.09% 60.81%
TOTAL 44.62% 39.13% 39.97% 50.27%

For all the talk of how impressive Trump’s downstate numbers were (see above from me for example) Munger actually matched his performance in the downstate 96 counties. It was in the Chicagoland area that she did notably better than the top of her ticket, she ran 7 points better than Trump in Chicago, 9 points better in the Cook County suburbs and 10 points better in the collars. But in the end it wasn’t enough, you can see that she just wasn’t able to approach the numbers of Rauner’s winning 2014 coalition.

 

Illinois Legislative Elections

In 2014 both Rauner and Topinka won by about 4 points and in the process Rauner got more votes than Quinn in 70 state house districts while Topinka got more votes than Simon in 69 state house districts. Tom Cross lost to Mike Frerichs by about a quarter of a point and still managed to get the most votes in 64 state house districts, even Jim Oberweis won 51 state house districts while losing to Dick Durbin by 10 points yet the House Republicans only held 47 seats.

Clearly in 2014 the House Republicans significantly underperformed their available political potential. With a massive investment of financial resources from the Governor and his wealthy allies the Republicans appeared poised to pick up a number of seats and move closer to realizing their potential. The open question was just how many, afterall 2014 was a national wave election for Republicans while 2016 was a mixed bag nationally and a strong Democratic year for Illinois statewide candidates. In the end the Republicans won 7 races and lost one. Some were low hanging fruit, they picked up retiring Sen. Sullivan’s seat uncontested, they also won the seats previously held by Sen. Forby, Rep. Franks and Rep. Bradley, all seats that Rauner had won by more than 30 points just two years ago. They picked up Kate Cloonen’s seat, she had won her last two races by 91 and 122 total votes, and this time around the Republicans had enough resources to make the difference winning by more than 7 points. Two years ago Jerry Long came within a point of upsetting Frank Mautino and this time around Long was able to beat his appointed replacement, Andy Skoog, by about a point. And the most impressive pickup came in northwest Illinois where Tony McCombie beat Mike Smiddy by about 25 points in a district Rauner only won by 14.

The end result was a net Republican pickup of 4 seats in the house reducing the Democratic majority to 67-51 and 2 in the senate reducing the Democratic majority to 37-22, which is still a supermajority in the senate.

 

Mike McAuliffe

The most impressive legislative victory wasn’t a pickup, it was in the 20th House where Mike McAuliffe retained his seat by 12 points against a strong challenge from Merry Marwig. The spending in this race was unprecedented, McAuliffe was up on Chicago broadcast television in late August, unheard of for a state house race. It was an expensive retention but the margin was significant. McAuliffe actually did about 4.5 points better in the Chicago part of the district than the suburban part. And then there’s this, these are the two precincts in Rosemont:

 
Precinct McAuliffe % Marwig % Total
Leyden 12 621 82.91% 128 17.09% 749
Leyden 38 176 67.18% 86 32.82% 262
  797 78.83% 214 21.17% 1011

That’s almost 600 votes of margin in just two precincts.

 

Tom Cullerton

The other impressive retention happened on the Democratic side in the senate where Tom Cullerton appears to have narrowly retained his seat despite a heavy challenge from Seth Lewis. It wasn’t that long ago that suggesting Democrats could compete in DuPage County would get you laughed out of the room yet both Tom Cullerton in the Senate and Deb Conroy in the House have been able to win seats in this Republican stronghold and retain them.

 

Dwight Kay

Democrats had an impressive pickup as well beating Dwight Kay in the Metro East. Katie Stuart managed to upset the incumbent in this Madison County district despite the fact that Trump won the county by 16 points and incumbent Democratic County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan was defeated.

 

 

Other Observations

 

Southern Illinois

Take a look at this map of four state house districts under the previous map (2002-2011):

In the upper right district that goes from Effingham to Carmi it was once represented by Chuck Hartke, the district just west of that that includes Centralia and Mt. Vernon was once represented by Kurt Granberg. Just south of Granberg is John Bradley’s district and just south of him is Brandon Phelps district. Once the Democrats lost the Hartke and Granberg districts those districts stayed Republican, the current map changed those two districts a bit but the Democrats don’t really compete there anymore. The Bradley and Phelps districts are basically the same as the previous map but they have been trying to hang on in the face of this evolution taking place in southern Illinois. In 1994 when Jim Edgar beat Dawn Clark Netsch she lost all but one county and it wasn’t Cook, it was Gallatin County in Southern Illinois. This year Trump won Gallatin county 72-24.

