Clinton tops Trump in Illinois, Duckworth remains in lead for Senate, Loras College Poll finds

DUBUQUE, Iowa – In its new survey of Illinois, the Loras College Poll finds Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with a strong lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump. The poll also finds Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth with a lead over incumbent Republican Mark Kirk in the race for the U.S. Senate.

Presidential candidate preference, four-way matchup

   
Hillary Clinton  45 percent
Donald Trump  34 percent
Gary Johnson   6 percent
Jill Stein   2 percent
Unsure   13 percent
   

(Percentages may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.)

“While this election season has been a volatile one in many respects, this new Loras College Poll shows a relatively stable race for president in Illinois as today’s results indicate an eleven-point advantage for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump,” said Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D., associate professor of politics and director of the Loras College Poll. “Our September poll of the race showed a thirteen-point advantage for Clinton. While some states can be called true battlegrounds, Clinton has maintained a consistent lead in Illinois throughout this campaign.”

The live-caller statewide survey of a random sample of 600 likely voters was conducted Oct. 26-27.

View of candidates
The new Loras Poll of Illinois also asked likely voters whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of both Clinton and Trump. The results below indicate the net favorability of the candidates (percentage favorable opinion minus percentage unfavorable opinion). Positive numbers indicate a net favorable view whereas negative numbers indicate a net unfavorable opinion.  Both candidates have a negative net favorability, and the overall ratings have remained largely stable from the last Loras College Poll conducted back in September.

Net favorability

Candidate Net Favorability September 2016 Net Favorability

October 2016

Hillary Clinton -8 -2
Donald Trump -40 -38

In addition to net favorability, likely voters were asked about whether their intended vote was more in support of a candidate or in opposition to the other candidate. As with previous Loras Poll results, a majority of likely Clinton voters (56 percent) indicated their vote for Clinton was more in support of her than opposition to Trump. And similar to previous Loras Poll results, Trump supporters in the current poll were more likely voting for him out of opposition to Clinton than in support of his candidacy (48 percent to 42 percent, respectively).

“There is a strong sense this election year that many people’s choice in candidate may have less to do with who the candidate is than who they aren’t,” Budzisz said. “Fear and anxiety are often used by campaigns to impact voters, and I think this year is certainly no exception, as both campaigns have painted dire pictures of what would happen if the other was elected.”

A geographic divide in the Illinois electorate
Geography is always an important element in understanding Illinois politics, with the Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and City of Chicago holding substantial importance. The City of Chicago has long been a bastion of support for Democratic presidential candidates, while the suburbs remain contested ground, and many parts of downstate Illinois friendlier to Republican candidates.

Geographic differences in voter preference for president are clear this year, as Clinton’s margin is strongest in the City of Chicago (66 percent Clinton to 16 percent Trump), while within the Chicago MSA the race is more competitive (43 percent for Clinton and 35 percent for Trump).  Trump holds the advantage over Clinton in the rest of the state, 43 percent to 36 percent.

Race for the Senate
With the balance of power in the U.S. Senate up for grabs this year, and Democrats looking at favorable conditions as Republicans are having to defend a majority of the seats contested this cycle, Illinois has been a key race. The current Loras Poll of Illinois finds Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth with an eight-point lead on the Republican incumbent Mark Kirk, 42 percent to 34 percent. Libertarian candidate Kenton McMillen and Green Party candidate Scott Summers both received support from 3 percent of respondents.

Candidate preference: U.S. Senate

   
Tammy Duckworth    42   percent
Mark Kirk    34   percent
Unsure    18   percent
Other candidates      6   percent

(Percentages may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.)

“The new Illinois Senate results are similar to our September polling when Duckworth held a five-point advantage over Senator Kirk.  And as with the presidential race, there is a geographic flavor to the Senate race,” Budzisz said.

Duckworth has a commanding edge over Kirk within the City of Chicago (62 percent to 17 percent), while the two draw even in the Chicago suburbs 38 percent each, and Kirk holds a slim lead in the rest of the state 38 percent to 36 percent.

Turning to the question of favorability ratings for the U.S. Senate, Tammy Duckworth enjoys a +13 net favorability, while Senator Kirk has a +1 favorability.

Other noteworthy results from the poll

  • 54 percent of likely voters in Illinois approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance, while 41 percent disapprove.
  • 53 percent of Illinois likely voters see the country headed in the wrong direction, while 76 percent say the state of Illinois is headed in the wrong direction. Only 14 percent of those polled indicated that the state was headed on the right track.
  • Among those who indicated they have already cast their ballot ahead of Election Day, Clinton holds a lead 59 to 24 percent.
  • Trump holds a decided edge among those who believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, 57 percent to Clinton’s 17 percent.

Notes on methodology

The Loras College Poll surveyed 600 likely voters in Illinois. The survey was conducted Oct. 26-27.  Margin of error for full sample is +/- 4 percent. Results calculated at a 95 percent confidence interval.

  • Statewide sample balanced for standard demographic variables such as age and gender, as well as by geography (City of Chicago, Chicago MSA, and Downstate). Party composition to approximate past electorate.
  • The survey included both landlines and cell phones (55 percent to 45 percent, respectively).
  • The survey conducted with a random sample of registered voters (voter list purchased through a third party vendor).
  • Screen for likely voter is respondent report of “definitely” or “very likely” to vote in the November election.
  • The survey was conducted using live operator interviews through a contracted professional call center.
  • Script development and methodology received input from Republican campaign consultant Brian Dumas and Democratic campaign consultant David Heller.

For toplines and crosstabs related to today’s release, see www.loras.edu/poll.

The Loras College Poll is conducted several times a year, in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois.  Loras College faculty and student researchers work as part of the survey research team to develop poll questions, analyze and interpret data, and assist with sharing the final results with local, regional and national media.

For more information on the Loras Poll, visit www.loras.edu/poll. Follow on Twitter: @LorasPoll or @ChrisBudzisz.

For more information about Loras College, visit www.loras.edu, call 563.588.7100 or (800) 245-6727. Or like Loras College on Facebook or follow @lorascollege.


About Loras College
Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras is ranked 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings and the 11th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges.

 

The Loras College Poll