First, an announcement:
I know I said I wasn't going to be able to post any live election results on election night the way were able to back in the primary but I spent some time looking at the way we were able to find data in the primary and I may actually post some stuff on the Governor's race and the Treasurer's race on election night if things work out as I hope. No guarantee, but if some data availability is similar to the primary I may be able to automate part of the data collection process. If so and I only have to do a little bit of manual data entry then I'll turn it on and make it available. I already wrote all the forumlas and built a dashboard to display everything so either it's doable & we have a bunch of really interesting info or you're at the mercy of the news orgs again. I'll do what I can.
What to Watch For:
Election day is two days away, here's what to watch for on election night to give you a sense of how things are going:
- Rauner has a publicly stated goal of reaching 20% in the City of Chicago (2010 Brady had 17.41%). Keep an eye on the Chicago returns to see if he's meeting this goal. Rauner has been a more frequent campaigner on the south and west sides of Chicago than his Republican predecessors, a strategy that has won both praise and criticism, it will be interesting to see if it pays off.
- In the Cook County suburbs in 2010 Brady only got 39.50% and came up just short while Kirk took 43.47% and had a narrow win. Rauner is going to try to get a level of support that matches Kirk's 2010 numbers. In 2010 Quinn got 53.63% and he'll try to hold that. Recent polling in this area has had Quinn in the mid-50's and Rauner in the low 40's so it's worth watching closely. (see below for the poll tracker and regional support tabs)
- In 2010 the Democrats downstate numbers were historically, abnormally low. The Democrats downstate support bounced back to numbers more historically consistent by 2012 so it should be very difficult for Rauner to repeat Brady's 58.66% downstate. However as Governor, Pat Quinn has closed a number of downstate facilities for budget reasons and his little known primary opponent was able to win a number of counties in Central and Southern Illinois so Quinn's downstate bounce isn't as high as you might expect. (note: you might be tempted to attribute Brady's 2010 downstate success to being a downstater but actually Kirk won an even greater percentage of the downstate vote than Brady did so it wasn't a regional support issue, downstaters in 2010 just went overwhelmingly Republican regardless of where the candidate was from)
- If I am able to publish live election night results you'll be able to see exactly how the candidates in both the Governor's race and the Treasurer's race are performing in each of these regions. If not you're on your own and it's unlikely you're going to be able to find this info from any of the news organizations. If you're looking for three bellweather counties that may give you an indication of how downstate is going I'd recommend looking at Madison, Fulton and Franklin counties. Each county has traditionally been a county that typically slightly favors the Democrats but that they were only able to score in the low 40's in 2010.
- Libertarian Chad Grimm has been polling in the 4-7% range and the conventional wisdom is that he is disproportionately taking those votes from Rauner. In the 2010 Governor's race the various 3rd party candidates combined to take 7.28% of the vote. The higher Grimm's support the more voters Rauner is going to have to win over elsewhere to win the race.
- There hasn't been a lot of polling in this race but what polling there is shows this race is essentially a coin flip. Cross is going to look to replicate Rauner's goals above, Frerichs is going to hope to match Quinn's goals in the Chicago media market and hope to exceed Quinn's support downstate.
Look at the polling list below, I do have some concern. A few of these polls have some issues, the rest all come from the same pollster. Here's a list of issues:
- The McKeon poll is so weird it's hard to have any faith in it. I could be a lot more specific and a lot meaner but let's just call it weird and move on.
- The Rasmussen poll doesn't even list Grimm by name, it just has a category for other. There are some recent CBS/NYT/YouGov polls that have the same flaw that I didn't even bother listing for the same reason. This is a three candidate race, polling a two candidate race isn't going to give you great polling.
- The Tribune poll in September showed a level of Democratic participation that would have been a record in a midterm election if it actually happened, there was probably just an excessive amount of Democrats in the sample. The October poll showed historically high Republican support in some subsets, the Collars in particular. Did they over correct on the 2nd sample? Are they just getting weird samples? Or maybe, are they getting something right that others are missing? Because of the large swing from one poll to the other the latter question seems unlikely but who knows.
- And then you look at the Sun-Times, Reboot Illinois, Illinois Observer and Capitol Fax polls and you get concerned that they all use the same pollster, We Ask America. It's nice that we have so many WAA polls and they show consistency within a reasonable range of values but however well researched and well intentioned their likely voter model and weighting is it's a very hard thing to get right. If their assumptions are off by even a little bit you may find that the results on election night don't exactly match your expectations from looking at recent polling.
Governor's Race Poll Tracker
Historical Results By Region (Traditional Collars)