(For more on the changing political dynamic in both southern Illinois and the suburbs check out Charlie Wheeler’s take in Illinois Issues.)

This cycle the Republicans beat John Bradley and Gary Forby (Forby’s senate district is the combination of Bradley and Phelps). Rauner won all three of these districts by more than 30 points two years ago. Phelps managed to win his seat by about 16 points but the trend suggests that his district will be a target in future cycles. Not shown in the picture above but just to the west of these districts is the seat held by Jerry Costello Jr., a district that Rauner also won by more than 30 points. Costello was unopposed this cycle and was unopposed in 2014. Southern Illinois will be worth keeping an eye on in 2018.

 

Collar Counties

Of the five traditional collar counties only McHenry County remains reliably Republican in presidential election years (and even the McHenry County Board Chairman’s race went Democratic this year when Jack Franks won it). Clinton, Duckworth, Obama 2012 and Obama 2008 all won DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will. As Charlie Wheeler pointed out in the article I linked to above the base of the Illinois Republican party is moving from the suburbs to downstate.

 
County Clinton Duckworth Mendoza Obama 12 Obama 08
DuPage 53.88% 48.86% 41.36% 49.73% 54.72%
Kane 51.36% 48.32% 42.20% 49.73% 55.23%
Lake 57.29% 50.04% 44.88% 53.48% 59.26%
McHenry 42.69% 41.39% 35.02% 44.68% 51.91%
Will 50.25% 50.89% 45.08% 52.00% 56.00%
 

Chekhov’s Gun

This cycle had two large infusions of cash. In the 114th House outspoken Republican candidate Bob Romanik loaned his campaign $2 million and he promised to use those funds to both win the E. St. Louis-based state house seat and to help other local candidates upend the local power dynamic. Despite those assertions it doesn’t appear that Romanik pulled the trigger on that spending, he lost his house race by about 14 points and no other candidates reported receiving donations from him (traditional or in-kind) and he didn’t report making any independent expenditures. For more background on Romanik scroll down to the St. Clair county section here.

The other large infusion of cash came on New Year’s Eve 2014 when Bruce Rauner replenished his depleted campaign fund with $20 million and promised to spend that money to help his legislative allies who stuck with him on tough votes. As I pointed out back in August he kept that promise.

 

End of Campaign Finance Limits

Last, Illinois campaign contribution limits are now functionally dead. The laws remain on the books and the campaigns and committees will still have to take the legal steps to circumvent them but the participants are no longer trying to abide by the spirit of the law and with that damn now broke the limits are now just a nuisance rather than a deterrent. Even for proponents of campaign contribution limits lifting the limits wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, that’s what evened the playing field when either significant outside money or candidate personal/family funds entered the race. However limit proponents had hoped that public shaming would prevent committees from lifting the limits solely for the sake of lifting them, but that’s exactly what happened and there was no public outcry. Meanwhile the Democrats learned how to circumvent the limits without having to lift them, creating numerous entryways by co-opting a significant number of the candidate committees in their caucus and then moving the money around as needed.

I remain skeptical that while Supreme Court rulings enabling unlimited personal spending and unlimited outside uncoordinated spending are the law of the land Illinois can enact campaign contribution limits that are both effective and fair but for this next cycle it’s probably a moot point. We’re unlikely to see any significant changes to campaign finance law, what changes are there that a) the Democrats would want to have pass both chambers and b) that the Governor would want to sign that would effectively limit the resources each wants and needs to fight the other in this upcoming election?

 

What to Watch For

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These links will have all my live data tonight:

Statewide Races
IL – President
IL – US Senate
IL – Comptroller
General Assembly Races
Illinois State Senate
Illinois State House
 

What to Watch For

 

Final Early and Vote By Mail Totals

Total Vote By Mail Applications: 493,333
Total VBM Ballots Returned: 352,428
Return Rate: 71%
Total Early Voters: 1,390,019
Total Grace Period Voters: 44,722
   
Total Already Voted: 1,787,169
Total VBM Ballots Outstanding: 140,905

With 140,905 outstanding vote by mail ballots any statewide race closer than that could still be affected by late arriving mail ballots. Also, keep in mind that the election authorities are no longer able to count the votes they already have, the early and mail votes, prior to the polls closing on election night. They used to get a head start counting those votes prior to 7pm, the Attorney General clarified that they cannot do that so in some of these jurisdictions those votes will get counted on election night along with the in-precinct votes and in others those votes will be counted tomorrow or in the following few days.

