The Downstate Vote

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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 primary 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.

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.

Post Mortem: IL-GOV 2014 Primary

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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.

Announcement – Live Election Night Results

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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.

Updated Data: 2012 Targeted IL Congressionals

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As promised I have the updated quick glance and scorecards for the 6 targeted congressional districts in Illinois with the exception of some of the data in IL-17. The Peoria and Tazewell county clerks have not yet published their precinct-level election returns for 2012GE so I haven’t yet been able to pull the Presidential race and turnout info for that district, I’ll update everything once that data is available. Since everything else was ready I saw no need to delay publishing this. As always, you can find this data in the VOTE ANALYSIS section.

Take a look at the table below. The first three column in the table show the Dem Perf/Rep Perf/Diff for the congressional race and then the last three columns show the Dem Perf/Rep Perf/Diff for the Presidential race:

Cong D Cong R Diff   Obama Romney Diff
IL-08 54.74% 45.26% D +09.48   57.35% 40.97% D +16.38
IL-10 50.63% 49.37% D +01.25   57.47% 41.19% D +16.28
IL-11 58.39% 41.31% D +17.08   57.32% 40.95% D +16.37
IL-12 51.65% 42.74% D +08.91   49.62% 48.17% D +01.44
IL-13 46.21% 46.55% R +00.34   48.26% 49.19% R +00.93
IL-17 53.28% 46.72% D +06.55   N/A N/A N/A

A few things jump out at me:

  • In IL-08 Obama did about two and a half points better than Duckworth while Walsh did more than 4 points better than Romney. As you can see from the Obama statewide numbers he may have done poorly downstate but he was surprisingly strong in the collar counties.
  • In IL-10 Obama was almost 7 points better than Schneider and Dold was more than 8 points better than Romney. As previously noted Obama ran well in the suburbs but it’s also hard not to conclude that Dold just ran very well as a Republican in a Democrat-friendly district.
  • In IL-11 there was little difference between the congressional race and the presidential race, Foster ran about a point stronger than Obama while Biggert was about four tenths of a point stronger than Romney. The two races basically mirrored each other so it doesn’t appear any of the four candidates enjoyed a local advantage.
  • I previously noted that Obama ran much poorer than Democratic State Senate candidates in downstate districts, particularly in the southern half of the state so it’s no surprise that in IL-12 Enyart was 2 points stronger than Obama, however it is somewhat a surprise that Plummer ran about five and a half points worse than Romney. While Enyart didn’t get into the race until well after the primary when the Democratic nominee withdrew Plummer was the early choice of the local party faithful, was independently wealthy and came from a family with strong business ties to the area so he was expected to be a strong contender for this seat but for whatever reason he didn’t perform up to expectations. Plummer lost his race by almost 9 points in a district Obama only won by about a point and a half. Maybe it wasn’t winnable for Plummer if Romney couldn’t best Obama who struggled downstate but I’m still surprised this wasn’t closer.
  • IL-13 was the closest of the targeted races for both the congressional race and the presidential race. Most notable about this race was that independent 3rd party candidate John Hartman from Edwardsville took 7.24% of the vote in a race where Republican Rodney Davis edged Democrat David Gill by 0.34% overall. The presidential race wasn’t much different, Romney edged Obama by just under a point. This was the most Republican leaning of the 6 targeted congressional districts so it’s no surprise that this was the district where the Republicans performed the best.
  • I noted previously that Obama ran particularly well in the Quad Cities media market where some of the northwestern Illinois counties were exposed to the same advertising that voters in eastern Iowa saw. I don’t yet have districtwide totals for the presidential race because two election authorities don’t yet have their precinct-level vote totals published but if you look at the counties that we do have data for you’ll notice that it appears that Obama ran much stronger than Bustos did, and Bustos won her race by six and half points. This strong showing at the top of the ticket helps explain why Democratic State Senator Mike Jacobs was able to win reelection by almost 10 points in the 36th senate district despite pre-election polls that showed him far behind.

