Saturday, November 19, 2005

Conventional Wisdom & IL-06

The latest Survey/USA poll out has Bush's approval rating at 37% with a record high 60% disapproval rate. But what I found interesting was looking at the internals of the poll specific to Illinois. Based on my un-professional interpretation, contrary to Conventional Wisdom, the direction Democratic candidates should be moving seems pretty clear - and it isn't to a conservative pro-war Republican-lite position.

Counties where not listed in the internals, but based on what we see here, what can be inferred for suburban races like IL-06? Located primarily in DuPage, with a little bit of Cook County for good measure, IL-06 is no friend to the Republican President or his conservative Republican agenda no matter what Conventional Wisdom says.

Of this poll, 74% identified themselves as either Democrat or Independent, with 42% considering themselves Democrats. Since Illinois is considered a blue state, and the majority of respondents (44%) came from Cook County - a Democratic stronghold with a large portion of the state's population, this may not seem surprising. But still, with only 25% identifying as Republicans statewide, that can't be a good sign for any candidate who adopts any stance that supports President Bush's conservative policies or those of the Republican controlled Congress.

Related to ideology, the overwhelming majority again did not match the conservative Republican leadership in Washington. The majority (62%) of respondents identified as either moderate or liberal, with the plurality choosing moderate (47%). Collar counties came in at 58% disapproval for the president, his strongest showing compared to downstate and Cook. But at a still very high 58% disapproval, this is by no means a positive for Bush or the Republicans. Instead it most likely reflects the higher percentage of self identifying Republicans in the collar counties. Yet even with a Republican lean in collar counties like IL-06's DuPage, a strong majority still disapprove of Bush.

Conservative Republican ideology was not supported in other areas as well: A anti-conservative pro-choice position was favored 60% to 35%. Add to this the pro-choice respondent's disapproval of Bush of 80%, and their majority in this poll, and you have an even stronger anti-Republican sentiment out there in DuPage than Conventional Wisdom would ever agree to. With the majority of Democrats pro-choice, and moderates breaking overwhelmingly against the Republican President, being "pro-choice" isn't looking so liberal anymore - even in DuPage.

"Morality" voters, those with high church attendance, are also in the minority. Of respondents, 64% attended church never or occasionally. Since Rural voters are often seen as having a higher church attendance rate, one can infer that a collar county like DuPage would lean more towards the majority of secular respondents. With the higher 70% disapproval of the Bush and a Conservative Republican agenda than those in downstate rural counties, this internal again seems to infer DuPage trending away from a strong Conservative message.

Even among party affiliation, with DuPage County's Republican lean in registered voters, there still is no real advantage in associating with the President or his Conservative agenda as the majority (50%) of self described Conservatives disapprove of Bush. With disapprovals at 73% for Moderates and a whopping 87% for Liberals, one can logically deduce that any Democratic candidate who differentiates themselves from Republican leaning positions will do better than a candidate who takes a Conservative or Centrist one. This holds even more true in the Democratic primary in which Moderate and Liberals, and their high disapprovals, will vastly outweigh Conservative positions.

For those who's head is swimming now, here's my interpretations in talking point form:
  1. Even in typical "Republican strongholds" like DuPage, the majority probably disapprove of Bush.
  2. A Pro-choice position is strongly favored, and associates very high negatives for the President.
  3. A Democratic candidate who presents contrasting views to Conservative views will be more in line with the district's views.
  4. A Democratic candidate who oppose Bush's policies outright will be more in line with the district's views.
  5. In the Democratic Primary, a pro-choice candidate with views clearly opposing Bush's conservative policies will be the stronger candidate.