 

National

This seems like Trump’s most plausible path to 270, it involves winning all of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona and Iowa, plus the available congressional districts in Maine and Nebraska. The eastern timezone states will probably tell us a lot early in the night.

If Trump is doing well he’ll be in a position to win in FL, OH, NC and NH and will be competitive in MI and PA. If Trump wins either of MI or PA a number of paths open up, otherwise he pretty much has to run the table in the swing states.

If Clinton is doing well she’ll be winning MI and PA and possibly NH. If she wins all three she probably wins (although she could substitute Nevada for New Hampshire later in the night too), if she wins any of FL, NC or OH it’s hard to find a path for Trump and she probably has it locked down.

 

US Senate – Illinois

The best benchmark for this race is Kirk’s last victory in 2010. That year was a strong Republican year while this year is not expected to be. Here are two things to keep an eye on.

Downstate – In 2010 the downstate 96 counties were especially strong for the Republicans. Kirk and Brady both got 59% of the vote. The Democrats rebounded in 2012, Romney only got about 53% of the vote there, but the Republicans came back strong in 2014 when Rauner took 61%. Can Kirk replicate the downstate Republican performance of 2010 and 2014 or will the Democrats improve as they did in 2012?

On the Democratic side there is some evidence to suggest that 2010 and 2014 were historically bad. In 2010 Quinn and Giannoulias both took 34% in the downstate 96 counties, same with Quinn in 2014. Even Carol Moseley-Braun took 37% in 1998 and Blagojevich got 40% in his 2006 re-elect, both were thought to be unpopular downstate. In 2004 Kerry took 45% and in 2000 Gore got 46%. The downstate 96 counties will probably make up about 38% of the total statewide vote so Duckworth doesn’t necessarily need to hit the high water marks here, she just has to be better than the atrocious Democratic years of 2010 and 2014.

Suburbs (especially the northern ones) – in 2010 Kirk won his race by about a point and a half and Brady lost to Quinn by about half a point. Most of the difference came in the Cook County suburbs and the collars and most of that difference came in the northern end. Kirk had represented the north shore in Congress and those voters rewarded him in his Senate race. Kirk did about three and a half points better than Brady in the 5 traditional collar counties combined but it was even more pronounced in Lake County where the difference was six and a half points (56.6% to 50.1%). He’s going to need to run just as strong in Lake County again to help his chances.

Tonight we won’t have the township by township results in Cook County (I don’t expect, they usually aren’t available until morning) but we will have the results in the Cook County suburbs overall. Six years ago Kirk ran four points better than Brady (43.5% to 39.5%), he’s going to need to do something similar to help his chances.

 

Comptroller

We haven’t had much polling in this race, at least not recently, so I don’t know what to make of this race. The external factors certainly favor the Democrats but the spending favored Munger. I’ll probably keep an eye on this race relative to the 2014 State Treasurer’s race where Frerichs just barely edged Cross.

The other thing to keep an eye on will be the totals by media market. Both candidates have been on TV but Munger has had more money to spend. It will be interesting to see if there were media markets where she was on TV and Mendoza wasn’t and if that shows up in the vote totals.

 

Housekeeping

I’m going to turn off the system that runs live totals for all of the General Assembly races, each time those pages load the server runs all the calculations to pull the live totals. I want to keep the demand on the server light tonight so you can find a static copy of those current totals HERE.

Election Night Live Results

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Here are links to the pages that I plan to have live on election night:

Statewide Races
IL – President
IL – US Senate
IL – Comptroller
General Assembly Races
Illinois State Senate
Illinois State House

The election night vote totals found on most media organization websites come from the AP. Illinois has 109 election authorities and each report their own vote totals independently, the AP has people gathering those totals from each authority and then providing the aggregate totals for each race. It is a massive and impressive service they perform.

For a number of years now I have wanted to buy access to that data but I cannot. It’s not that I can’t afford it, I always figured that whatever the price I could probably raise enough in sponsor money to meet the amount necessary but the AP just won’t let me. They told me that they only sell access to their election night vote total data to news organizations and since I was not a news organization it was out of the question. I sent a snide response which made me feel better but doesn’t change the outcome.

My only two options are: 1) round up enough volunteers to manually enter vote totals from every county all night, something I did in the 2014 primary but which I don’t have the means to do again or 2) find the data I need from a news organization and then copy/paste that someplace where I can reformat it and run calculations on the totals, something I was able to do on general election night in 2014.