For quick comparison by district to past races here’s the Quick Glance:

IL-08 IL-10 IL-11 IL-12 IL-13 IL-17 Statewide
12CONG D +09.48 D +01.25 D +17.08 D +08.91 R +00.34 D +06.55  
12PRES D +16.38 D +16.28 D +16.37 D +01.44 R +00.93   D +16.87
10SEN R +11.33 R +12.79 R +06.28 R +08.52 R +18.72 R +14.84 R +01.59
10GOV R +07.64 R +00.93 R +03.96 R +06.08 R +19.99 R +14.59 D +00.69
10AG D +27.10 D +30.96 D +29.26 D +19.73 D +18.25 D +22.90 D +33.07
10SOS D +39.33 D +41.61 D +41.56 D +27.14 D +28.91 D +33.39 D +42.85
10COMP R +26.34 R +21.08 R +18.49 R +10.04 R +24.79 R +16.74 R +11.74
10TREAS R +19.11 R +13.19 R +12.39 R +04.70 R +19.97 R +09.76 R +04.42
08PRES D +21.18 D +25.57 D +21.32 D +10.99 D +09.31 D +19.37 D +25.14
08SEN D +34.08 D +37.08 D +33.53 D +30.06 D +29.97 D +35.27 D +39.31
06GOV   D +08.28   D +14.74   D +08.31 D +10.55
06AG   D +51.06   D +33.62   D +32.84 D +48.20
06SOS   D +32.87   D +24.01   D +24.23 D +29.79
06COMP   D +30.45   D +27.21   D +27.33 D +32.76
06TREAS   D +09.18   D +11.67   D +10.53 D +12.70
04PRES       D +02.57   D +06.20 D +10.34
04SEN       D +33.15   D +38.42 D +42.92

And as always you can find the full scorecards for each district by clicking on VOTE ANALYSIS on the top toolbar and then scrolling down to “Congressional District Analysis” or just follow this direct link.

If you find an error or you think something might be wrong let me know. In order to compile this data I have to aggregate data from many different sources and then try and format it so that it all fits together. There’s a lot of copying and pasting involved and even though I check and doublecheck for mistakes they’re still pretty easy to make.

2012 IL Election Analysis

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Here are some thoughts on the data that stood out after looking at the various data points from the 2012 election in Illinois, in no particular order:

