WE ARE ILLINOIS
Poll by Hare's foe shows 17th Congressional District is in play
By Bernard Schoenburg - State Journal-Register
Is U.S. Rep. PHIL HARE, D-Ill., in jeopardy of losing to a Republican in the 17th Congressional District?
His GOP challenger, BOBBY SCHILLING, certainly thinks so, and the campaign has results of a poll it commissioned that shows Schilling leading Hare by a whopping 13 points — certainly not an expected result with the oddly shaped 17th that was designed to be Democratic.
MAGGIE DEPOORTER, political director of Hare’s re-election bid, is quick to dismiss the survey.
“This poll isn’t even worth the paper it was printed on,” she said. “It’s a Republican automated poll, plain and simple. It is no surprise that Mr. Schilling is trying to create the illusion that he is winning this race, but a 13-point lead doesn’t even pass the laugh test.”
Schilling takes heart in not only his own poll numbers, but that the Hare campaign did polling of its own but hasn’t released its totals.
When I asked, Depoorter said Cooper & Secrest Associates, Alexandria, Va., did “a reputable, 30-minute, person-to-person poll, as opposed to the quick automated survey Schilling did. It showed we had a double-digit lead. We have seen nothing since that would suggest otherwise.” That poll was done in February, and had 500 respondents, Depoorter said.
The poll for Schilling, a Colona resident who owns a pizza restaurant in Moline, was done July 12 by Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies of Denver and shows Schilling with a 45-32 percent margin, with 23 percent undecided.
Magellan is run by DAVID FLAHERTY, whose political experience included working for the Republican National Committee and helping with the campaign of GOP congressional candidate MARK BAKER, who put a scare into Hare’s predecessor, U.S. Rep. LANE EVANS, D-Rock Island, in the pre-remap 17th by getting 48 percent of the vote in 1998.
Flaherty said he would expect the Hare campaign to dismiss his poll “regardless of its methodology, origin or structure.”
“I stand by the survey,” he said. “It is an accurate reflection of voter opinion at this time.”
Hare, a former Evans aide who became the nominee when Evans didn’t seek re-election in 2006 due to illness, easily won that year and ran unopposed for re-election in 2008. But that’s sure not the case this year, and Flaherty says his polling in various states is showing an anti-Congress mood.
“There is no doubt, based on the results of this survey, that this will be a very competitive race and Republican candidate Bobby Schilling should be in a position to win this fall,” Flaherty said.
His firm does both live-call and automated-call polling, but its website says that higher numbers of respondents of the automated type — used in the Schilling survey and using recorded voices asking for touch-tone responses — helps bring down the margin of error. The poll for Schilling was of 715 likely voters.
Flaherty insists that the poll was straightforward, and the only questions that gave positive information about Schilling came after the head-to-head question.
Among earlier questions, when people are asked if all they know is that one candidate is from each major party, the GOP candidate won 44-35, with 21 percent undecided. On another question about the direction of the country, 71 percent answered “wrong track,” while 29 percent said things are going in the “right direction.”
Asked about Hare’s job, 27 percent approved, 43 percent disapproved and 30 percent had no opinion. And asked if Hare has done a good job and deserves another term or “is it time to give someone else a chance to do a better job?” 50 percent go for someone else, 24 percent for Hare and 26 percent are undecided.
DePoorter says the fact that the independent Gallup organization just found Democrats leading in the generic congressional question makes the Schilling poll result “even more ridiculous.”
In that Gallup poll of 1,535 registered voters interviewed nationwide July 12-18, 49 percent said they would prefer a Democrat, to 43 percent who chose the GOP. However, more Republicans said they are “very enthusiastic” about voting.
Depoorter noted that political observer STUART ROTHENBERG on Thursday listed 88 House seats in play across the country — and the list doesn’t include the 17th. She predicts that come Election Day, Hare will win “comfortably.”
The Gallup organization noted that a shift to Democrats came the same week the U.S. Senate passed a major financial reform bill touted as reining in Wall Street. That’s interesting, because it’s among issues on which Hare and Schilling differ.
“This landmark legislation will help guarantee that we never put working families at risk because of Wall Street greed and abuse,” Hare said in a news release.
Schilling opposed the measure.
“This bill was written by Wall Street lobbyists,” he said. And while “we’re all for reform,” he said he still thinks it will allow companies to be “too big to fail,” and “didn’t address” the mortgage-buying agencies known as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which he said is “where the housing meltdown came from.”
“And look at the guys that are in charge” of the legislation, Schilling said, naming U.S. Sen. CHRIS DODD, D-Conn., and U.S. Rep. BARNEY FRANK, D-Mass. “I mean, two guys that helped the meltdown happen are putting this thing together. It’s like having the bank robber go into the bank. … The little community banks and the regular banks are going to pass all the fees down to us.”
Depoorter noted that the National Small Business Association supported the bill, as did the Community Bankers Association of Illinois. Those folks, she said, are “not exactly what you’d call Wall Street lobbyists.”
“Congressman Hare is for holding Wall Street accountable,” she said. “Mr. Schilling thinks the problem will fix itself, a view totally out of the mainstream.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect GOP members to House districts nationwide, has taken some notice of Schilling, moving him from its “on the radar” to “contender” status, which is still one step below its “young guns” list.
While a spokesman for the NRCC said there are district-by-district criteria for the lists, Schilling said he needed $200,000 in cash on hand to be a “contender,” and the $211,225 he had as of June 30 made the cut. He also said the large number of individual donors shows grass-roots strength.
For the three-month period ended June 30, Schilling began with about $110,000, raised nearly $139,000 and spent about $37,000. Hare began the period with $745,000, raised $180,000, spent $69,500 and ended the period with nearly $856,000 on hand.
Hare has come face-to-face with some of the anti-Congress frenzy, such as an April 1 Quincy meeting designed to discuss health care with seniors. Hare ended up being badgered by people including a non-senior blogger from a St. Louis suburb who kept asking about the constitutionality of health-care legislation until Hare said, “I care more about people that are dying every day that don’t have health insurance.” It was a “jackpot” moment for the blogger.
Schilling’s son, TERRY, who is also campaign manager, was at the meeting. A Hare spokesman has said Hare repeatedly said at that meeting that he supports the Constitution.
Just days later, at a tea party rally in Springfield, Schilling said, “When I’m elected, I promise that I will uphold the Constitution. … When the founders put this thing together, they didn’t say that this was a cafeteria constitution.”
He also said he would limit his time in the House to eight years, would reject the congressional pension, not take pay raises and use his own health insurance for his family.
In a Jan. 1 news release, Schilling compared himself to a Roman patriot.
“As Cincinnatus left private life to save Rome and restore her glory, I seek now to chart a similar path — a path to restore the glory of America.”
He was a bit more down to earth at the tea party event.
“My name is Bobby Schilling,” he said there. “I have 10 kids, and I drive a Harley.”
Whether he drives into that House seat remains a question.
SOURCE: State Journal-Register
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