I’ve long been frustrated that on election night you can usually learn little more than who is currently leading and how many precincts have reported. Everyone has the same obvious follow up questions: 1) of the vote that has not yet been reported where is it and 2) of the vote that has not yet been reported who does it favor, by how much and is that enough to close the gap for the candidate that is behind? It’s very rare that anyone attempts to answer those questions even if/when they have the means to do so and it’s something I’d like to do.

If I can somehow find the county by county data I need on Tuesday night and figure out how to copy/paste it into my database that’s exactly what I plan to do for the three statewide races (IL-President, IL-US Senate, IL-Comptroller). For the Illinois State House and State Senate races if I can figure out how to copy/paste those raw vote totals for each race into my database I’ll have a tracker for each chamber that not only shows who is winning and by how much but also how each race affects the overall partisan makeup of each chamber.

The statewide race trackers include both county by county raw vote total as well as projected vote totals. You can find the results broken down by media market and region as well as all of the historical vote totals for each. The General Assembly results pages include a breakdown of of how many seats each party has won or is winning, how many of those wins are pickups and the current and new makeup of each chamber. It also has the races ranked by how much money was spent in each, the most expensive races are likely to be the ones that are the most competitive so that the races getting the most attention are likely to be near each other visually on the page, which will hopefully save some of that annoying scrolling up and down the page we always have to do on election night.

If you are a media organization preparing your election night coverage and you see anything here that you would like to incorporate or would find useful please take it, it’s yours. If there is any information or calculations you have questions about please ask, glad to help. If you would like to return the favor by making the information I need available and showing me the format in advance I would greatly appreciate it. I always spend the 7pm hour scrambling to try to find the data I need and then get the copy/paste and calculations set up because I never know how things are going to look. Any time spent searching and coding is time that can’t be spent analyzing and it’s always a fire drill.

Hopefully I can get the data I need into my database and these trackers will prove pretty useful. If not, I tried, we’re entirely at the mercy of others here.

Updates! Updates! Updates!

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Updates – Illinois State Board of Elections

The omnibus election bill passed late last year requires that after election day each election authority must report the number of uncounted ballots to the State Board of Elections and the SBE must make this data available on their website. You may remember that the 2014 Illinois State Treasurer’s race was too close to call after all of the ballots were counted on election night and the outcome of that race remained in doubt for some time as the vote by mail, early vote and same day registration votes had to be counted before the official winner was determined. Keeping track of the developments in that ballot counting process was difficult because in some cases it was difficult to get information about how many ballots still needed to be counted by each election authority. Hopefully this process will be easier to follow if a similar situation arises in the future as more data will be publicly available.

Since that law went into effect a special election was held to fill the vacancy in the 18th congressional district. In accordance with the new law each election authority sent the State Board of Elections the data about uncounted ballots and the SBE displayed this data on their website, as required. To navigate to this page on the Illinois State Board of Elections website you can go:

Home –> Reporters (top nav bar) –> Uncounted Ballots (center column)

 

Updates – Illinois Election Data

Over the last few months I have updated this website’s various sections with data from both the 2014 general election as well as the 2015 Chicago municipal elections. Additionally I had long been planning to make changes to almost every part of this site and I finally put the work in to do that. Here is a rundown of all the new changes along with a detailed explanation for each.

  • New Look and Feel: the visual layout and design of this website used to look like a 4 year old drew it in crayon. I have made wholesale changes and incorporated a modified version of the Bootstrap framework and it now looks more like a 9 year old drew it in washable marker, which I’m told is an improvement.
  • 2014 Election Cycle Budgets: data now available in the budgets section for all of the 2014 election cycle statewide candidates as well as the targeted congressional races.
  • 2014 Election Cycle Statewide Race Maps: maps now available in the maps section for all of the statewide candidates from the 2014 general election. For example here is the map of Bruce Rauner’s victory by county.
  • 2015 Chicago Municipal Election Maps (general and runoff): maps now available in the maps section for all of the Chicago municipal candidates from the 2015 general and runoff elections. For example here is the map of Rahm Emanuel’s victory by ward in the runoff.
  • New Budgets Back End: the budgets section is a tremendous tool for campaign managers (or designated budget staffers) that can display the past monthly campaign fundraising and spending for so many statewide and congressional races. All of this data used to be static, it was copied and pasted from database work done offsite. Now I have completely rebuilt this section using onsite data hosted in a backend database and the data displayed is derived from calculations run on that database. This work has two advantages, 1) fewer chances for copy/paste errors meaning the displayed data is more likely to be accurate and 2) for those users wishing to study the data more closely you can now quickly see all of the receipts and all of the expenditures in a table that is easy to filter and has a one-touch download button so you can easily download all of the individual transactions and perform whatever further analysis you would like on the underlying data.
  • Reduced Reliance on Google: in order to get this site up and running when it was first launched I used a lot of Google tools to keep from having to do a lot of initial design work, for example I often embedded/displayed data in a Google Spreadsheet instead of displaying data in a formatted HTML table. It didn’t look good then and later when Google made some changes to how they display embedded Google docs it looked even worse. I have since gone back and taken the time to fully develop each section and reduced the reliance on various Google tools and overall most areas are just better now. The lone key exception is the Maps section, all of the vote total maps are overlaid on Google Maps which is still by far my preferred method.

