Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Polling the polls for November 4; who’s to say if any of them are correct

The Chicago Tribune, that one-time voice of Midwestern Republicanism, is giving Democrats reason to be downright giddy.


The newspaper commissioned a poll for the U.S. Senate race and found incumbent Richard Durbin with a 23-percent lead over challenger James Oberweis, the perpetual candidate who should have been content to remain a state senator rather than try to move up so quickly.


THEY ALSO DID a poll of the governor’s race and found Gov. Pat Quinn with an 11-point lead over Republican challenger Bruce Rauner.


Which sounds downright incredible considering that just about every other poll taken by some group or other has found Rauner in the lead – albeit a lead that seems to be shrinking with time to the point where everyone else thinks this political fight amounts to a statistical tie at this point in time.


I may have Democratic Party leanings. But I’m not foolish enough to think that something has suddenly shifted in our society to create these big leads. Meaning I’m skeptical of these polling results.


Particularly since it was just a few days ago that the New York Times and CBS News commissioned a poll that had Rauner with a 4 percent lead over Quinn. They also had Durbin with an 11 point lead over Oberweis.


BUT LAST WEEK, the Chicago Sun-Times came up with a poll result showing Durbin with merely a 7 percent lead over Oberweis, and evidence that Oberweis was managing to close the gap that exists between him and the incumbent senator from Springfield.


A gap that the Tribune would have us think is actually growing, based on their poll results.


All along, I have been confused about this particular election cycle. Not that there are people desperate to dump Pat Quinn. That was predictable. There are those who wanted nothing to do with him in the 2010 election cycle, and I’m sure their hostility has only grown.


But I’m not about to predict how this election cycle will turn out; although I will admit to telling someone last week who asked me my thoughts that I would not be surprised if Quinn managed to pull out a victory come the evening of Nov. 4.


HE COULD EASILY wind up giving yet another victory speech in a record-setting close election.


It is why I’m trying not to take any group’s polling results all too seriously.


For one thing, some of the results come across as so biased – someone is trying to concoct results meant to make their specific interest look good (or at least not totally pathetic).


For another, it’s just way too early. It’s more than a month until the point where people can start showing up at early voting centers to cast ballots (I’m likely to be one of them, so that I don’t have to take time out from working on Election Day).


AND IT’S SEVEN weeks until the aforementioned Election Day when we can actually show up at the polls (I’ll admit the experience of voting loses something when one doesn’t take time out on that day to cast a ballot).


The reality is that this election cycle in Illinois is going to be decided by those people who do not know right now who they support. Some of them may well not make up their minds until they walk into the voting booth (and some of them may kick themselves as they walk out for the “stupid” choice they just made).


That is why the polls are all over the place these days.


Illinois’ political leanings for the near future will be decided by those indecisive and wishy-washy enough not to be able to make up their minds right now. What a pleasant thought!



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