  • Illinois was not a contested state so it would certainly have been different in some ways if the two candidates had contested the election here. It’s impossible to tell in what way it would have changed though.
  • Of the 9 contested swing states two of them bordered Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa, none of the Wisconsin media markets bleed into Illinois though. However the Quad Cities media market covers both Illinois and Iowa and Obama performed very strongly in the Illinois counties in this media market relative to the rest of the state. He took 55.43% in the Quad Cities media market. Just glancing at the county totals map it becomes apparent that there must be some local geographic democratic performance explanation for the counties closest to the Quad Cities as there is a cluster of counties with strong Obama performance that is unmatched anywhere else in the state. Obama got over 60% in Rock Island county, over 55% in Whiteside, Knox and Henderson, had over 50% in Henry, Mercer and Warren and even won Carroll and JoDaviess with narrow pluaralities. The only two counties Romney won in the media market were Stark county by a very significant margin and Bureau county by less than two tenths of a point. Perhaps Obama was carried on the coattails of the contested congressional race in this area but since Bustos lost many of these counties that Obama won the more likely explanation is that Obama performed well in the areas that were heavily exposed to both campaigns’ TV ads.
  • As for the rest of downstate Obama’s county wins were mostly limited to counties with large college towns like Dekalb (Northern Illinois University), Champaign (U of I), Peoria (Bradley), and Jackson (SIU). He also won St. Clair and Alexander, two counties that were won by both Quinn and Giannoulias in 2010 a year in which the Democrats did historically poor in 2010, plus Winnebago and Fulton with majorities.
  • The 2012 election in Illinois would be largely unremarkable compared to 2008 but for the fact that in between those two elections was the Republican landslide year of 2010, a year in which much of the state behaved in ways not seen since 1994. Since 1990 the worst performing Democratic candidate downstate was Dawn Clark Netsch’s 28% in her gubernatorial run in 1994 (the last Republican landslide year) but that was not at all a competitive election, she lost by 30 points statewide (64-34). A typical democratic performance in the downstate 96 counties for a Democrat in a competitive election is somewhere in the mid 40s, this was true for Obama 2012 (45%), Giannoulias 2006 (45%), Kerry 2004 (45%), Blagojevich 2002 (46%), Madigan 2002 (46%) and Gore 2000 (46%). Even native downstaters in competitive elections Poshard in 1998 (49%) and Durbin in 1996 (50%) performed only slightly better. The low point in a competitive election prior to 2010 for an actual competitive election was for Carol Mosely-Braun in 1998 (37%), a race she only lost by 3 points statewide. Despite all of Braun’s troubles in her 1998 campaign she still outperformed Quinn’s narrow 2010 victory and Giannoulias’ narrow 2010 loss downstate, they both only took 34% downstate. So after the historic drubbing the Democrats received in 2010 and the much discussed problems Obama had with white voters, rural voters and especially rural whites it was quite noticeable to see the President’s democratic performance in the downstate 96 counties return to typical levels.
  • It was a strong year for Democrats locally and nationally so much of the analysis is disproportionately tilted toward the Democrats but it wasn’t all good, at least not for Obama. The Illinois Senate Dems won a historic supermajority of 40 seats (30 is a majority, 36 is a supermajority) including several key targeted downstate races where Obama performed much more poorly than the local State Senate candidate. (you can see maps of these districts here) In central Illinois Andy Manar won the hotly contested 48th State Senate district by more than 10 points but Obama didn’t win any of the counties in this district. In western Illinois John Sullivan won re-election in the 47th State Senate district by 12 points and the only counties that Obama won in this district were in the vote-light portion in the northern part of the district. In deep southern Illinois perennial target Gary Forby won the southernmost 59th State Senate District by 18 points despite the fact that Obama only won Alexander and Jackson (partial) counties. In the Metro East Bill Haine won his targeted re-election race in the 56th State Senate district by 18 points despite the fact that the President had a narrow loss in Madison county. In fact every countywide election in Madison County was won by the Democratic candidate despite the fact that the President had a narrow loss in the county.
  • In the Gubernatorial blowout year of 1994 when Republican Jim Edgar beat Democrat Dawn Clark Netsch by 30 points Netsch only won one county, Gallatin County, in deep southern Illinois. In 2012 Romney won Gallatin county by 18 points.
  • Obama once again won the 5 traditional collar counties collectively, winning all but McHenry county outright. Democrats in competitive elections have performed better in the collar counties in Presidential election years than off years. In Presidential election years Obama 2012 (51%), Obama 2008 (56%), Kerry 2004 (45%), Gore 2000 (44%) and Durbin 1996 (45%) were much stronger than off-year elections like Quinn 2010 (39%), Giannoulias 2010 (38%), Blagojevich 2006 (42%), Giannoulias 2006 (46%), Blagojevich 2002 (39%), Madigan 2002 (36%), Poshard 1998 (32%), Mosely-Braun 1998 (36%), and Hartigan 1990 (36%).
  • Not only are Democrats showing strength in the collar counties, once the GOP stronghold, but the vote share coming from the collar counties is increasing as well. As recently as 1998 the vote share among the regions was the easy to remember 20/20/20/40, meaning 20% of the statewide vote came from the City of Chicago, 20% from the Cook County suburbs, 20% from the 5 traditional collar counties and 40% from the downstate 96 counties. However that balance of power has shifted towards an increasing vote share coming from the collar counties at the expense of downstate. Now it’s almost 25% of the statewide vote coming from the 5 collar counties while both the city of Chicago and the Cook County suburbs are responsible for about 19% each and the remaining 37% coming from the downstate 96 counties. So not only are the collar counties trending more Democratic but they are also responsible for an increasing amount of the overall vote statewide.
  • The Democrats had been making inroads into both Will and Lake counties for some time but that momentum came to an abrupt halt in 2010. For example in 2006 Democrats Blagojevich (GOV) and Giannoulias (TREAS) won narrow pluralities in both Lake and Will counties in their competitive elections. However in 2010 Lake County was a strong performer for area native Mark Kirk and Will County had a particularly well organized Tea Party faction. Yet in 2012 Obama carried both Lake (53%) and Will (52%), clear victories in both cases.
  • Despite all the attention given to voter enthusiasm (or lack thereof) among various political parties, subgroups of voters or the electorate as a whole the actual turnout was pretty much consistent with past turnout. In Illinois a typical presidential year election gets turnout around 70% and in an off-year election the turnout is in the ballpark of 50%. In the past three presidential election years the statewide turnout was 2012 (70.2%), 2008 (71.6%) and 2004 (71.3%) and in the last three off years it was 2010 (50.5%), 2006 (48.7%) and 2002 (51.9%). For all the hype surrounding this enthusiastic electorate in 2008 it turns out the 2008 turnout was only .3% higher than 2004 in Illinois and the falloff to 2012 was 1.4%, a drop but not much. Almost all of that drop-off came from the Cook County suburbs and the collar counties, Chicago turnout was actually up a bit while downstate turnout remained flat.
  • The 2012 election featured a notable discussion on wealth and how tax policy affects the various economic classes in the country. Additionally the preceding four years included a number of policy initiatives from the Obama White House geared toward reform of financial investing and the Republican nominee was well known for his successful private equity firm and abundant wealth. It was therefore interesting to look at the Obama performance in the wealthy north shore, specifically New Trier township in Cook County notable for its wealthy communities but also its historically competitive Democratic performance. Obama’s 2012 performance in New Trier was 54%, down from a notable high of 63% in 2008 but still rather favorable when viewed against historical Democratic performance in past competitive elections such as Quinn 2010 (47%), Blagojevich 2006 (42%), Giannoulias 2006 (47%), Kerry 2004 (56%), Blagojevich 2002 (47%), Madigan 2002 (48%), Gore 2000 (52%), Poshard 1998 (30%), Mosely Braun 1998 (49%), Durbin 1996 (60%) and Hartigan 1990 (32%). Obama lost 9 points in this highly affluent area between 2008 and 2012 but even with that performance degradation his 2012 performance in New Trier township still put him among the top tier of past statewide candidates in competitive elections in the township.
  • In the City of Chicago the affluent communities are downtown in wards like 42 and 43. County and township boundaries don’t change but ward boundaries are redrawn after each census and the most recent boundary change just happened so comparing this year’s ward totals to historical performance isn’t exactly apples to apples but it’s notable that both wards 42 & 43 saw about a 9 point drop in Obama’s performance from 2008 to 2012, mirroring that of New Trier township. However even with that performance drop Obama was still over 60% in both wards. In fact there was only one ward in the city that held Obama under 60% and that was the far northwest side 41st ward which has long been the Republican party’s most favorable ward, but even there he won 53-45. In the City of Chicago overall Obama dropped about 1.5% from 2008 to 2012 but he still took 84% in the City and turnout in Chicago was up whereas it was down everywhere else. When a Democrat takes 84% in the City and turnout is up in the City relative to other parts of the state it’s usually a very strong sign that the Democrat is going to perform well.
  • I’ll have more on the 6 contested congressional races once I finish tabulating the scorecards for those districts but for now you can view the district boundaries here and here are the official results for IL-08: (Duckworth (D) 55% – Walsh (R) 45%), IL-10: (Schneider (D) 51% – DOld (R) 49%), IL-11: (Foster (D) 59% – Biggert (R) 41%), IL-12: (Enyart (D) 52% – Plummer (R) 43%), IL-13: (Davis (R) 46.6% – Gill (D) 46.2%) and IL-17: (Bustos (D) 53% – Schilling (R) 47%).