2014 GE Precinct-Level Election Data

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As I mentioned before starting with the 2014 General Election the Illinois State Board of Elections has made precinct-level vote totals available for all races. The State Board offers flat files in csv format for each of the state’s election authorities. I have assembled that data, formatted it and created some interesting tools.

First, to find this new data click on “ANALYSIS” and then “Precinct Level Election Results“. Here is a rundown of what is available:

  • Download Raw/Formatted Data – Click here to download 1) all of the raw data aggregated from the State Board of Elections (flat file); 2) a statewide csv file of all races formatted for use (flat file); and 3) a sample Microsoft Access database that uses the full statewide formatted file plus has some query examples that demonstrate how the data can be used.
  • View Race by Precinct – Click here to select a race and view the election results by precinct. Every race except for the statwides can be viewed by precinct, the statewide races are too large to load on the screen. Instead there is an option to download each of the statwide races that can be opened in any spreadsheet program.
  • View Race by County – Click here to select a race and view the election results by county. This code aggregates the precinct-level database into county by county results. If you are concerned that there is an error in the precinct-level database file you can use this tool to view the county by county totals and compare them to the certified election results and check for discrepancies.
  • View Statewide Race by Districts (Simple Method) – Click here to select a statewide race and view the election results by districts (congressional, state senate or state rep). This process uses the simple method, which has to do with instances where more than one district are represented in a precinct. Using the simple method the entire precinct data is used for any precinct that is in part or in whole in each district. More complicated methods may be available in the future.

Also if you want to see Statewide Race by Districts in table format we have that too:

The statewide file is large, it’s about 1.8 million records so some pages may take a few seconds to load. Also, when looking at statewide races by district (congressional, state senate, state rep) currently the only method available is the Simple Method which includes any precinct that is in whole or in part in the district. I hope to be able to add a more complex apportionment method where precincts that include more than one district have those votes apportioned to one district or another. For reasons I won’t get into you can’t guarantee that one method is more accurate than the other but the apportionment method is generally favored. If you’d like to develop your own methodology for evaluating the data I have made the raw and formatted data available for easy download so you can use it as you wish. In the meantime I wanted to publish what I had here so I could move on to finishing up the maps and then get the 2014 monthly campaign budgets done later this month.

Feel free to contact me with any questions at Scott.Kennedy (at) illinoiselectiondata.com or on Twitter at @ILElectionData.

Enjoy.

Election Night – November General Election

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Back in the primary we pulled together a team of volunteers to manually enter the election returns for the Republican Primary for Governor so that we could break down that data into usable chunks and draw conclusions in real time about how the race was unfolding. We will not be doing that for the general election next month, it’s just not possible. Even if I wanted to I couldn’t pull together the volunteers to perform that full real time analysis for even one race and to do it right it would need to be done for both the Governor’s race and the Treasurer’s race since recent polling shows that both of those races could go either way. (If you would like to do this yourself I’m giving away my tools for free below.)

Someone who is getting a live stream of election data needs to take the lead and format their output to give us the kind of useful data we need. My goal back in the primary was to demonstrate what could be done with all the election return data that comes in on election night if someone turned that data into something usable. These are the most important questions on election night:

  1. Who is leading and by how much?
  2. How much of the vote is in? How much is outstanding?
  3. Which candidates are overperforming/underperforming expectations? By how much? And where?
  4. Of the vote that is not yet reported which candidate does it favor?

Of the four questions above it has long been my frustration that news organizations really only attempt to answer questions 1 and 2 even though they have the means to answer questions 3 and 4 as well. They really only attempt to tell you the entire statewide totals and the number or percentage of the precincts reporting even though the means to provide much more information is easily available to them. You can’t necessarily do this for every race but you can pretty easily put the statewide races into the proper context to either answer questions 3 and 4 or at least provide a pretty good guide.

