Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cong Jackson Most Popular Replacement Senator for Obama

In a telephone poll commissioned by Friends of Sandi Jackson, Illinois voters preferred Congressman Jesse Jackson over nine other people who might be considered possible replacements. The list included Tammy Duckworth, Jan Schakowsky and Danny Davis.

Commissioned by Jackson's wife (to whom Jr. moved hundreds of thousands of dollars before her election to the Chicago City Council) means that state political dollars were used, and not those falling under the rules of the FEC. Illinois has no limit on the amount that someone can give a state political committee. Contributions to federal campaigns are currently limited to $2,300 per cycle.

The survey, conducted Nov. 5-6, 2008, shows that, given a choice of 10 possible candidates, 21% think Gov. Rod Blagojevich should appoint Jackson to the seat when Obama leaves it vacant to ascend to the presidency, far more than the rest of the field. Tammy Duckworth, a former Democratic congresswoman candidate from a suburban Chicago district, is the only other potential candidate to win double-digit support -14% said she should be appointed.

Jackson's base of support is strongest among those who consider themselves "strong Democrats," 32% of which believe he should win the appointment to the Obama seat, while 14% favored Duckworth. Among moderately strong Democrats, 25% said they think Duckworth should be appointed, compared to 20% who favored Jackson. Among weak Democrats, Jackson leads with 18% support, compared to 12% support for Duckworth.

Among independent voters, Jackson is favored over Duckworth by a 14% to 10% margin. Among Republicans, Jackson is also favored over Duckworth. Support levels for other candidates are 6 percent for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, 4 percent for Congressman Danny Davis and 4 percent for State Senator James Meeks. Several other candidates received less than 1 percent.

The biggest problem with the survey is that none of the names are well known across the state. While Zogby tried to obfuscate this by combining the "Not Familiar" and "No Response" categories in his public release of the poll. The client (Jesse Jackson) undoubtedly got a better breakdown here. The only thing we can really determine is that the Congressman really wants the job -- enough to commission a poll and release the findings.

Those findings were aimed at mitigating the fear among state Democrats that Jackson wouldn't be able to retain the seat in 2010. Zogby tested Jackson's statewide strength:

In two prospective Senate races, Jackson would defeat Republican Congressman Ray LaHood by a 50% to 31% margin, the survey shows. Among the 15% who were not certain about whom they would support, nearly two said they were leaning toward Jackson for every one that was leaning toward supporting LaHood.

Jackson's district includes part of Chicago and extends to the south suburbs. Lahood is a congressman from rural Illinois whose district includes Peoria and the northern suburbs of Springfield.

In a prospective match-up against Republican Congressman Mark Kirk, Jackson wins 48% support, compared to 32% for Kirk. Among the 15% who are leaning toward one candidate or the other, Kirk has a 10% to 7% edge, the survey shows. Kirk's district is north of Chicago along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Neither Kirk nor LaHood should be considered likely Senate candidates in 2010.