Updated Data: 2012 IL-PRES Maps & Vote Analysis

Published on

The Illinois State Board of Elections met to certify the vote totals on Sunday night. There was only one statewide race this cycle so I updated the maps and the various vote analysis spreadsheets and they are now available. As always, general election maps can be found in the MAPS section and vote analysis spreadsheets can be found in the VOTE ANALYSIS section. If you’re ever looking for more data than what is displayed just send me an email and if I have it I’ll send it to you regardless of who you are or who you work for.

MAPS

Here are direct links to the 2012 Presidential race maps:

For now the maps only display the color-coded performance of the Democratic candidate. For an explanation to that and answers to other map related questions see the maps FAQ.

VOTE ANALYSIS

Here are direct links to the spreadsheets that include the 2012 Presidential race and allow you to compare performance, turnout and vote share by county, ward, township, media market and region (both traditional & expanded collars) to historical data:

BY COUNTY

BY CHICAGO WARD

BY COOK COUNTY TOWNSHIP

BY MEDIA MARKET

BY REGION (TRADITIONAL COLLARS)

BY REGION (EXPANDED COLLARS

For an explanation on the difference between traditional and expanded collars or any other questions see the Vote Share FAQ.

The data update schedule I laid out previously looks to be on schedule. I’ve started assembling the data to update the 6 targeted congressional races already and all I’m waiting on is for a few local county/municipal clerks to update their websites with the official precinct-level results. Whenever they do it’s only about two days worth of work to get the updated congressional data up. Also I’ve already started assembling the financial records for past statewide candidates to get the campaign budget data for constitutional candidates, I’m guessing sometime around January for that. Plus, I’ve finally figured out how (conceptually) to update the MAPS section so that you can see a color coded map for more than just one candidate. It’s going to take a lot of backend coding (and trial and error) so I have no idea when that will actually be available but at least I’m pretty sure it’s a possibility now. Enjoy.