News organizations can buy a live data stream from the AP, this is where most news organizations get the data they display on their websites on election night. I cannot do this, I tried, I asked for a quote to purchase this data and/or subscribe to the AP’s service and I was explicitly told they would not allow me to be one of their customers because I was not a news organization. Clearly that’s a stupid policy but it’s not exactly shocking news that media people are bad at business.

But since news organizations have access to this data stream it’s not much more work to format this data and run some basic mathematical calculations on the data to display the numbers in a usable format. They already have some developer write code to take the data out of the AP’s data stream and then format it to display correctly on their election night web pages, just add a little extra effort to then display this info in a way that’s helpful for people to understand.

News organizations I IMPLORE YOU use this as a guide and take these tools I am giving away for free and show us the data in a way that allows you to answer all four questions above instead of just the first two. Take the historical data found on this website (and below), take it, I mean literally take it, copy and paste it into your own election night websites or just use iframes and take the data directly from here. Let people compare the real time data with the historical data so they can draw conclusions about which candidates are beating/missing expectations and which candidates are likely to improve their position when the not yet reported election returns come in.

Campaigns, if you’re looking to run your own election night vote counting operation and you want some help you can download the spreadsheets (and instructions) that we used in the primary here:

Download Election Night Vote Counting Spreadsheets and Instructions

 

About Illinois Statewide Elections
There are 102 counties in the state but there are 110 election authorities (102 county and 8 municipal). The eight municipal election authorities are Chicago, Aurora, Galesburg, Bloomington, Peoria, East St. Louis, Danville and Rockford. The county election authorities in the counties where these cities are located only cover the precincts outside of these cities. So for example if you wanted to know how a candidate is performing in Cook County you would have to add that candidate’s totals from both the Cook County Election Authority and the Chicago Board of Elections. So to get totals by county you have to account for these 110 individual inputs of data and add them correctly to be able to display the 102 county totals.

If you have all of the inputs above everything else is pretty easy. You can then add up the totals by media market and/or regions. Media markets are comprised of whole counties so this is an easy calculation. You can see a map of media markets here.

You can also calculate the totals by region. Typically in a general election the City of Chicago will be just under 20% of the total statewide vote and the Cook County suburbs will also be just under 20% of the total statewide vote. The five traditional collar counties (Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will) will account for just under 25% of the total statewide vote and the remaining downstate 96 counties will account for between 35% – 40% of the total statewide vote. These segments have distinct historical voting patterns from one another and the speed of these election returns can vary so it’s useful to see it broken down this way.

Also, if you’d like you can break the vote down by region using the expanded 11 collar counties instead of the traditional 5, for more on that see here.

Most importantly, if you don’t want to take the time to segment all of these counties into these various definitions (by media market, by region, etc.) just download my spreadsheet from the link above, each of the 110 election authorities is already defined for you.

The whole point here is that if you can segment the returns coming in by media market or region and you have historical data to compare it to with the same geographical boundaries you can compare this partial data to the historical data and begin to answer the questions listed in #3 above: “Which candidates are overperforming/underperforming expectations? By how much? And where?”

 

Displaying Data by Media Market
Broadcast TV ads for statewide campaigns are segmented by media market. When campaigns purchase ads they do not necessarily purchase ads in every media market and different media markets are likely to see different ads. Some markets are also more efficient than others, for example the Champaign/Springfield/Decatur market and the Peoria media market are both entirely contained within the state’s borders whereas a market like St. Louis bleeds over into Missouri so you would be paying there to air ads to many people (Missouri residents) who cannot vote in the election. Voters who live in inefficient media markets are likely to see fewer ads than voters in more efficient markets. Since campaigns don’t communicate with all of the state’s voters in the same way or with the same frequency in their paid media it is useful to segment the election returns in a way that mirrors the segmenting used when broadcast TV ads are purchased.

Copy/Paste Historical Media Market Data
You can either copy/paste this data for your own use or you can use the iframes below:

Entire Tab Control:   <iframe src="http://illinoiselectiondata.com/analysis/mmgentabs.php" width="575" height="350" ></iframe>
Dem Perf:   <iframe width=’500′ height=’250′ frameborder=’0′ src=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar6RxFH3Vvz9dEtwYV9zWE5IakxkY2pqOGVITTNvNWc&single=true&gid=0&range=a1%3Aac13&output=html’></iframe>
Rep Perf:   <iframe width=’500′ height=’250′ frameborder=’0′ src=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar6RxFH3Vvz9dEZWTlBYYnh4cF8tdFVvbTNBVHljSkE&single=true&gid=0&range=a1%3Aac13&output=html’></iframe>
Vote Share:   <iframe width=’500′ height=’250′ frameborder=’0′ src=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar6RxFH3Vvz9dG91VHJxZDBKS3hHVzlGeXpmVml4N1E&single=true&gid=0&range=a1%3Aac13&output=html’></iframe>
Turnout:   <iframe width=’500′ height=’250′ frameborder=’0′ src=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar6RxFH3Vvz9dHM1MkdxbEZpWDNFMmUzWHMxR2tqZXc&single=true&gid=0&range=a1%3Ag12&output=html’></iframe>

 

Displaying Data by Region
Bruce Rauner has publicly stated a goal of 20% in the City of Chicago. Prior to 2010 the Cook County suburbs had been a perfect bellweather for the state as a whole, but then 2010 Kirk and 2010 Rutherford became the first two candidates to win statewide without winning the Cook County suburbs for at least the last couple of decades. In the last Governor’s race the downstate vote was historically interesting. Each of these regions has a story to tell.

You can decide for yourself if you’d rather show the regions using the traditional collars or the expanded collars (or both), I’d probably recommend using traditional collars (for an explanation of the difference see here).

Region – Traditional Collars

Copy/Paste Historical Region – Traditional Collars Data
You can either copy/paste this data for your own use or you can use the iframes below:

Entire Tab Control:   <iframe src="http://illinoiselectiondata.com/analysis/tradcollarsgentabs.php" width="575" height="275" ></iframe>
Dem Perf:   <iframe width=’500′ height=’160′ frameborder=’0′ src=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar6RxFH3Vvz9dEx3ZmpmVnN0eGtMMW03RjlvNEk5Ync&single=true&gid=0&range=a1%3Aac8&output=html’></iframe>
Rep Perf:   <iframe width=’500′ height=’160′ frameborder=’0′ src=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar6RxFH3Vvz9dHVyV0x1Y1RHUGRkLUV2eTVmRW1lM0E&single=true&gid=0&range=a1%3Aac8&output=html’></iframe>
Vote Share:   <iframe width=’500′ height=’160′ frameborder=’0′ src=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar6RxFH3Vvz9dERUSF9yYzdKZzBTRGpUU1pkQk9NM2c&single=true&gid=0&range=a1%3Aac8&output=html’></iframe>
Turnout:   <iframe width=’500′ height=’160′ frameborder=’0′ src=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar6RxFH3Vvz9dG5oRGRGc3hsakY2NHdLNDBIY1Bobnc&single=true&gid=0&range=a1%3Ag7&output=html’></iframe>

 

Region – Expanded Collars

Copy/Paste Historical Region – Expanded Collars Data
You can either copy/paste this data for your own use or you can use the iframes below:

Entire Tab Control:   <iframe src="http://illinoiselectiondata.com/analysis/expcollarsgentabs.php" width="575" height="275" ></iframe>
Dem Perf:   <iframe width=’500′ height=’160′ frameborder=’0′ src=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar6RxFH3Vvz9dEd2ZmhSV3VCNnZqUTdFUGZTak92WlE&single=true&gid=0&range=a1%3Aac8&output=html’></iframe>
Rep Perf::   <iframe width=’500′ height=’160′ frameborder=’0′ src=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar6RxFH3Vvz9dGNPWVFDaWZoVVBCa3NzOXJJV1pucXc&single=true&gid=0&range=a1%3Aac8&output=html’></iframe>
Vote Share:   <iframe width=’500′ height=’160′ frameborder=’0′ src=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar6RxFH3Vvz9dGxNVXlnRTItZ2RFUUpNeElrd3lqU2c&single=true&gid=0&range=a1%3Aac8&output=html’></iframe>
Turnout:   <iframe width=’500′ height=’160′ frameborder=’0′ src=’https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ar6RxFH3Vvz9dG1WTlRuOUtwRF95WnhNUjBXVW16cmc&single=true&gid=0&range=a1%3Ag7&output=html’></iframe>

 

Projecting the Uncounted Vote
The last question that everyone has on election night but very few even attempt to answer has to do with the votes that haven not yet been counted/reported. Which candidate does it favor?

There are any number of really complicated ways you can attempt to project an answer to that question, I’m going to go over two pretty simple methods. However they each have their drawbacks.

Method 1 – Extend the Current Voting Patters
I used this method when we covered the 2014 Republican Primary for Governor last spring. For each of the 110 different local election authorities I simply applied the current vote ratio and extrapolated those numbers as if 100% of that area’s precincts had reported. For example, if in one area 5 out of 10 precincts have reported and Candidate A had 100 votes and Candidate B has 80 votes the extrapolated Projected totals would be that Candidate A is projected to receive 200 votes and Candidate B is projected to receive 160 votes in that area. Do that for all 110 election authorities and add up the results to get the projected totals.

It’s a very simple projection formula and it performs poorly very early in the night when only a few precincts have reported. It obviously gets better with more data. It’s the sum of 110 separate calculations which is helpful but it also assumes an even partisan (or candidate support) distribution within each of those 110 election authorities which in some instances is an incorrect assumption. But it’s a pretty basic calculation that is easy to perform and will get you a decent projection.

However as I learned the hard way on election night last spring early voting can cause some trouble in the calculation. There were many counties that were reporting only their early voting totals and listed zero precincts reporting for a few hours before any of their returns started showing up. This will cause some problems with your calculations so you’ll need to account for this.

You can use this method to both project what the final results might look like based on current vote totals and also to predict which candidate is favored to win the support of the yet uncounted vote.

Method 2 – Use A Generic Partisan Baseline
Method 1 creates projections based on actual candidate performance, this method is based on a baseline of generic partisan expectations.

For example, let’s say you started with the Cook Partisan Voting Index for each of Illinois’ 18 congressional districts and assigned them a partisan score. You could then take a weighted average of each district’s uncounted vote weighted by this partisan score. Let’s say that the only uncounted precincts remaining in the entire state were in the 5th and 6th CD’s. Let’s say that 25% of the vote in the 5th CD was still not reported and 50% of the 6th CD. If the 5th is D+16 and the 6th is R+4 then you could use these figures and get a weighted average of the expected generic partisan makeup of the yet unreported vote. Obviously you wouldn’t want to use this method if you’r expecting a strong 3rd party candidate vote.

The other problem with this methodology is the Cook Partisan Voting Index itself, you’d probably want to normalize it to more realistically match the current election. The Cook PVI combines the last two Presidential elections by congressional district and scores them relative to the national average. So if a district is listed as R+4 it means that the Presidential vote in that congressional district over the last two Presidential elections was 4 points more Republican than the national average. If you were to take an average of all 18 congressional districts in Illinois you’d come up with a Cook PVI for the State of Illinois at a little over D+8, this means that in the last two presidential elections the State of Illinois was about 8 points more Democratic than the country as a whole.

Well obviously there are a few problems with that, 1) this isn’t a Presidential year election, it’s an off year election and the electorate is going to be more Republican leaning than in Presidential years, and 2) in the last two Presidential elections Illinois elected a favorite son so that would artificially inflate the Democratic support. If you were going to try to use the PVI in this way you’d want to normalize it to offset both of the issues above.

Conclusion
Please, please, please give us better, more useful data on election night. Please. If you have any questions you can find my contact info here.

IL-GOV 3rd Party Support

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With Libertarian candidate Chad Grimm on the ballot for Governor’s race I thought I’d pull up some data on historical 3rd party support. Here’s a table showing the 3rd party support for each statewide race since 2002.

Race 2012 2010 2008 2006 2004 2002
President 1.65% 1.30% 0.70%
US Senate 5.57% 3.63% 2.98% 1.65%
Governor 7.28% 10.95% 2.74%
AG 3.63% 3.30% 2.51%
SOS 3.11% 4.15% 2.24%
Comptroller 6.49% 4.26% 4.23%
Treasurer 5.06% 4.82% 1.92%

I knew there was strong 3rd party support in the 2006 and 2010 Governors races but until I looked this up I didn’t realize that a non-trivial level of support for 3rd party candidates is pretty common. There are a lot of races here between 3% – 5%.

The other thing I have noticed is that Grimm’s polling has been really consistent (see the tracker below). For the polls in the last month (at the time of this writing) his support scores are 5.88%, 5.00%, 5.00%, 6.00%, 6.00%, 5.00% and 7.27%, it doesn’t get much more consistent than that.

I’m still not entirely sure where Grimm’s election day support will fall, it’s entirely possible that a number of poll respondents who are pledging support for him could either not show up or undervote the Governor’s race. They could still also be won over by one of the two major party candidates. But for now I feel a bit more confident about a narrower range than I was expecting before I looked this up.

Constitutional Office Candidates Current Cash Position (beta)

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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

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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.